Matt Rhead was in a reflective mood, discussing how far he believes Lincoln City have progressed since his arrival at Sincil Bank in 2015 ahead of the Imps clash with Colchester United this weekend.
The 34-year-old striker will go into his fifth season with the Imps in August following a contract extension last week.
The target man explained how the club have gone from strength to strength in recent years thanks to the arrival of Danny Cowley: “When I first came to the club I was playing in front of 3,000 people and the place was a bit down. We had a good season under the circumstances but since the gaffer has come in we have gone from strength to strength with cup finals, quarter finals and league titles.
“With the rollercoaster ride we have been on I have always given 100% and it means a lot to play for Lincoln because what we have done in such a short period of time has been unreal.”
Rhead captained City to their first SkyBet League Two title since 1976 in the Imps’ last home game against Tranmere Rovers.
The striker explained how it has not been easy for Lincoln this season and how he is delighted to reap the reward of promotion: “It has been a long season but one we have enjoyed, to get a medal at the end is a reward for what we set out to do at the start of the season.”
After turning professional in July 2012, Matt has had a different career path to a number of his team mates who came through Premier League academy setups. The 34-year-old explained how he wouldn’t change anything to get him to where he is now.
“It has been unbelievable, I wouldn’t change it for the world I have learnt a lot previously from playing full time football and I have learnt a lot since turning professional, so I have enjoyed every minute.
“I can tell a few of the lads haven’t done nine to five shifts so it has been a dream come true. Part time football is harder than full time football and I now have the luxury of full time football so I am enjoying every minute.”
With the Imps facing Colchester United in their season finale, Rhead has promised fans that City will put on a performance in what he has described as a tough game.
“It has been a tough season but the bigger picture is that we have come away with a medal and a championship which I will never forget, the gaffer always stresses that everyone plays their part.
“Saturday will be tough because every game is a tough game but the Colchester game with the way they set up is difficult for us so it is important we put a good show on for the final game of the season.
“It was disappointing the way they acted when we went to their place but I would say they did us a favour by pushing us to do better in every game. We have come out of it with a medal and they are fighting for a play-off place so the bigger picture has us winning promotion.”
The striker finished by looking forward to preparation for next season which includes a pre-season friendly against his boyhood club Stoke City.
“We became champions last time at home so the icing on the cake for the season will be to get the medal in front of our home fans on Saturday. We were disappointed not to get the result at Newport so if we can go out with a win it will be nice.
“Going forward it will be another challenge, I have never played in League One but it will be an eye opener and a test for me. I am looking forward to pre-season.
“I am a massive Stoke fan so to have a game against the club I’ve supported as a kid will be a good game and hopefully I can put on a good show."