NEW Tulips player/coach Danny Hussey insists the choice between rejoining Spalding United or Holbeach United this summer was an easy one.
The experienced centre-half met Tulips management duo Andy Stanhope and Bob Don-Duncan and Tigers chief John Chand within hours of each other.
Hussey (pictured) said: “When Stan and Bob started talking about where the club was going, their vision of what they wanted to do and the backing they are going to be getting, it really impressed me.
“I saw Chandy and Stan and Bob on the same night but when it came down to a decision, I didn’t need much time. It was an easy one.”
The 35-year-old says the prospect of lining up against Holbeach United for the first time in the colours of their arch rivals will not faze him.
He said: “Holbeach will see the match as more important than we will.
“We want to win every match we play and we’ll treat the derbies with Holbeach no different to any other.
“I’ve got a lot of friends at Holbeach. I won’t be friends with any of them while we’re on the pitch but after the game it’ll be handshakes and drink.”
Although the banter between the two sides’ players has been flying and will only increase until their first meeting on the pitch, Hussey says he doesn’t expect the hype to live up to that of the Carter’s Park league clash between the two back in 2003.
Hussey was in Tigers colours that night as Dick Creasey, who had led Holbeach to the title just months before, snatched a 2-1 win with the Tulips in front of a crowd of 800.
They went on to win the league – the last time they were in the United Counties League Premier Division.
One of Hussey’s tasks now that they are back in that division is to ensure they are in peak physical condition for the campaign.
Having not enjoyed his time in management at Deeping Rangers, his intention was to sign only as a player but Stanhope and Don-Duncan were keen for him to make full use of his coaching badges and fitness techniques.
Hussey has his Level Two FA coaching badge and is working towards Level Three. And as a physical training instructor with the Prison Service, he knows a thing about fitness too – which spells bad news for any Tulip expecting anything less than tough pre-season training when it gets under way on Thursday night.
Hussey said: “Stan wants the players to be sharp. The club has spent a bit on training equipment and I’ve got a lot of things I want to do with the lads.
“But whatever I ask them to do, I’ll be doing too.”
There are few local clubs Hussey hasn’t had involvement with – he lists Deeping Rangers, Stamford, Corby Town, Wisbech Town and Blackstones alongside the Tulips and Tigers on his playing CV.
He has 85 caps for the Prison Service’s England national team and was last signed for the Tulips by Steve Welsh – on the day Welsh left to join Boston United.
Hussey spent a season and a half at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, ending as captain and winning the supporters’ player of the year award, and can’t wait to make a big impact again.
“I’m champing at the bit to get going,” he said. “I’m confident that I can still be one of the best centre-halves in the UCL.”