Idag har jag låtit min kompis Gary som jag skrev lite om förra veckan, få skriva om hans fotbollsliv och hur det gick till när han kom till Mellerud. Det visade sig att han inte bara har talang på fotbollsplanen utan också för skrivandet! Ta er tid och läs om hans upplevelser i Skottland och i Sverige.
För övrigt hoppas jag att ni tar er till Vänersborg och kollar på våran otroligt viktiga match mot Vänersborgs IF. 19.00 startar den och vi i MIF åker ner med ett gott självförtroende och ett tydligt mål, att kriga oss till 3 poäng med hem till Mellerud! Nu, Gary Cennerazzo:
Good day all.
As the rain drizzles down in a great September morning here in Mellerud, feels just like home!!! My home being Scotland. My name is Gary Cennerazzo and I am half Italian and I am going to write to you about how my move to Mellerud came about and how a Scotsman ended up here in Sweden. I am 25 years old and I am currently playing for Mellerud in Division 3. I’m an attacking defender that can play on the left or right outside back or further forward.
Okej as they say in Sweden with a really high pitch enthusiasm, I genuinely thought the first time I heard someone say this to me that they were really interested in what I had to say and very excited. Maybe that much that I thought they were taking the piss out of me, but I came to learn that’s how they say it!!! It takes time getting used to it, but enough short introduction time to share my journey.
I played professional football back in Scotland. My last club being Spartans FC. I was part time and was incredibly successful there winning 3 individual player of the year awards in three seasons. I had won trophies with them also. Deep down inside me I need a change, a challenge to test myself abroad. I could say there in then I had officially fallen out of love with the Scottish game. The weather, the travelling and just the standard of football sometimes can not be great because of the state of the pitches due to the very rain weather we pretty much say every second day through out the year. We have the worst weather but unlike Sweden we play through the winter and its not an enjoyable experience.
So I had a friend that coaches professional over in America. He said I should create a football cv with video footage and test myself there as I would flourish. It really excited me of just moving away and playing against different competition and testing myself. After being in touch with numerous clubs at pro level in the states and offered trails etc I was put in touch with a professional agency with an excellent reputation to place players abroad all over the world. PSC they were called and a guy called Simon got in touch with me saying I would excel if I came on to one of there showcase tours which is what they do. They take players abroad and showcase there talent in front of professional scouts and play against high professional opposition. It was this move that well led me to moving to mellerud for a short time. The tour was based in Sweden and Norway over 14 days. It was a great experience. During this tour I captained the team 4 times and had a great time and learned a lot from top professional coaches that have played and managed at the highest level.
So after playing successfully over the tour I had a lot of interest from clubs. I was told I would be signing for Karlstad in Division 2 and they were based in Orebro, a beautiful city we were based in and had fallen in love. Il be honest I must of said I would of proposed to 30 different Swedish girls. Beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes and just the culture here and that is when I realised I fell In love with Sweden. I was excited about potentially playing here and the people were super friendly and just made me more determined to do well and succeed. A lone Scotsman trying to make a name for himself in Sweden. Definitely a challenge but one I am relishing.
Unfortunately the move to Karlstad fell through, to this day I still do not know why? My agent representing me tried to sort a deal and it never worked out. I was disappointed a day before I was meant to fly home, has my world just crumbled? I had my heart set on playing in Division 2 with a good club who with the American team I was with on the tour we beat them in Orebro main stadium. The thought of living in Orebro and draining my phone battery trying to arrange numerous tinder dates ……! Last night I was told of another offer? I was told to come and meet the staff to discuss the potential move of staying in Sweden. I was keen, I did not want to go home. I am fed up with life in Scotland and I was hooked in staying in Sweden. Football is my life I have worked so hard to be where I am today and it was an opportunity I did not want to miss. So cut a long story short I was told of interest from a club called Mellerud. I was told they made an offer and that they play in division 3 and they were struggling but were looking for a defender to help them and add experience to try keep them from relegation. I was very intrigued and after talking terms I agreed to sign for Mellerud. It was and is a challenge that excited me and it meant I could fulfil my dream of playing European football.
It was a phone call to the family to say I was not coming home, it was surreal and I had second thoughts but I had a deep gut feeling it was the right move and they supported this. So with all my suitcases and bags I definitely had enough to live in Sweden for three months. I like to be prepared especially going into the unknown as before this Malta was a possible destination. I went into the tours with ready to go anywhere. Well now I was on a bus going to Orebro to then get a train to Karlstad, then to mellerud. To say that was one of the hardest days of my life. Travelling alone going into the unknown, all the thoughts running through my head! What if? Why? Have I made the right decision? What if I hate it? I am going to miss my family and thousands of other thoughts as I sit on the bus staring out the window ,nervous but excited. The beautiful scenery and endless forests made me realize how beautiful Sweden is. I from Edinburgh and used to the city life. So after a hectic days travelling and missing trains, finally I arrived at my destination……MELLERUD. This was it all my thinking and wondering goes out the window. I was about to see what this town was all about and the team.
I stepped off and was met by David the head coach and Tobias the kit man etc. They were both well presented in excellent Adidas training kit which right away gave me a good impression and made me feel at ease. We greeted each other and I was glad to hear they both spoke English, one better than the other but it was great to hear and I felt a lot better than I did an hour ago worrying about everything. I was taken to meet the players ,staff and chairman. To be shown around the ground and the set up. When I got there I was totally blown away, excellent set up that would put professional club back in Scotland to shame. With nice home pitch and numerous training pitches and great club house etc it was there I said to myself “ ok you have made the right decision. You went with your heart. Now it’s time to repay the faith they showed in signing me. The set up was very professional and they deserve to be in a higher league.David had watched me in a exhibition match but was actually meant to be doing something with his family but knowing David he breathes and lives football and he could not help but to leave his family for a short time to go and see a match to potentially recruit players to help his cause. So If David never left his family to watch the game, I would not be here!!! Its fine I have apologized to his wife and I think she is very happy I came!!
