The striker talks after netting his first senior goalFollowing Saturday’s excellent 4-0 victory over League One Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup, a beaming Adam Birchall, scorer of the fourth with his first senior goal for the club, spoke to the press about his return.
“Obviously being out on loan for a month you want to come back and make a good impression but to score as well, in the Rainham End – the celebrations said it all really, I celebrated like it was a 40-yard screamer but it felt that way!”
Having been reminded that his last FA Cup goal had been here at Priestfield for Dover, the striker continued “Obviously both were different goals as well, after everything I’ve been through I can more or less put it all to bed now and get on with my career.”
“It’s early days, football like a lot of jobs, you have to prove it every single game, every single day, so by no means have I achieved anything. I’ve scored my first goal and I’ve got to take it seriously and be happy that I’ve scored my first goal, but look at every game being important.”
Talking about his delight at scoring he gratefully added “I can’t thank everyone enough for their support, from the media, to the team, to the management, to the fans, everyone involved at the football club – and other clubs around Kent as well. Even at other clubs that aren’t in Kent, a lot of fans have helped me through this and like I’ve said I’m so grateful and thankful to everybody and hopefully I can start really repaying that now.”
Adam went on to speak about how his loan spell at Dartford had been important in his return “At the beginning of the season something wasn’t quite right mentally with me, I’d be going into a game thinking would my knee hold up – not worrying about the game, if you know what I mean.
“So that loan spell was essential and my thanks go to Tony Burman and everyone at Dartford as well for giving me the opportunity to go there and I definately felt that as the month went on I was getting stronger and wasn’t thinking about the knee anymore, so yes it was important.
“That sort of level is tough, in the first few games there were some big tackles going in there and a few times I was thinking ‘Oh no’ but luckily it held up and just kept proving to me, so it’s all good now.”
When asked about getting his touch back and how important it was the 27-year-old said “I don’t think you ever lose your touch really, it’s just your mind set, it’s bracing before the impact of the defender, to be able to take that impact and then get your touch – especially as a small player.
“Then if you are worried about the impact it will take your mind off your touch and the touch goes. Once you’ve been through what I’ve been through and getting used to being whacked again it’s just business as usual really.”
Birchall has had some special times in the FA Cup and was reminded that it included wins against the Gills for both Barnet and Dover. Another smile later he said “My dad’s convinced I’m going to win it one day, it has always been like that even at my old clubs, I don’t know why it is but it has a special thing for me and I always seem to be popping up with goals.
Then he spoke about his return to the squad “Nothing really changes, the gaffer here has always made me feel like I’m part of the squad, it’s never been ‘oh Birchall’s not quite fit’, it’s been ‘come on Birchie your part of the squad’. He really helped me through it all, Schoy as well, Muggs and James, they’ve all helped me through it and kept me part of it, so it doesn’t feel like anything has changed, I still feel part of it, felt part of it, it just feels like I’m going back in and being able to show the gaffer what I really can do.”
After netting his first senior goal, he said his first league goal would be his next target “I can’t celebrate too much, it’s onto the next one now, if you want to be a prolific goalscorer you’ve got to put the goal before to bed and think about the next one, keep going and going and going, then at the end of the season sit back and relax and say ‘oh there were some good goals in there.’
“I don’t tend to set massive targets, I tend to set the next game, the next game, as a striker your job is to score goals so every game you’ve got to go in believing you are going to score a goal and see where it takes you – that’s how I do it.”
Talk returned to Saturday and the impressive win over League One opposition “The squad was changed again, a few new boys or faces came in today, everyone was ready to go so that’s great for the squad as well, to know we are all as strong as each other and ready to go. It’s great, obviously, to beat a League above but we’ve got to keep level headed now and think about Tuesday.”
The final question was about him being nicknamed ‘Pitbull’ by Martin Allen, Birch, with a wry grin, said “I don’t know whether that’s my face or the way I run but I’ve had a few nicknames in my time but I’ll take that one as well…”