SOMETHING about the city of Plymouth – and its football club – agrees with Sonny Bradley.
The big defender was born and brought up in Hull, and started his career with the Tigers. Despite playing for teams south of the M4 corridor – Aldershot, Portsmouth, Crawley – Humberside is still his natural home.
So why is it that things have clicked for Sonny, in the sunny South West?
Sonny said: “Living six hours away isn’t really a problem for me. If you want to be a professional footballer, you have to commit to that life. ]
“Sometimes that means moving further away; if you want to improve or better your career you have to make these sacrifices.
“Plymouth is a lovely place to live. I have never had a problem here since I moved down. I felt welcome straight away and I settled quickly. I found a place to live and that made it a lot easier. The football club: I would advise anybody to come and play for Plymouth. Come down here, l as it is a massive football club, and the fans are ridiculously good.”]
Said fans are now contributing to an average gate at Home Park this season of over 10,000, with away followings often totalling in the four figures.
Saturday’s huge game, between Argyle and fellow play-off chasers Peterborough, is set to attract another bumper crowd, with Sonny relishing the prospect.
Sonny said: “it really does give us a lift. For the two years that I have been here it has been like that every game; that’s away as well. Considering where we are in the country, I don’t think they get enough credit for how well they travel. It gives the lads a boost, when we come out of that tunnel at 3pm on Saturday and see it full with them shouting and chanting it gives us a lift.”
Bradley, the 2016-17 Pilgrim of the Year in his debut season, is having a very fine second campaign with Argyle, too. With his contract drawing to a close, naturally questions have arisen about the prospects of a third season.
“I’ve already expressed I do want to stay at the club,” said Sonny. “Between now and the end of the season there will be more conversations with me and the manager. Whether it gets done by the end of the season I am not sure yet. It might get done in the summer, but the main priority at the minute is winning football matches.
“All I’m focused on is winning the game on Saturday; everything else is pushed to the back of my mind. Let’s just finish the season strongly and for all you know we might be a Championship club.”