RICHEFOND WRITES: 'As a squad we had a lot more potential than what we showed' says ex-keeper Jensen
Having spent a couple of years in and out of the starting line-up, former Crawley fan favourite Brian Jensen is enjoying playing regular games again, even at 42 years old.
Following his release from Crawley, Jensen moved to fellow League 2 side Mansfield Town, but after a successful first season, he was utilised more for his coaching skills rather than his playing ability in his 2nd year with the club.
Currently Brian is enjoying playing for Belfast-based Crusaders FC, who are well placed to win the Northern Irish Premier League and earn a Champions League qualifying spot. Due to The Hatchetmen being part time, the shot stopper is also training with Crewe Alexander to ensure he remains as sharp as possible.
“I want to keep playing, it’s the only thing I’ve wanted to do my whole life. I’m training with Crewe three or four times a week at the moment, so I’m keeping fit and my reflexes sharp; but at the same time I know I now have to look after myself more at my age.
“There is going to come a time when I have to step over to the dark side and become a coach, but luckily that’s an area that I’m very interested in, having already experienced it earlier in my career.”
Reflecting on his time with Crawley, Brian admits that despite the final outcome of the season, he thoroughly enjoyed his time with the club, and barring circumstances out of the players control, things could have been different.
“I still keep tabs on the team, the players and fans were great to me there so I look back fondly at my time with Crawley.
“I think we had a better team than indicated and we were very unfortunate. As a squad we had a lot more potential than what we showed and where we finished that season.
“A lot of things that happened that wasn’t ideal for us, the old gaffer (Gregory) having to have a major operation, the new gaffer coming in with his own ideas and all the other things that went on around the place. It was tough at times.
“But I loved my time with the club, it was very enjoyable and a great group of lads.”
During January 2015, Crawley played MK Dons and due to a lack of fit players, no sub goal keeper was named. This led to Brian having a very interesting role during the match. Without doubt the most bizarre moment from my time at Crawley was dislocating my thumb! We had to put big Matty Harrold in goal. I remember having to go behind the goal and try and coach him through the second half. Fair play to him he done a very good job and pulled off a couple of saves I would’ve been proud of!”
Having played in the Premier League with Burnley, I was interested to ask Brian what it takes to get to the top of the game.
"To be a professional footballer you need to be disciplined, and those that reach the top of the sport are those most professional. A lot of people don’t realise that not all footballers get paid fortunes but every player has to be available 24/7.“There’s a lot of travelling required, last minute calls on a Sunday afternoon saying you have to be in for training that evening.
“All of which you moan about and it’s a very ruthless industry but it is the best job in the world and I wouldn’t want to do anything else."