Signing for Huddersfield Town was an opportunity that Danny Simpson “had to take,” admitted the right-back in the wake of his Terriers debut.
The 32-year-old was left without a club when he departed Leicester City in the summer.
Simpson had spent a number of weeks training on his own, with many lonely hours on the treadmill, as he waited for the right opportunity to come along.
The former Newcastle United defender had offers to move abroad to France, Turkey and even Cyprus but after training with Huddersfield for the last two weeks, he signed a deal with the club on Friday.
“There were things I had said no to. Something has to feel right,” he said.
“Everything happens for a reason and you wait for the right moment. Sometimes you wait too long and things don’t work out but it has worked out.
“Certain things in Turkey, France and Cyprus – it is not me. I want to still play at the highest level I can. For me the Championship is the fourth best league in the world. The fans that you get, it is up there with the most watched games.
“Everything worked out the way it is supposed to. I had said no elsewhere but then this was an opportunity I had to take.”
Simpson came through the academy system at Manchester United but struggled to establish his place in the first team.
He spent time on loan at Belgian club Royal Antwerp and Sunderland before leaving United in 2010 to sign for Newcastle.
The full-back endured a “difficult” summer as he tried to keep himself motivated to maintain his fitness levels. But it reaped rewards as the former Leicester man played the full 90 minutes in Town’s draw with Millwall.
“It was new to me,” he said of his summer training regime.
“I went on a couple of training camps and then I came back and was waiting for things to happen which didn’t happen.
“It is just football. There were times when I would wake up in the morning and think I don’t want to go to the gym today, but you have to. The work that I put in on my own through the summer, that helped me to get through 90 minutes.”
Huddersfield’s wait for a competitive win was prolonged on Saturday following their frustrating draw with Millwall.
Fraizer Campbell scored his first goal for his hometown club when he hammered home from Karlan Grant’s cutback on 24 minutes. But Millwall were level by the break when Kamil Grabara spilled the ball from a corner and Matt Smith gobbled up the chance to put Millwall level.
Grant has been Huddersfield’s best attacking threat this season, scoring five goals in nine games for the Terriers this term.
He could have been awarded a penalty just after the hour when he weaved through the Millwall defence before being clipped in the area. But no penalty was forthcoming from referee Jeremy Simpson as Huddersfield’s poor run on home soil continued.
The Terriers have won just one of their last 17 games at the John Smith’s Stadium and remain without a competitive victory this season.
Huddersfield’s hopes of getting something from the game were given a boost when Shane Ferguson was shown a second yellow card for a late slide tackle on Adam Diakhaby with ten minutes remaining. Simpson felt Town “deserved” the three points but Millwall held on for a point.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get the three points, which I think we deserved. I am not 100 per cent yet in terms of match fitness but that will come,” he added.
“There is definitely more to come and I have got more to give.
“The new manager has come in, and I can’t speak for the start of the season, but today you can see what he is trying to implement into the team.
“Especially the second half, we are playing good stuff. That is what he wants, he wants us to be brave on the ball. The table doesn’t lie but in spells we were playing really good stuff.”
Huddersfield travel to bottom-side Stoke City tomorrow night aiming to win their first game since a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at the end of February.
Nathan Jones’s side are the only other winless team in the Championship and occupy bottom spot on goal difference.
The Terriers are currently six points from safety but the draw marked Danny Cowley’s first point as Huddersfield manager following back-to-back defeats against Sheffield Wednesday and West Brom in his opening two games.
“I just want to get fitter because there were times today when I was just frustrated with myself because I haven’t got the leg strength yet and the fitness,” said Simpson.
“For me now I want to be part of getting the team up the table. We are where we are at the moment.
“I want to look back and say ‘I came in at that point with the manager and now look at us’.”
Simpson added: “It is a good club. When you see the fans today, as long as the players and team give 100 per cent – they are happy.
“Today the crowd were cheering every tackle and that is what we are going to need.”
Huddersfield Town: Grabara; Simpson, Elphick, Schindler, Brown; Chalobah, Hogg, O’Brien (Bacuna 67); Kachunga (Diakhaby 58), Campbell, Grant. Unused substitutes: Schofield, Mbenza, Mounie, Stankovic, Hadergjonaj.
Millwall: Bialkowski; Ferguson, Cooper, Pearce, Romeo; Wallace, Leonard, Williams, Mahoney (Thompson 86); Smith (Wallace 83), O’Brien (Bradshaw 64). Unused substitutes: Steele, Hutchinson, Molumby, Burey.
Referee: J Simpson (England).