Guy's Ready For Battle
IT might be 14 years since Guy Branston first pulled on an Argyle shirt, but he has clearly lost none of the boyish enthusiasm for the game he displayed first time around.“I love being in the box at set-pieces when it’s just about to kick off, and I’m grappling with my centre-forward and I’m winning my headers; I love to win balls, and clear balls; clean sheets are very important to me,” he said.
It comes out as one unbroken stream of pure conscious thought. The 34-year-old looks larger than life. He is larger than life. He will shake up and wake up the dressing-room if he does nothing else between now and the end of the season.
John Sheridan knows that. Guy was a defender at Oldham – one of 19 clubs he has played for in a career so nomadic that Michael Palin is believed to be interested in making a TV series out of it – while John was cutting his coaching teeth.
“I have got a lot of time for the gaffer,” he said. “We have kept in touch. Whenever he’s been manager somewhere else, I’ve always dropped in to say ‘hello’.
“He’s a good bloke to work for. He doesn’t suffer fools. I’m not a fool.
“He’s in your face if he wants to be but he’s also very clever. He’s played in the World Cup. How can you not respect him? If he shouts stuff, you listen.
“I’ve always listened to him. I’ve got a lot of time for him. I’m just pleased to be down here.”
Last time he was down here, for an eight-game spell as a teenage loan player from Leicester City under Kevin Hodges in the 1998-99 season, he was not so happy.
“I remember doing well down here and enjoying it, but it was just too far away from Leicester for me to live,” said Guy, who has been assigned the number five shirt during his second stint at Home Park.
“Mentally, it was tough. As a young boy, I still had that mentality ‘You’ve got to be around your friends; you’ve got to be around your girlfriend, that kind of thing.
“Now I’m down because my girlfriend is down here, in Devon. It’s my home now. My family’s down here and it’s where I want to be. It’s good that I can kick on and hopefully do well here.”
He met his girlfriend while playing for Torquay, where he was voted runner up in the club’s player of the season 2009-10 poll despite playing only 16 games and followed that by lifting the award and being chosen in the PFA divisional team the following season.
Plainmoor was just one stop on a journey which has seen him travel around the block more than once or twice.
“I never envisioned it,” he said, of his travels. “I just wanted to play for Leicester. I was a Leicester boy. My dream was to play for Leicester City, which I never did. Now, I want to manage them. I think far ahead.
“I am hungry for football and that’s probably why I move around a bit too much – because of my pursuit of football.
“I’m not happy sitting around squads and on benches when I’m a starting centre-half – that’s what I believe of myself.”