FC Halifax Town: “I’ve still got absolutely loads to give” says new captain Clarke
With skipper Matty Brown on the transfer list awaiting a move, veteran defender Clarke was the obvious choice to take over the armband, having served as vice-captain last season.
“I’m absolutely over the moon. I’ve been captain at previous clubs and to be captain of my hometown club is a big thing for me,” he said.
“It’s something I’ve done throughout my career but I think this is something that little extra.
“Hopefully I can just continue with what I’ve been doing and not change too much.
“I’ve been vice-captain at the club and worked with Browny in that sense, making sure the lads were all OK, looked after, felt comfortable in what they were doing.
“We worked together throughout the time I’ve been at Halifax for the past two years.
“I’ll just make sure I’m looking out for the lads and that everybody’s settled in.
“It’s going to be a fairly new team so we want players to settle in as quickly as possible and feel as comfortable as they can.
“Whether that’s people moving into the house in Headingley, things like that, or travelling. There’s a lot of unseen things that go on being captain, but you’re that bridge between the players and the management.
“I was in charge of the fines last year too, which is more of a discipline thing.
“Time-keeping is a massive thing, you have to be at certain places at certain times, so we can’t allow for players to let that slip.
“We’ve got to be on point with things like that, so that’s a big thing, but there’s the light-heated ones as well.
“It’s all about making sure everybody keeps standards high.”
Clarke admits it feels strange taking over the captaincy from Brown, with whom he has forged a strong friendship.
“It does yeah. It’s going to be massive shoes to fill, Browny was a fantastic captain and he’s a great guy. I keep in touch with him.
“I’m sure he’ll go on to have a fantastic career.
“He knows how highly I think of him and that I hold him right up there among the best captains I’ve had in the past.”
Clarke made 33 league appearances last season, and played in the play-off defeat at Boreham Wood in July, and was happy with his campaign.
“It was good, obviously I got off to a flying start with the goal in the opening game,” he said.
“It was a new management team but we were always in and around the play-offs, always within touching distance of some big clubs in that league.
“We’ve moved the club forward from when I came, and that’s what I came here to do.
“We changed to a back three halfway through, but I felt pretty comfortable in my performances, I felt I was quite consistent, which has been one of my stronger traits throughout my career.
“To be involved in a lot of games, I was very proud to have done that.”
At the ripe old age of 36, the defender insists there are no thoughts of retirement in his mind.
“I’ve still got absolutely loads to give. I know people might look at my age but it’s different nowadays, players look after themselves a lot more, eat the right things,” he said.
“I’m not really looking at my age. Hopefully I can keep going.
“I want to keep going, as long as I’m fit and healthy and I can keep up with the younger guys, then I’ll keep going.
“It’s something I’ve always done, I’ve always fought to get out there and play on a Saturday. It’s the best thing, it’s every guy’s dream to play football and it’s something that I want to keep pushing and keep fighting to be able to do.
“I’ll keep looking after myself and preparing right to get out there on a Saturday.”
Clarke believes he appreciates playing more than ever now he is in the winter of his playing career.
“I think you do, yeah,” he said. “The time out with the virus was an eye-opener.
“You certainly miss it in times like that so I want to make sure I make the most of my time now.
“Every little bit I can do will be helping to push the club forward in any way I can, on and off the field.”
And Clarke sees no reason why Town can’t repeat last season’s play-off finish this time round.
“That’s certainly the aim,” he said.
“The manager’s thought process is that we want to be up there again, challenging.
“Us as players, we’re no different, so hopefully we can get off to a good start, we know how tough the league is but we’ll be ready and looking forward to it.”
You can read Nathan’s captain’s column every week in the Courier over the course of the new season.
A message from the editor Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you. In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper. Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the highest standards in the world. The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers and consequently the advertising that we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news by buying a copy of our newspaper. Thank you Jean MacQuarrie Editor-in-Chief