The Big Interview: Kieran Charnock
Kieran Charnock is not one to shout from the roof tops about his footballing career.
A solid, no nonsense centre-half, the 33-year-old – who was born in Preston and raised in Chorley – would readily admit that he has hardly been one to steal the headlines during his 17 years involved in the game.
Plying his trade predominantly in the lower end of the Football League and non-league for teams such as Peterborough United, Torquay United, Morecambe, Accrington Stanley and more latterly Chorley and Bamber Bridge, people could be forgiven for labelling the defender something of a journeyman.
However, delve a little deeper into Charnock’s story and you will discover someone who has enjoyed a relative charmed life, spending his days earning a living from doing something he loves.
“It’s all been a great experience,” said Charnock, who joined Brig on loan from the Magpies last Saturday.
“I have done all right in my football career – not too bad. I have been lucky enough to win a few things. I’ve won promotions with different clubs.
“I managed to make it into the Football League.
“I’ve probably had a couple of niggling injuries during my career which have prevented me possibly from progressing a little bit more.
“Overall I am quite pleased with what I have managed to achieve.
“I’ve moved around a little – played for a quite a few clubs in Lancashire, but I’ve also lived away and played for Peterborough and Torquay.
“You meet a lot of different people in football and you experience different things living in different parts of the country.
“So it’s all been good.”
Charnock – who attended Holy Cross Catholic High School, in Chorley – has played on some big stages and even represented his country.
Early in his career he was selected for the England C team – which is the national representative side at non-league level. “When I was in non-league with Northwich Victoria I was picked for the England C team and actually captained my country, which was a great honour,” said Charnock, who began his career in the youth ranks at Wigan Athletic.
“I think I played about 11 or 12 games for England and we were unbeaten in that time.
“We played mainly against the other home nations and I also remember playing against teams like Holland and Belgium. We actually travelled to Belgium to play against them over there – and we came back with the win.
“I think playing for England actually provided me with the platform to move into the Football League.”
As well as international honours, Charnock also enjoyed some other great times in the game.
One particular FA Cup meeting against Sunderland – who boasted players such as Liam Lawrence, Jon Stead and Anthony Le Tallec in their line-up particularly stands out.
“I think going back to my early non-league days, winning the Conference North with Northwich – that was a great season.
“We also enjoyed a great cup run. We got into the third round of the FA Cup and got drawn away to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
“They were a Premier League team at the time and beat us 3-0 on the day.
“But it was a great experience to play at a Premier League ground.
“I also played in the fourth round of the cup with Peterborough – we lost to West Bromwich 3-0 at home.
“So I’ve had some good times in the FA Cup.”
Charnock – who is a qualified physiotherapist – has been lucky enough to rub shoulders on the pitch with some world-class talent although he recalls battles with a certain well-known lower league player with fondness.
“I’ve played against a lot of really good players over the years – Premier League players,” he said.
“But the one guy who I always used to have a really good battle with was Adebayo Akinfenwa.
“He’s still playing in the Football League now with Wycombe Wanderers.
“When I was at Peterborough, we played against Manchester United a couple of times in pre-season friendlies due to the Ferguson link – Darren Ferguson was our manager.
“I also played against Teddy Sheringham when he was at Colchester towards the end of his career.
“That was a great experience obviously with him being a former Champions League hero for United.”
After spending the past year on the sidelines with a major knee injury, Charnock is looking to re-continue his career and jumped at the chance to get minutes under his belt with Brig.
The defender turned in a fine performance at the heart of the defence as Neil Reynolds’ men maintained their NPL First Division North promotion charge by defeating Mossley 3-1 at Seel Park.
“I have been at the club since Saturday, but I have really enjoyed it so far,” said Charnock, who is married to Christine and has two daughters Isla and Iris.
“The club is making noises that they want to progress and get promotion this season.
“If I can contribute towards that then that will be good. We are at home today against Ossett and it’s a game we are looking to get three points from. I know the manager is eager to win that one.”