Midfielder reflects on being handed captain’s armband
Grecians midfielder Matt Gill revealed his pride in wearing the captain’s armband for City once again last Tuesday against Wycombe Wanderers – the first time he had done so since returning for a second spell at St James Park.
While the result didn’t go the right way for City in midweek, Gilly admitted that it was a great moment for him on a personal level to be given the chance to lead out the team.
Gill was the skipper during his first tenure with the club, but by his own admission his original spell as club captain didn’t end on a particularly positive note. So with Danny Coles sidelined through injury and vice-captain Pat Baldwin amongst the subs, Gill was handed the responsibility of being the on-field leader for City for the first time since moving back to St James Park.
And he admitted that it was an honour to do so, because of how much affinity he feels with the Grecians. Of the current squad, Gill is only second to Liam Sercombe in terms of appearances in City colours and his relationship with City dates back over eight years, when he first joined in January 2006.
“I was a bit of a baby first time round, I would say – I had a couple of run-ins with Steve [Perryman] and said that I no longer wanted to be captain,” he explained. “I was a bit of a baby about the whole situation, but it just shows what a good manager Tis is to not hold a grudge.
“I was really proud to be the captain on Tuesday night in the absence of Danny Coles and it was a nice moment for me.
“I do feel a lot of responsibility here. I love the club and I love being a part of what the club stands for. And the manager has been incredible with me, in this spell and the last one.
“So I do feel a lot of responsibility when we have poor results, and I just want to be part of a team that can put that right. We’ll come out the other end a lot stronger.”
His appearance against the Chairboys was the first start for the 33-year-old in almost a month, having picked up a knock when the Grecians faced Oxford at the end of January.
A rather innocuous injury took longer than he hoped for to get over, but now Gill is just pleased to be back on the field.
“I got a kick against Oxford, and had an x-ray and a scan in the end,” he continued. “It turned out that I had a bit of bone bruising and it took a lot longer to get the swelling out than we first though.
“I missed three games, got on the bench for a couple, and then started on Tuesday night. I was just chuffed to be back involved with the lads. It was disappointing to miss three games but the ankle just wasn’t responding to the treatment we were giving it. Luckily it’s not too bad now.
And now with a long journey up to York on the horizon, the former Norwich and Peterborough man feels that it is the perfect kind of game to get them back on a roll.
As well as offering a chance to travel together up the Bootham Crescent, it also gives City a chance to go ahead of the Minstermen with a win.
“It’s a massive game – it’s probably the perfect game for us at this stage, and it’s a chance for us to leapfrog them,” he explained. “They’ve had six 0-0 draws at home this season, so it’s an opportunity for us to go there and stamp our authority of the game.
“We’re leaving early in the morning and training at Leeds, so we can get a good session at a nice training ground. I quite like that we’ve got a long away trip now so we can all get together and spend a lot of time on the coach together and spend a night in the hotel. It just creates that bit more togetherness, which we need at the minute to make sure we’re all in it together and dig ourselves out of where we are.
“There are loads of overnight stays when you play for Exeter, and it’s a good atmosphere on the team coach. So we’ll look forward to getting on the road and we’ll be trying to get the win at York.”