INSTEAD of enjoying the sun, sea, sand and surf that Sydney has to offer alongside multiple other attractions, striker Fraizer Campbell will winter in his home town of Huddersfield.
He could not be happier.
It is a funny one as I do not see myself as a famous face. It was just like going to the park with my friends or being on holiday and having a kick about. It did not feel like I was a celebrity.Fraizer Campbell
Campbell’s footballing journey has come full circle and brought him back home among plenty of family and plenty of friends.
As opposed to the colours of A-League outfit Western Sydney Wanderers, who wanted to sign him in the close season, the 32-year-old is donning the blue and white of Huddersfield Town.
Pre-season work ended up not being in New South Wales, but much closer to home. Brighouse Town, in fact, where free agent Campbell trained with a few mates before linking up with the Terriers on a two-year deal.
On heading to Huddersfield after leaving Hull City in the close season and shunning a move Down Under, Manchester United product Campbell told The Yorkshire Post: “It was a bit far. It was in Sydney somewhere and really nice and I had always wanted to go to Australia. But it is not somewhere where you can go for the weekend, is it? You have got to fully commit.
“I have got a wife and three kids and it was a bit too much. But there was a chance.
“Through my own experience, you never know what will happen in football. Things have worked perfectly for me and me and my wife are from here and the ground is two minutes from my house. I am at a big team with big players.
“It is nice as at every (home) game, I’ve got 25 family members.
“With me having lived around the country, it is not easy for them to get about. Not only that, there are people who I went to junior school with in the stands and people who I lived down the street from, I see about 100 every (home) game from my close circle. It’s a nightmare getting home.
“I heard about it (a possible move) last season and was looking to maybe come here then.
“But for whatever reason, it did not work out. But it is like anything in football, it takes forever to sort out and you just have to sit at home and wait.
“My friend was playing down at Brighouse and as it was the off-season and I had not signed anywhere. He said: ‘If you want to come down for a bit of fitness, come down’ and it was as simple as that, really. I could not believe how many people found out.
“It is a funny one as I do not see myself as a famous face. It was just like going to the park with my friends or being on holiday and having a kick about. It did not feel like I was a celebrity.”
Campbell would have been forgiven for wondering what he had walked into in his early weeks at Town, when confidence was low and the club could not buy a win.
The arrival of the Cowley brothers and a haul of seven points from the last nine available, including a fine 3-0 win over Campbell’s former club Hull indicates a corner has been turned.
Should Town take something at Ewood Park today and back it up with wins against Middlesbrough and Barnsley and it definitely will have been.
The picture can soon change. Just ask one-cap England international Campbell, given his experiences at Hull last term.
“I was saying to the lads last month that we started terribly at Hull last year and we were at the bottom of the league at the end of October and start of November.
“It was doom and gloom and we won six games in a row and were four points off the play-offs. Every team is up and down and if you can get any level of consistency, you will be fine. We are more than good enough and there are a lot of good players in this squad.
“It is just building that confidence back up and playing the way the new manager wants us to. We are buying into it and everyone can see the progression.
“In seven days, you can be thinking: ‘God, we are at the bottom of the league.’ But in the next, you can jump up to the next bracket of teams.”
A senior on-pitch voice, Campbell’s leadership skills extend to his influence off it and it is also something that sits well with him as he imparts words of wisdom to his young team-mates, just as the likes of Ian Ashbee and Dean Windass did to him once at Hull.
He continued: “I am an ‘old boy’ now. It is a natural evolution. It is weird as when you are 19, you think you are going to be young forever and the next minute, you are one of the old ones.
“The things you are saying are listened to by 19-year-olds. I have to use my experience and things I have learned along the way to pass on. Whether it be footballing or general life stuff. These younger lads look up to you.”