He might not have expected to have been playing so much this season, but PAUL REID wouldn’t have it any other way
At the end of last season Paul Reid was out of contract in England and hungry for first team football. It was time for a change. Along came Aurelio Vidmar and Adelaide United with an offer to bring the Aussie home and Reid jumped at the chance.
What he wasn-t expecting, though, was just how much first team football he would be playing within the first four months of his time in South Australia.
The well-documented success of Adelaide has seen Reid and his teammates battle on three fronts on the way to a remarkable season. First there-s the bread and butter of domestic Hyundai A-League action, but the team-s unexpected run to the Asian Champions League final lead them to further overseas adventure, with the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.
“I didn-t expect to be playing so many games,” Reid jokes with AFW. “I came back looking to play regular first team football, but it-s been an unbelievable experience.
“If people were wondering whether it was the right time for me to come back to Australia I can definitely say now it was.”
If Reid-s hunger has been satisfied, there-s still more where that came from. And the journey-s not about to end, either. A hectic January schedule awaits the team as they look to cement their current position at the top of the table.
Reid-s used to hectic football schedules, though, having experienced the intense English football season; although even this season has been an eye-opener for the experienced midfielder. “It-s been more hectic than I ever experienced in England,” he admits.
Even through the crazy schedule (Reid jokes he-s now “sick” of flying), Adelaide returned home last week from the World Club Cup in Japan to find themselves still at the top, with rivals unable to capitalise on the Reds- two-week absence from domestic duties. “We-ve put ourselves in a great position and we-re probably one of the fittest clubs in the league,” Reid admits. “But it-s nice to be back concentrating on the A-League.
“Even though we-ve had a great season so far, finishing top of the A-League would cap it off and that-s got to be our aim.”
And to do that the team will have to muster another monumental effort, with six games standing between them and their goals. The challenges have been coming thick and fast for Reid and Adelaide United and they-re passing the test with flying colours so far. The challenge now is to keep the run going.
“Physically, we-re fine,” Reid explains. “The main thing now is the mental challenge - we-ve got to get ourselves mentally right because we-ve got six big games. It-s in our hands.
“Finishing top is a great incentive for us.”
And while in many professions an increased workload is not something that-s welcome (certainly not complained about in AFW towers), Reid says he wouldn-t have swapped the run of fixtures so far this season, or those that still await him. “I-ve said all along to the players, ‘Would you rather train or would you rather play?- Everyone prefers to play games,” he says.
“To be honest, we-re looking forward to the challenge. People will always say they-re only thinking one game at a time, but of course we-re thinking about the series of games and how hectic it-s going to be.”
Reid says the team-s strength in depth will be the key that leads to continued success and glory this season, as well as the feel-good factor that-s currently running through the side. “The players are feeling really good at the moment and they-re on a high,” Reid says.
Unable to single out a specific moment, the player says the entire season to date has been one big highlight. “People always say when you-re on a high you should enjoy it and ride the wave,” Reid says. “I can-t believe I-ve only been here for four months, it seems like a lifetime because of everything that-s gone on.
“To play so many of our games in front of big crowds has been a dream come true.”
Reid-s packed so much into his short time in the A-League, but with a finals run in and a chance to not only finish top but become champions too, there-s still the possibility of more to come. And with his wife due to give birth to their child in March (coincidentally just after the grand final) Reid-s success seems to stretch beyond the Hindmarsh turf; even if it means the chance of a rest is a way off…