Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FOR REAL: Kenny Deuchar


Prior to the stadium opener I was able to catch up with Kenny Deuchar at Rio Tinto. I'm finally getting caught up and here is the first portion of the interview:

1. You were born in Stirling, Scotland is that right? Stirling, yes.

2. Is that where you grew up too? A small town close to Stirling called Denny. I’ve lived there my whole life. Save for a few months when I went to Northampton, and since I’ve come here to play.

3. So this is a big jump for you to leave your hometown? Yeah, when I was at University I spent some time from home at Dundee University, but it was only an hour away from home so I was home every weekend. Even at Northampton although it was 5 ½ hours in the car it was still reachable to drive home. So it’s been different, but I’ve had a lot of visitors over the past season with a lot of people coming to visit from back home. And also I’ve got a few friends over here as well.

4. So how did you get your start in professional soccer? Well actually started off playing, at University. At the time I was playing semi-professional. And I was doing well at that level. But I was still really young – I was 17, 18, and I hadn’t thought about professional soccer as a profession. But then when I went to University, Falkirk, who play in the SPL now they offered to take me and play me in their youth team, and allow me to stay with my cup team as well. And also pay me a little money that helped obviously to pay for University as well. I played part time then so I was training in the evenings. Sometimes in the morning before University. But I was really doing it all on my own, and then playing on Saturday. So I was there for 4 years, and unfortunately had a couple of bad injuries – I broke my leg twice. That was quite hard, but at the same time it allowed me to concentrate on my studies. So I didn’t have to make that decision earlier as to whether to put the studies on hold and take on full time professional soccer. So I managed to finish my degree and work for a year in the hospital before I went to play soccer full time. So I was 24 before I started to play soccer full time. So I still think I’m learnin’. You’re always learnin’. I enjoy it and there is nothing else I’d rather be doin’.

5. Did you get to a point where you had to make a decision –do I stick with soccer, do I continue in the medical profession? Yeah, to be honest it was very, very difficult working full time in the hospital and playing soccer part time. Training, to get to games – there were times that I missed training with my team during the week. They trained in the evenings, but there were times that I would miss it. There were times when maybe I was on the nightshift and I would come off of the nightshift at 9 o’clock in the morning and go straight to the game. Play in the afternoon. And then I’d be working at night. So it was difficult. At that time I was averaging over 56 hours a week, and sometimes up to 84 hours a week. At that time I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I thought I’ve got to keep working hard this year, and maybe if I do well enough I’d find a team will take me full time at the end of it. I would have had my full registration with the general medical council in the UK as well. That gave me options really. Luckily I got a team to take a chance on me. And I did well after that when I could concentrate harder on it.

6. So eventually you ended up at Gretna which was in the 3rd division, right? What was that like and how did Gretna progress to the EPL? Well to be honest they chased me for a few months, because at first I wasn’t interested in the third division because I had already done that. I wanted to play in the first division or the premier league. I would have been willing to go on trials and things, but I spoke to the boss and the manager and they had a vision for the club. Then I thought well – I’m just starting out in professional soccer, although I’m 24. This is my first crack at it, so why not start at the bottom and allow my development. It was the best decision for me.

7. At some point you wanted out of that situation, what was the background behind that? Well I’ve never really talked about it before, but basically the manager fell out with me. Although I had done really well in the previous two years, he just didn’t like me for some reason and the relationship suffered. The best thing for me was to get away from the club. So that’s why I asked to leave and luckily the guy, Mick Wadsworth, who was the director of football for Gretna at the time, put in a word for me at Northampton Town in England – they play in League 1. And I got the chance to go there for 3 months. And I learned a lot there from the manager, Stuart Gray, who played with Nottingham Forest when Brian Clough was there- he coached at Aston Villa and Southampton – so he had a pedigree in coaching as well. I feel I learned more in that 3 months than I learned while I was at Gretna. I mean the standard down in England was better than the standard we’d been playing at Gretna for the 1st string in the 3rd division. And I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and I wanted to stay there to be honest. Gretna were being difficult again with transfer fees. They were wanting money that teams weren’t able to afford. Because back home they used to play transfer fees, but now it’s getting rarer or rarer. Now with the money situation most of the money goes to wages. Gretna were adamant. They were adamant that they wanted me for the Premier League – they wanted their target man. I ended up having to go out on loan because they weren’t playing me. I was disappointed because I really wanted to go to Northampton, and I felt wanted there. So I went on loan and I scored 10 goals in 14 games. I won a cup with the team that I was playing with. And then obviously Gretna wanted me back again. I think it was more a case of them not wanting to let me go because they were afraid that I would do well someplace else and then people would say why did you let him go? But luckily come January, I had a pretty good relationship with the owner and he agreed with me that I had been treated pretty terrible, and that if a good offer came in he wouldn’t stand in my way. And that’s what happened with RSL coming in and both Brooks Mileson and Mick Wadsworth were true to their word and let me come here and I’m grateful for it.