Goodbye Harry and Good Luck Down Under - Many of you will know from our Facebook page that goalkeeper Harry Brooks is going to Australia to try to further his football career. Tony Rickson asked the well-liked Brooks some questions about his plans:-
When ar e you going to Australia
I leave for Melbourne on Monday so Saturday against Ramsgate will be my last at the club.
Where exactly are you heading for?
Melbourne, looking to settle around the city in the state of Victoria.
Are you going on your own?
To start I'll be on my own while I trial with a couple of NPL clubs. Then just after Christmas my partner will be joining me when sheís finished her contract at her current job.
What will you be doing to earn money when you get there?
I'm hoping most of my income will come from playing football. I have a contact and friends in Australia who have helped me get trials with clubs in Melbourne. They will be in late October/early November with the season starting in January so not entirely sure where yet. (But I'll definitely post and let people know where I end up). Alongside this I'm hoping to do some part-time coaching.
How long do you plan to be in Australia?
I have a one year visa but if things work out with football there may be a chance to stay for a longer period of time.
What job do you do in England?
I have recently graduated from university whilst working part time. It felt like the right time in my life to go out and explore and experience a different city and culture. I'm also hoping a move abroad to experience and try something new will be a big help in the development of my football career. A real chance to get my head down, work hard and really push myself to playing the highest standard I can.
How long have you been thinking of going abroad?
For a couple of years. Former teammates and friends have gone and experienced football in Australia and have only ever spoken about how their experience was a positive one. I'm doing it now is because I wanted to graduate from university first and make sure I have a degree to my name.
Won't you miss football in this country?
I know I'm going to miss English football massively. Something I have played and loved for the past 17 years here. But I feel going to experience football in another country will only be hugely beneficial to my development. One thing I won't miss so much is the cold wet Tuesday midweek fixtures in February!
Have you enjoyed your time at Sittingbourne FC?
I have well and truly loved my year and a half being a Brickie. Some of the memories and friendships I have made at my time at the club will live long in the memory. Although I have had a lot of ups and downs in my time here I can hand on heart say that I have loved every moment being part of Sittingbourne FC. If I ever find myself back in England I most definitely will come back to the club whether as a player or a fan.
What do you like about the club?
For me what I love most is the fans. Itís so much more than the great atmosphere and noise they bring on match day (which is by far the best support in the league). The togetherness, the support and the whole Brickie family feeling that comes with being part of Sittingbourne FC is unrivalled to anything I have been part of before. When things weren't going my way, whether I was out of form or not playing as much as I would have liked, the support from the fans has always been phenomenal and so uplifting. Wherever I end up playing football I hope that the support and fanbase is even just a fraction of what it is here at Sittingbourne FC.
What game do you remember most?
Carshalton at home near the end of last season, a 3-1 win against a side who would have clinched the title if they beat us that day. We played our socks off for Aslan and the fans. A real testament to our work ethic proving that on our day, even with such a young squad, we could beat anyone. Another game I will always remember is Merstham away in the FA Trophy when we beat them 2-0. Itís always nice to play well and beat a side from a higher division in an FA competition and the wild celebrations with the players and management in the changing room after the game on Halloween.
Will you be keeping an eye on results from Australia?
Most definitely. I'll be watching how the club is getting on.
Do you have a message for your teammates?
I want to wish them all the best for the season. I have never been part of such a vibrant and close knit changing room. The togetherness, energy, talent and professionalism from this current squad of players and management is incredible. The club really have something exciting and promising under Aslan.
And the fans?
A big big thank you to the fans. Your support for the team and to me personally has been truly amazing since my first day I became part of the club. It has really been a huge pleasure to serve and play for Sittingbourne FC and my experience wouldn't have been as special if it wasn't for the fans and Blakey's Shed.
Thanks, Harry, and good luck in Australia from all at Sittingbourne Football Club