Stopper on joining the GreciansBobby Olejnik became Exeter City’s newest recruit when he put pen to paper on Tuesday, and he felt that all the boxes were ticked for his arrival.
The stopper had been the regular first-choice stopper for Peterborough for two seasons, but he spent the 2014/15 campaign away from London Road when he joined Scunthorpe and York on loan.
His release from the Posh this summer paved the way for the former Torquay United stopper to return to Devon – and it was all instigated from a call by the Grecians’ goalkeeper coach Mel Gwinnett.
“I got a phone call from Mel, who I didn’t know too well at the time – he told me that Exeter were interested, and I said that I would speak to my agent and it went from there,” said Bobby.
“We met up and had a chat – we spoke for about three hours but we could have gone on for longer, because we hit it off really well.
“From then on, my gut felt right about this. From then I just wanted to get it over the line.
“I know that I get the best out of myself when I’ve got a goalkeeping coach who I trust and that I get on with, and knows how to work out with me.
“My biggest problem has always come if I don’t have someone to relate to – you don’t know where you stand or how you’ve performed.
“If you’ve got someone like that, it’s really important – especially for a goalkeeper, which is a specialised position.
“It always puts a smile on my face to be in Devon. The gut-feeling was right about Exeter and the area. My wife loves it down here as well, and I’m close to family – we’re really looking forward to it.”
Following the arrivals of Manny Oyeleke and Lee Holmes already this summer, the Grecians are already beginning to assemble a squad which will aim to step up another level.
That ambition is a part of the reason that Olejnik opted to join the Grecians ahead of the 2015/16 season.
“I’m a big believer that people buy into people,” he continued. “With the way of the club, the manager’s philosophy and how everyone around the club has been described to me, it’s something that I wanted to be part of.
“The other two players that have arrived want to be part of it too. Lee [Holmes] spoke in his interview about ‘being part of something special’ – and I see it in the exact same way.
“I think there are two different types of challenge – negative ones, and positive ones. I’m a believer in positive challenges, like a positive challenge for promotion, and I think that’s what the feeling is going to be like here this summer.
“I can’t wait – it’s going to be a really good league, it’s going to be a real challenge as there are some good teams with big stadiums who have come down. I’m just looking forward to the whole campaign really.”
City now have a trio of goalies – Christy Pym and James Hamon tended the net for Exeter during the last campaign, both at the age of 19.
Olejnik is keen to establish himself as first choice, but is expecting to have to earn his place in the team as well.
And in particular the 28-year-old is keen to keep learning his trade and improving his game during his time with the Grecians.
He said: “I still think I can develop as a goalkeeper. I think I have years and years left to develop and I see everything as a massive learning curve.
“Every game and every league, there is always something new that you can learn. That’s the way I am going to be looking at it for the next couple of years.
“I’m someone that needs competition week-in, week-out. I don’t want to come in and just be the only goalkeeper, because I won’t perform to my best.
“I can learn from the other goalkeepers here, and hopefully they can learn a thing or two from me. That’s how goalkeepers work – there is a rivalry, but it’s a good rivalry.
“I’m hoping we can establish that because I benefit, the club benefits and they benefit. That’s how I’d like the environment to be.”