Fleet fans got a brief introduction to Febian Brandy as he played the last few minutes against Sutton United on Saturday – and the frontman almost got off to the dream start as he found the space in a counterattack that might, had Anthony Cook seen him, have yielded all three points.
“We got them on the counter and Westy showed his pace down the left, played it into Cookie and I was behind him, basically free,” Brandy told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “I was one on one with the keeper but unfortunately Cookie didn’t see me cos he took the shot. I spoke to him after and I know him in those situations in training, he always passes the ball, he’s not a greedy player. So if he’d seen me, he would have slid me in.
“On a personal note, you want to get goals but it’s a team effort. Credit to the defence in this game because they were getting bombarded with attacks. Ash, the back four, they did very well to snuff them out.”
It was his first experience of non-league football and though unfamiliar with the opposition, Brandy was pleased with the result.
“It was a good point,” he said. “I don’t really know much about Sutton but the boys have said they’re a good team and when people do come to Sutton, it’s a hard place. They put us under a bit of pressure, we did well to see out the game and ride the storm. We had a few chances where we could have won the game ourselves.”
With the player likely to get a lot more training under his belt in a match-free week for the Fleet before Saturday, it’s likely Brandy will get more than a cameo in coming weeks and he explained what home fans can expect from him.
“I’m not a winger but I can operate on the wings,” he said. “I’m usually a striker, I like playing down the middle and that’s where I played all my career but I can do a job on the wings as well. It depends, I can run in behind defenders or I like to come deep, pick the ball up and run at them and commit defenders, go past them or win a free-kick. Obviously I like to get a goal as well!”
Having returned from Thailand where the off-field situation didn’t appeal to the player, Brandy is eager to embrace the English game once more.
“The Thai mentality to football is more business and political, more [so] than the English mentality,” he explained. “It’s a tough one without going into detail but it was just crazy. For the safety of my family I just needed to come back. The president of the club at the time, he was a bit selfish. It was a new club so he used the foreign lads to get them promoted to the Premier League but then when we got there he tried cutting the wage bill and tried replacing us with local Thai players. I’m not really a guy to get pushed over so I was saying they need to sort it out or let me leave amicably.”
With Ebbsfleet being a surprise destination for a striker that was in demand further north where he has played most of his football to date, Brandy said he was impressed with the setup when he spoke to Daryl McMahon.
“The potential and style of football that the club play… I’m a northern boy, I had a few teams up north who wanted to sign me but the football didn’t suit the way I wanted to play and I did my research on Ebbsfleet and saw the lads play football. They keep it, not force it all the time. The manager here has got ambition to go forward with the club and the potential on the pitch is crazy with the players and the ability. Even off the pitch the potential is crazy again, so overall it’s a club on the rise.
“Manchester’s my home but coming from a foreign country, the UK is your home regardless of whether it be Manchester, London, Birmingham, Newcastle, anywhere. It is good to get back. The boys, the staff, the gaffer have all been great with me so far, they’ve made me feel at home and I’ve settled in well. So everything’s going well and I’m sure we’ll have a successful season.”
With Doncaster Rovers the opposition on Saturday, a club Brandy is probably more used to playing against than many of his new teammates, the striker won’t let the occasion get in the way of what he says should be just another game.
“It’s just another game. Obviously it’s a different circumstance but you’ve just got to treat it the same whether it be a league or non-league team. The rules are all the same. Everyone’s itching to play a part in every game of the season, whether it be FA Trophy, FA Cup, League,” he said. “Everyone’s working hard in training, everyone’s trying to show the gaffer what they can do. That’s all you can do, get your head down and work. You can’t moan, that’s normal if you’re not selected, that’s part of football. You’ve just got to take it on the chin and then hope you get selected.”
Listen to the full interview below.