Sunday, 26 August 2012


Loan deals have proved profitable for Ebbsfleet United in recent times. Yado Mambo, Nathaniel Pinney and Gozie Ugwu were three of last season's success stories at the club where lateral thinking is required in a division of big-spending full-time clubs.

In the Fleet's promotion-winning campaign of 2010/11, Brentford defender Ryan Blake was another player to shine on a short-term basis at Stonebridge Road. Released by the Bees at the end of last season, having made just one first-term appearance in three years, he made the permanent switch to Ebbsfleet.

The 20-year-old is one of six players in their second spell with the north Kent club, a statistic which highlights the long-term benefits to be reaped by treating players well, even when they initially appear to be stopgap solutions.

What made you decide Ebbsfleet was the club for you this season?

The memories of playing down here before and how much I enjoyed it last time with the great lads, fans and also the manager.

Speaking of which, what memories do you have of that first spell? Does it feel like a long time ago now?

I remember all the good results we picked up, firstly, and the attractive manner that we did it in, which ultimately led to promotion. Yes, it feels like a long time ago now but when you return and see the same faces it shows that it wasn't too long ago.

As a loan player, did you get a medal? Did you feel part of the promotion although you were back at Brentford?

No, I didn't [get a medal], which would've been nice - but I didn't really expect one as I missed the last four or five games as well as the play-offs. 

When your loan spell ended... What happened next? How did things work out for you back at Griffin Park?

I returned to Brentford for treatment as I had quite a bad injury on my foot. I think I may have made my debut that season. Last season was a season to forget for me personally. I didn't train with the first team and I wasn't happy in general.

So how did you feel when you knew you'd be leaving in the summer - this time for good?

Well, a part of me felt sad but the other happy and determined to prove them wrong.

What actually happens when you're a 'free agent'? Did managers call you? Did you call them?

Well, I had a couple of places in mind with Ebbsfleet being the first option, so I got my agent to try and sort it. Luckily it was!

I read a story saying you could have been on your way to Lincoln. What happened there, did you have a trial?

Yep, that's true. I was offered something up there but it wasn't ideal leaving home and everything.

After your Ebbsfleet debut, Liam Daish said of you: "When he walked through the door I thought he was barely out of nappies". Do you remember what it felt like going into the changing-room for the first time and was it different second time round?

Yes. I felt very nervous, I hadn't had a training session to meet everyone, I simply turned up and just wanted to get out on the pitch. And yes, it was different second time, as I knew everyone and I felt comfortable walking in there.

What is your ultimate pre-game food?

I usually have scrambled egg and beans on toast, then a cereal bar. I don't like to have too much, just plenty of fluids.

Who are your best friends in football?

In football you meet so many new people and have so many people you regard as friends, so it would be hard to pick just a couple.

What one item could you not live without?

I would have to say my phone. They can do everything these days!!

There's a YouTube clip of you that's been watched over six million times. Do you know the one I'm talking about?

Haha of course. I don't think I could not know it!!

Thought so. Does Preston still give you grief about it?

Yeah, it was not a good moment and he has the odd laugh about it now and then!! 

Finally - what are your hopes and dreams for the season ahead?

Well, I would like to get as many games as possible, gaining experience. For the team, I would like to see us in the top eight.

You can follow @ryblakey on Twitter

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