Eve keen to build on early promise
Dale Eve is determined to showcase his full potential to the Spennymoor Town fans after the Covid-19 pandemic halted his promising start to life at the Vanarama National League North club.
Having had to bide his time after signing for the County Durham-based outfit in February, the Bermuda goalkeeper made an instant impression in his two outings, a 4-1 win over Stockton Town in the Durham Challenge Cup semi-final and comfortable 4-0 victory over visiting Hereford in the league.
However, just as the 25-year-old’s patience was starting to be rewarded, the Vanarama National League, National League North and National League South, featuring several Bermudians, were suspended indefinitely because of the Covid-19 crisis.
Despite the frustrating setback, Eve had done enough to convince manager Jason Ainsley to hand him a permanent deal for next season, in which he is determined to build on his promising early showings.
“Only being able to play one league match before the season ending was a huge blow but personally it ended on a high with a good performance against Hereford,” he said. “Hopefully I can build on that platform next season and create a strong relationship with the club and the fans.
“There were no thoughts whatsoever of moving elsewhere.
“At this point in my career it is more important to have the No 1 spot than looking for more money elsewhere.
“Having that security of having a club was the main thing for me.
“I was worried about the unknown of being without a club during these times when players are getting released, it can be really difficult. I’m just grateful to have been kept on at the club. The manager seems to have trust in me and wanted to keep me which is a massive positive.”
Not only did the Covid-19 crisis halt Eve’s own progression but it also had a major affect on the club’s promotion challenge with a projected points calculation taken into account after the suspension of remaining league fixtures, resulting in Gateshead being handed a place in the play-offs at the expense of Spennymoor.
However, instead of holding resentment at watching on as Gateshead battle it out against Brackley Town on Sunday, Eve focused on the positives, insisting the club will return next season with renewed vigour to fulfil their promotion ambitions.
“The whole pandemic situation ending the season has been incredibly frustrating but everyone understands the situation, no one could see it coming,” Eve added.
“Missing out on the play-offs because of the projected points calculation was hard to take because we’ve been in those play-off positions of most of the season.
“It’s a big blow but we have to remain positive as a squad. Obviously every team wants to be challenging for promotion but this gives us a chance to start over and push next season and I believe we will challenge next season.”
The suspension of league action also resulted in unfamiliar challenges off the field but Eve he found solace in the form of Bermuda team-mate and Kiddiminster Harriers midfielder Milan Butterfield, with the pair living together throughout the duration of the pandemic.
“I’m just itching to get back out there and play football again,” he said.
“Mentally it has been difficult because you’re geared towards training and playing and then it all stops suddenly.
“It’s also difficult because I was supposed to fly home when football stopped but it didn’t materialise.
“As soon as we knew the season was over I moved down to Birmingham to spend some time with Milan [Butterfield] because we were scheduled to fly back together.
“However the flight didn’t quite work out and so I just stayed and lived with Milan through the last few months.
“It’s worked out well because Milan is a great guy and we’ve kept each other going.
“Being stuck indoors on lockdown was difficult at first but we kept each other entertained.
“We are able to get out a bit more and we’ve got our own individual programmes to keep us fit and ready for whenever the season starts.
“We’re hoping preseason starts at the start of next month so I want to ready to get going straight away.”
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