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A roller-coaster journey

Brindley discusses how setbacks have shaped him

24 March 2020

With 27 appearances and one impeccable volley, Richard Brindley’s been an important player for us since signing in September.

A likely reason for that is the stability at the club, with the full back having been on a roller-coaster ride full of uncertainty in recent years.

And that would be damaging for anyone because, as he says, footballers are just human beings at the end of the day.

Brindley’s had it tougher than most. After starting his career at Norwich, he moved through the ranks until he was dealt a blow when he was released in 2012.

Aged just 19, he needed to show considerable mental strength to get back on track.

He wound up at Chelmsford and, via a brief spell at Chesterfield, was winning promotion from the third tier with Rotherham less than two years later.

All was well again.

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He left the Millers for Colchester at the end of the following campaign and impressed in Essex from 2015-2017, with Championship and League One sides interested in his services.

Everything seemed to be going to plan but another setback was on the horizon.

While he was waiting for his agent to finalise a deal, his U’s contract ran down and nothing materialised, leaving Brindley in the lurch.  

“I trusted that it would be done but then the ball was completely dropped in the summer,” he recalled.

“Those links didn’t turn into anything concrete and I was left without a club as everyone had put their squads together.

“I’d played in the Championship and League One previously and had been working hard to make that jump again, so to then have to take a step backwards was difficult – especially when it wasn’t my own fault.

“I had management that let personal problems impact their work, which had a knock-on effect for me, and I had my career dampened as a result.

“I took responsibility for trusting the wrong person, though, and it was a massive learning curve.”

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The events meant the full back was left needing to rebuild his career for a second time and still he was aged just 24 at this point.

Facing another period of uncertainty, Brindley stopped listening to guidance from others and began to take his own advice.

“I was told to wait for injuries because then clubs would look for reinforcements,” he continued.

“I just wanted to play my football, though, and that took me to Barnet, where I worked hard because I believe if I do that, I’ll get what I deserve.

“Then I went to Bromley, which raised a few eyebrows but I knew it was a process, and I was very glad I did because I got on well with the manager and the club really looked after me.

“Now I’m here at Notts and pushing to get back to the form I know I can produce.”

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Neal Ardley spoke of Brindley’s hunger when he signed for us and, despite his setbacks, the full back’s aspirations haven’t wavered.

“My burning ambition is to play in the Championship again,” he said. “The focus is performing week in, week out and we’ll see where it goes from there.

“Many players have gone through similar experiences but all I’ve tried to do is maintain control and fix it, because I’m the only person who can.

“Perhaps I’m lucky to be playing because others have given up, but you have to be patient and persistent and that’s been the case for me.

“The experience made me wiser and the setbacks taught me a lot of lessons.”

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He’s been through a lot in his career for someone aged 26 and feels the mental strength he’s developed shows a maturity beyond his years.

“I’ve always learned quickly and think I’ve been a bit ahead of my time when it comes to dealing with setbacks,” Brindley explained.

“I’m persistent – I’ll always find a way. It’s having that belief in yourself and the fire in your belly to get up and do it.

“We never get time back so we have to learn to let go of what has happened and focus on the present and the future.

“That’s my mentality and I applied that during the situation I was in.

“It was a really testing time for me because I had just lost a loved one as well but if you see the challenges and embrace them, you’ll get out of them quicker.”

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Now he maintains a positive attitude at all times and thinks that translates on to the field.

But beyond that, he looks to support his team-mates by showing faith in them, too.

“I try to display my belief in the players around me and tell them to be brave and play to their strengths,” he revealed.

“When you acknowledge someone’s abilities, it becomes a bit clearer for them as well so it’s a case of reminding them who they are and what they can do.

“If you go on to the pitch and everyone is pulling in the right direction, it can be difficult for the opposition to stop you.”

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