Luke Campbell has been part of the Jersey football scene as one of the best defenders around for many a season and is now a huge part of Jersey Bulls FC’s current successes in English football.
Dan Andrade caught up with Luke and spoke about his football career to date, from his Jersey Scottish days right up to being the first player to 50 Bulls appearances.
The full interview is below!
Let’s start at the beginning, what are your first memories of playing football as a kid?
My first memories date back to when I was roughly 5/6 years old living in Scotland playing football in the street with the other kids from the area where we stayed.
Did you have any players you looked up to when you were growing up?
I grew up in the Rangers 9 in a row era under Walter Smith where we had some great players. The likes of Ally Mccoist, Brian Laudrup, Paul Gascoigne and Jorg Albertz were the ones that stood out for me growing up.
Who did you play for in your youth football days? What are your favourite memories of those days?
I had a brief stint at St Martins in my younger days before moving to Jersey Wanderers at under 16 level to play with my mates. We had a very talented team where we won a number of trophies including the treble at under 18 level. Obviously winning trophies in football is good but when it is with your mates it is even more special. My highlight at Jersey Wanderers was playing against a professional team from Madeira called C.D Nacional. We beat them 2-1 at Springfield before beating them again in the return fixture in Madeira 2-0. At the time that was a big couple of wins considering they were a professional set up and we were a small team from Jersey!
You had a long stint at Jersey Scottish – how good was it to play for that club?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Jersey Scottish with a great bunch of lads where we were fairly successful challenging St Paul’s for trophies. We had a good set of managers/coaches. Pat Brennan, Dave Kennedy, James Scott, Simon Moiani and Paul Brannan to name a few. I’ll never forget the day I signed for Scottish, Pat and Jack Boyle practically kidnapped me from my house and drove me up to Andy Norman’s house to sign the transfer forms! At the time I was kind of reluctant to leave Jersey Wanderers as I had been there since the age of 15 and had been playing with all my mates. Thankfully we managed to win a few trophies at Scottish so I feel it was justified in the end! It’s a shame a team like Scottish are no longer involved in jersey football as they had a good history and were part of it for many years.
You’ve also played for St Peter – how was that experience?
After Scottish folded I had to find a new club and the prospect of playing under Gary freeman and playing with Sol (Solomon) at St Peter was appealing to me. Again It was a really enjoyable time where we were challenging for the league and cups. While at St Peter’s we entered and won the Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield being the first team outside of the UK to do so. This was a new and enjoyable experience. It gave us a chance to test ourselves against teams from the UK that were unknown to us.
If you had to pick a five aside team of players you’ve played with, who would get the nod?
Good question as I’ve played with many great players over the years (Stu Andre, Luke Watson, Ben Gallichan, Jack Cannon, Chris Andrews) but I think I would have to go with our 5 a side team, Morins Electrics, that competed in the Fort Regent 5 aside league! The team was Michael Agrela, Craig Russell, Jack Boyle, Cav Miley and Tim De Luca. We managed to win a couple of leagues and cups to keep our manager, the late Derek Morin happy!
How happy were you when Jersey Bulls formed? How much did Jersey football need that?
I think the formation of Jersey Bulls is something that has needed to happen for many of years not only for the players who are playing now but more importantly for the future of Jersey football. It gives young players something to aspire too growing up. You can see when we play the amount of young kids coming down to watch and they seem like they really enjoy it.
How much have you enjoyed being part of the first few seasons? What have been your highlights?
It has been really enjoyable. Obviously going through the first season and winning every game (before covid) was good but I think I am enjoying it more now as we are finding the league more challenging having been promoted. I think the highlight so far is playing in the FA Cup and live on TV. The game against Chertsey was obviously disappointing because of the result but the support we got down at Springfield that day was great. And it’s not only that day but a big shout out to the fans who come down in their numbers week in week out to support the team!
You’ve just reached 50 caps, the first player to do so – how happy are you to achieve that?
It’s a nice personal achievement and a privilege to reach that many games but it’s not something I have had my eye on to be honest. I just try and keep myself fit and make myself available to play every week.
Finally, what has been your highlight throughout your local football career so far?
I’ve been lucky enough to win trophies with the teams I’ve played with locally at junior and senior level. Winning Murattis and playing at the Island Games are massive highlights that stand out and obviously playing in the FA Cup this season will live long in the memory and as I get older and look back it will probably be right up there. But I think representing England in San Marino after winning the Inter League Cup in 2012 is the highlight/memory that sticks out the most. It was a great experience and really gave you an insight into how a professional footballer lives their lives. Being Scottish and pulling on the England shirt wasn’t ideal but it’s was a once in a lifetime opportunity!