Last weekend’s game against Braintree Town saw Kristian Campbell feature in our matchday programme. For those who missed it, here is the full article:
Speaking with Kristian Campbell is always a pleasure. The versatile defender always has time for a quick word and comes across as being both humble and graceful.
After arriving during the previous manager’s incarnation of the side, Kristian has remained at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park and is a vital cog in Alan Dowson’s Dartford machine. He’s settled here and is happy to play in whatever position he’s needed to fill in order to help the team.
More comfortable at left-back, this technically gifted player can also showcase his skills on the wings, where he terrorises the opposition at every opportunity. As long as Kristian can, “…play as many games as possible, chip in with a few goals and assists…” he’ll be happy.
And, of course, there’s the rather small matter of challenging for the National League on his mind as well… “I’d love to get promotion whilst I’m here too. That is and always has been my personal aim.”
That’s just one of the reasons why Kristian decided to remain at the club, “I’ve always loved coming to Dartford to play. The ground, the fans, the setup as a whole. I like it and I’m enjoying my time here. I’ve been in on/off talks over the years to sign, and I was so excited to finally get it done earlier in the year this time around.”
With his signature drying on a contract completed early during the off-season, Kristian was able to focus on another important matter in his life, his young family. “We couldn’t get away this year due to work commitments, so I was able to have a lot of down time with the Mrs and our little one before she (the little one) started nursery for the first time. It was really good.”
His young family have become regular visitors to Dartford’s fixtures during this campaign, especially his fiancé Weronica… “I’d say she’s my inspiration. We’ve been together for six years now and she’s only ever missed a handful of games! Also, our 3-year-old daughter. She always wishes me luck and cheers me on when she does come to games.”
As we’ve now touched on the subject, where did Kristian’s journey in the beautiful game begin? “I was just drawn to the sport from a young age to be honest. It all started when I was around four, and I’ve been involved ever since.”
And, unlike some aspiring young footballers, he featured for a Sunday league team before being placed into an academy… “Yes, I was never really in an academy when I was younger. I started at Addiscombe Corinthians, a local Sunday team, then went to the Bromley FC Academy.”
He continues, “…That was my first taste of full-time Academy football and, from there, I realised that something was possible within the sport, so I always wanted to push on from there.”
Here’s a little bit of football trivia for those of you who like fun facts…Kristian didn’t actually begin life as a defender… “It’s true. I actually started out as the main goalkeeper at the Bromley FC Academy!” But, as his game developed, he ventured forward from between the sticks and found that a more out-field position suited him better and, the rest as they say, is history!
That history has seen him wear the colours of the likes of Dulwich Hamlet, Merstham, Tonbridge Angels, Welling United, Eastbourne Borough and, of course, the Darts. And, at the age of 28, he’s still got a few years left in the tank. What are his ambitions?
“I’ve played in every league from Kent County Division 2 at the age of 17, to the National League. I’ve always wanted to go one step further and play in the league (EFL), and to play at Wembley.”
Meanwhile, there’s the rather important matter of this season’s National League South campaign to focus on. And, this extremely superstitions player, who also confesses his love for playing the piano and learning new languages, has no intention of upsetting the current trend of winning games… “I’m very superstitious. I like to do things the same way, such as get up at the same time, eat the same foods, leave at a certain time. I set my things out in my changing room spot and I never consume milk on a match day either. It all probably means nothing, but still I like to stick to it!”
Whatever he and his teammates are doing behind the scenes, it’s certainly proving effective if the current form on the pitch is anything to go by! So, I’d say don’t change a thing…! And, on that note, I’ll let Kristian have the last words…
“It’s a long season. There’ll be loads of ups and downs, but stay supporting us and we’ll do our best to give you a successful season.”
By Chris Palmer