I met the players and they all spoke good English and were very friendly. I was then taking to stay with Toby and they looked after me there for a few days until they could sort my accommodation etc. They were brilliant and helped me so much. I called home and I felt good and all my worries went away. Now it was time to play and focus on football. I could not wait to get to meet my new team mates and train the following day. I signed that morning, that afternoon I am doing news interviews and in the paper etc. It was crazy and everything happened so fast that I never gave it time to sink in. I am here and ready to play in Sweden.
I had my first training session. I enjoyed it but I could see right there and then they had some good players but things they needed to work on and that confidence was low. I was the greeted with the news I could not make my debut on Saturday due to registrations and international clearance. I understood this but it gave me another week to prepare and train hard and get to know my team mates better and earn there respect. Also to try and communicated not with Scottish slang and speak proper English, very difficult! I tried to speak slow but most of the times I ask them if they understand what I am saying to them they always reply yes……I am not so sure!!
A week on and Mellerud earned a place in my heart. It is a great wee town with beautiful lake nearby and I was happy with they way everything was going and was looking forward to making my debut with the team after a hard weeks training and settling in, until I was told there struggling to get in touch with Sottish FA and Swedish FA are having problems with my registration. I was scheduled to play with the B team on Friday night and I would not find out right up until KO if I would play. I prepared as always right to make sure I was ready and kept positive to hope I was going to play Friday and then play for the A team on Saturday. As I walked into the clubhouse I was sadly told it did not go through and I would have to wait until next Saturday. I was gutted and very angry. I did not know who was to blame, I even tried to sort things myself as it was a farce. The FA’S were blaming each other, I could not care I just wanted to play and this was the first time in my life something like this has happened. It was very frustrating as I missed 4 potential games in space of 2 weeks. I am now in a foreign land and not being able to play, it kind of sucked!! All the doubt sets back in and you start thinking the deadline closes next week, what if it does not go through in time? What if this has all been a waste of time? I was nervous and scared I would have to go home after such a short time. Up until deadline day it was crazy, it was like back home watching sky sports with all the transfers going on and wondering if it’s going to go through in time, and who is going to sign where? I never thought one day this would be me same as millions of players on the final day not knowing the outcome of there fate. I was scared and nervous but FINALLY I got the news I wanted to hear that I was registered in time and I could make my debut on Friday night at home. I was proper buzzing as they say in Scotland. Now it feels worth it and I was ready mentally and focused to help this team climb the table, a team that had suffered in the spring. One win in 12, very low in confidence and I felt it was up to me to come in and push this team and give them my experience and quality to fight to get to safety. They suffered a bad loss the week before and it was not a great performance and I knew it was going to be very hard to try and turn around this rot they had got themselves into mentally and physically. There a talented bunch but there was no belief and no confidence.
On the game of the day I decided to write a wee Braveheart speech that was filled with motivation, because quite frankly I had so much to say I thought they will not understand me if I try speak to them so why the hell not write on there facebook page and they can translate it ? Everyone is a winner that way! I am a very motivational guy and I LOVE being a leader. Its one of my quality’s, I practice what I preach and I love pushing others to get the best out of them and for people to look up to me. I got a great response and noticed a different change in atmosphere within the dressing room and a buzz before the game that was not there before in previous games. I had a great feeling that this was going to be a great night in front of my home crowd. I just wanted to win and play will and envisioned this in my head time and time again. FT goes and were VICTORIOUS I had two assists and I got MVP in my first game? We won 3-1. There and then was an unbelievable feeling. I felt on top of the world. Only there third win in the season and I had a massive part to do with that. Dream debut here in Sweden. I made Team of the week on my first week, it was amazing. If they never knew Gary Cennerazzo was, they do now!! Fast forward 5 games and we are undefeated winning 3 and drawing 2. I have made newspapers and cause quite a stir, a positive one. This is a new team and now full of confidence and look hungry and capable of beating anyone. We should of gained maximum points from the two ties that’s how well we played just luck went against us. Were on the up and I hope and feel I contributed to that but really it comes down to everyone of them working hard and believing in there talents. Its a young team and I am here to help guide them. There a great bunch of lads, lovely team and staff. I love Mellerud. I am now settled in my Apartments and feel at home. People have made me feel very welcome and I greatly appreciate it. The young locals shout my name and always happy to see me. Its great. I also went to a local dance thing called Asebro festplats……that was an eye opener! My eyes are still dizzy from everyone spinning around, I was quite happy to watch from the side with a beer in my hand. I could of done it easy …..! It was great to see and a very fun night!! Need to try get the scots to have a night like that, not likely!!!
We still lie in the relegation play off due to IK Virgo winning and climbing above us but with 3 rounds to go I aim to give everything and as a team we are ready to fight to stay in division 3. Starting Friday with a big game against Vanersborg. I am pumped I am focused and Im thankful for Oscar giving me this opportunity to share my wild and crazy experience to you all and I hope you enjoy this long blog but it’s worth it. It’s being enjoyable so far and my goals for remainder of the season is to keep this team in the league, continue to have an impact on the team and if possible to remain undefeated the rest of the season, also to do well and in the future test myself in a higher league.
So thank you all and as we say in Scotland “lets get intae them” on Friday night. The journey continues…..