Regan Linney interview: Winger set for emotional return to Bamber Bridge

Regan Linney returns to Brig with FC United of Manchester
Regan Linney returns to Brig with FC United of Manchester

Regan Linney revealed nothing will ever spoil the love and affection he has for his former club Bamber Bridge.

READ MORE: Bamber Bridge ready for reunion with former boss Reynolds
The 22-year-old winger looks set to line up against his old team this afternoon, after making the switch to FC United of Manchester in the summer.

The NPL Premier Division fixture is sure to be an emotionally-charged affair as it will be the first time the two clubs have met since Neil Reynolds departed Brig in controversial fashion to become manager of the Red Rebels last October.

At the time, Reynolds’ defection stirred a lot of feeling among the terraces at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, especially as he returned to entice a number of his former players to join him at Broadhurst Park.

Midfielder Danny Potts was the first to leave and he was followed by Adam Dodd and Linney in the summer.

A product of the club’s youth academy, Linney rose through the ranks to become an integral member of Brig’s first team squad.

He admits it was a massive wrench to leave after five years he felt the opportunity to join FC United was too good for him to turn down.

“I am really looking forward to the game,” said the former Our Lady’s High School pupil.

“For me it’s the biggest game of the season.

“I grew up at Brig and it’s a club which means so much to me.

“They helped bring me through as a player and I owe them a lot.

“I remember when I was 17 and the first few games I played – everybody just made me feel so at home.

“I am just very grateful for everything Brig have done for me.

“I left just because I wanted a new challenge

“FC United is a big club, It’s a big ground and there are a lot of fans that come and watch us every week.”

“But the fans at Brig are unreal too.

“I hope we don’t get stick – maybe there might be one or two.

“Since I left, I’ve never had any problems.

“I had a few messages from Brig supporters thanking me and that meant a lot.

“I hope there isn’t any bitterness and everybody enjoys the day.”

Linney helped the club to reach the NPL First Division North play-off final twice under Neil Crowe.

He then famously scored the winning goal in the League Cup final in 2017, when Brig defeated Grantham Town 2-1.

That was the club’s first piece of silverware in more than a decade, and then Reynolds guided the club to promotion via the play-offs.

“My goal in the final was probably one of the best goals I ever scored,” he recalled.

“The ball just took a bounce in front of me and I took the shot early. I don’t think the keeper was expecting it.

“It went right in the top corner and all the fans were celebrating. I remember a little smokebomb went off. It was an amazing moment.

“Getting promoted was a big thing

“Also staying up last season was special because it looked like we were going to go down.”

Linney revealed he is still in regular contact with a lot people at Brig, including current boss Joey Collins, skipper Matt Lawlor and former boss Crowe, who is now the club’s director of football.

They all tried to make him to stay but ultimately his ambition to one day become a full-time player was the reason behind his departure.

“Neil Crowe and coach Stuart Barton came down to watch our game against Warrington on Tuesday night,” he said.

“I speak to Crowey a lot and I also speak to Matt Lawlor and Joey Collins

“They understood why I decided to leave and they did try to make me stay.

“The club offered me a little bit more money to stay but money is not important to me at this level.

“All I think about is playing football and trying to progress each season.

“I want to see where it takes me.

“My ambition is to become a full-time player.

“I just want to try to push myself and try to do better.

“Hopefully I can play at the highest level I possibly can.”

Both teams have endured an indifferent start to the season, with FC United just two points above Brig in the table.

But Linney knows just how capable his former team-mates are.

“It will be very strange to play against people I used to play alongside for so many years,” he said.

“I know how good they are and they know what I can do. It’s going to be a tough game.

“It will be tight, I think. They will be coming to our ground looking to up it a little bit and to put one over on us.”