Hackney: I’m more in love with football than ever before

SIMON Hackney says being released by Colchester United has made him more in love with football than ever before.

SIMON Hackney says being released by Colchester United has made him more in love with football than ever before.

Having admitted in previous interviews that he didn’t east, sleep and breath the game like many of his fellow professionals, few inevitably wondered whether his enthusiasm for football might have hit an all-time low following an immensely frustrating three-years in Essex.

However, the 27-year-old left-winger insists the complete opposite is the case.

“All this season has done is make me love the game a little bit more,” he said. “Now more than ever I’m desperate to be a footballer.”

A late starter in the professional game, Carlisle United signing him from non-league side Woodley Sports at the age of 21, Hackney was soon being touted by numerous clubs by his mid-20s.

Paul Lambert was the manager that beat everyone to his signature, paying the Cumbrians a six-figure fee in the January transfer window of 2009 to bring him to Colchester, and the Manchester-born player’s direct and skilful running made him an instant hit in Essex.

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After playing an integral part in the U’s late surge up the table in the second half of that campaign, he kick-started the 2009/10 season by claiming three assists in the memorable 7-1 victory at Norwich.

Lambert, of course, left for the Canaries soon afterwards though and Hackney simply did not fit into replacement Aidy Boothroyd’s style of play. He made just two league starts under the new boss before being loaned out to League Two side Morecambe in the second half of the campaign.

Upon his return he started the last two games of the season, scoring against Huddersfield, but it proved a false dawn as John Ward replaced Boothroyd that summer and once again Hackney found himself out of favour.

This season, with injuries playing their part, he has made just two substitute appearances for the U’s and was recently loaned out to League Two side Oxford.

“I’m honest enough to admit that it’s just not worked out for me here,” said Hackney, who is currently recovering from a hamstring problem.

“Paul Lambert brought me into the club and I thoroughly enjoyed playing here to start with, but new managers soon came in and didn’t fancy me. I’ve got no problem with that, they’re doing their jobs and you have to respect their decisions.

“I’ve admitted before that I’m not a massive football follower, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy watching and playing the game. It’s just that while a lot of footballers are really intense about the game, I recognise there is a lot more to life.

“My family and friends enable me to keep things in perspective and I just have to remember that I have had a good career so far. I’ve just got to focus on the positives not the negatives.

“I certainly haven’t fallen out of love with the game, if anything my love for the game is stronger than ever.”

He continued: “I still believe in my ability and I know I can be exciting again. I thrive on confidence and my best football comes out when the fans are feeling what I’m doing – that’s a big thing for me.

“I’m now going to work myself into the ground over the summer because I know if I didn’t play football I would be really, really unhappy.”

Asked if he would like to find a club nearer his Manchester roots, Hackney said: “That would be ideal because most of my good football has come up north, but to be honest I’m not bothered where I go, I just want to play football.”

He added: “I just want to stress that I have no ill-feelings towards Colchester at all. Unfortunately things just haven’t worked out, but I wish them all the best for the future.”

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