The Brunel University Men’s First Football team played Portsmouth in the opening fixture of the season, and though the result was disappointing, Vice-Captain Sam Packham is optimistic about the upcoming season.

Le Nurb: So first thing’s first, how was your summer?
Sam Packham: “Yeah, it was good; I was working for a lot of it so mostly quiet. I play for a team back home, but I only played a few games before the season started, since I was injured.”

LN: How bad was the injury?
SP: “Well it was an ankle injury, and I was out for 8 weeks, so I missed a few pre-season games.”

LN: Was it a struggle to get back to form?
SP: “For the first few weeks, yeah; my ankle swelled up and it was difficult to move for a while, but it’s okay now.”

LN: Are you looking forward to the new season at Brunel?
SP: “Yeah! Well, I was this morning, until the match! But we played quite well, I thought, just Portsmouth were a well-structured team, they kept their shape well.”

LN: How are you preparing for the new season?
SP: “Well we have training twice a week, and we’re focusing on quick play, passing and moving. It didn’t quite happen today, for whatever reason, but a lot of third years from last year have left, and there are only three people who started last year in the squad this season, so we’re still gelling, and hopefully it happens sooner rather than later.”

LN: Any big plans for Brunel Football as a whole this year?
SP: “Well, our top three teams are going for promotion this year, so hopefully that’ll go well for them, plus we have the intramural league for people who didn’t make the team, they could still play football. I think there was also a rumour that men and women’s football would be joining to make a mixed team too, but I’m not totally sure.”

LN: Aside from today, are you confident that we’ll do well?
SP: “I thought that, today, there were glimpses of us doing quite well, but we didn’t do it for the whole game, but Portsmouth are a very good team, I think they’ll be near the top this season.”

LN: Any particular players to look out for?
SP: “We have Chris McConnell, the captain, who was left back last year but he’s also playing left wing or as a central midfielder. We have a few new players, our new left back is a Fresher, Jack, who looked good today. I played alongside him, and he was confident on the ball, which was good because it was his first game, which can be daunting, but he handled it well. And of course keep an eye out for Tré, he’ll be scoring our goals this season. Any other day he’d have gotten four goals.”

LN: What about other teams in the league?
SP: “Well Portsmouth have always been well drilled, and Brighton had a few third years in their team last year so it depends on who’s still around but they are normally quite good too.”

LN: Were there any rivalries from last season you’re looking forward to revisiting?
SP: “Not really, we had a feisty match against Brighton but nothing malicious, just a good match with both teams playing well. But no, not really any animosity.”

LN: So as Vice Captain, what responsibilities do you hold within the team?
SP: “I do the team selection, the squad for the Wednesdays, and to make sure people are on time for training; last season people turned up late a few times so Chris and I are trying to knuckle down with that, as well as tending to the Facebook page.”

Brunel Football Club have five men’s teams and two women’s teams, information on both of which can be found on the Student Union homepage.