Karl Hinds has always been a sensational local footballer. He has scored throughout his career and is technically very gifted. He is a work horse too, often putting defenders under pressure, forcing mistakes and the turn over of possession.
This has earnt him a Jersey recall for this weekends Muratti Vase Final, after impressing against Alderney in the semi-final and for Grouville this season.
For some, there have been question marks next to his name at times over the years, but it often comes from his passion for the sport and his hunger to play, and to win.
In an exclusive and rare interview, Hinds sat down with Dan Andrade to talk about his career to date, recent years with St Clement and Grouville, and also whether he would be keen to make a Jersey Bulls return after seemingly being frozen out.
‘I always remember going to watch my dad play’, Hinds starts as he reminisces about his first memories of football. ‘My dad played first team football until he was 52. He was a striker too, but left footed! It was good to go and watch, and I have seen the game develop from then. Now it is more about football, back then it was about kicking each other!’.
On whether he had always been a striker Hinds said ‘Way back in school, I was actually a goalkeeper! There was a day where it rained heavy and the ball was being blasted at me and I decided there and then it wasn’t for me. I didn’t play too much football until I joined St Brelade in U12s. They played me up front for a game, I scored four and I have stayed in that position ever since! The ‘9’ is my position.’
‘It was a really good standard growing up. I played for St Brelade for a couple of years and then moved to St Clement in the U14 age group. I remember winning the treble as an U18 Division Two team, and we were the first team in many years to win the U18 Division One cup as a Division Two side. Those are great memories.’
On the best players around his age group growing up Hinds picked out Scott Laverty, Jack Griffin and Asher Moyse as just a few standouts, with Kamen Nafkha and Jake Mulholland as the best, labelling the latter as ‘the best youth player I have ever seen.’
Hinds was part of a history making St Clement team who won the league in the 2021/22 campaign, and he has only good things to say about the season. ‘It was amazing for me because St Clement is my boyhood club. I live in St Clement and I love St Clement. That was probably my favourite club moment in my career. It was great to see the kids shine. Rai and Jay Dos Santos, and Jack Lumsden were class. They are really good footballers who could go far in the game.’
‘James Beaumont has been my mate for twenty something years, Owen Anderton too. I used to play football on the estate with Owen for years. It was a great, close group, and to win it with them was special.’
Hinds moved up the hill to Le Boulivot and Grouville for the 2022/23 season, and has been successful again. ‘It has been a good season bar a couple of games against St Peter where we feel we could have won but we haven’t through our own mistakes, including a penalty miss by me in the cup.’
‘We have played nice football, and other teams try to cancel us out so it has been good to try and break some of the teams down. Jake Mulholland, Kieran Stephens and Harrison Moon to name a few have had top seasons. We have a solid team and it has been really enjoyable.’
‘David Fitton is the reason I joined. I know Dave, and I knew he would get me super fit. As I wasn’t playing much for Jersey Bulls I thought I needed a kick and he has pushed me in a positive way. Paul Carberry’s knowledge of football is great too and he has helped me a lot as well.’
Something Hinds has added to his time in football in recent years is the fact he is passing on all of his experience and football knowledge to the up and coming talent in Jersey. ‘It is brilliant and I do love that side of playing. Rai for example. When we trained, I used to kick him a lot because he used to dribble with the ball so much. He used to hate it and one time he actually left training because of it. I had to explain that it was because I didn’t want it to happen to him on a Saturday and if he played the ball quicker nobody would get near him because he was that good. He started to get the hang of that and he excelled, playing Bulls etc!’
‘I just like seeing players progress. I don’t want to see a good player go backwards, and therefore not improving because the more the youngsters improve the more it helps Jersey now and in the future. A few examples this year at Grouville are Leandro Vieira and Conor Lloyd. I think they can be fantastic footballers. I just want to help them develop as much as I can.’
30 year old Hinds has bagged a phenomenal 49 goals in 22 appearances this season. A season Hinds himself labelled ‘my best ever!’ Asked what the secret to this years scoring success Hinds replied ‘I think it is the fitness. I have never been this fit. I have always done a pre-season but cheated it. This year I took it seriously and have maintained it. I have been running as well as training.’
‘I also feel as a striker, once you score one or two, and keep that run going, the confidence keeps increasing so you hit everything. Some days it doesnt work, but I have been lucky that a lot of the days it has this season. A lot of it comes down to the lads I am playing with too. Mulholland, Moon, Stephens and Max Rivers to name a few are creative players and have definitely helped.’
‘I have one more club game and I do really want to make it to 50 goals. It is against St Peter who are a tough team and are very organised defensively. A well drilled team with Elliot Powell, who I have seen now in Jersey FA Training, so it will be hard work but we are confident we can beat them on Wednesday night.’
Hinds has recently been called up for the Muratti squad for Alderney, and now has again for the main event in Guernsey on Saturday. ‘I am so pleased. Playing for Jersey is massive for me. It is like when a player plays for England. For me there is no bigger game than playing against Guernsey. I might not play much in the game depending on how Martin Cassidy picks his side on the day, but to even be involved in it is something special.’
‘I have huge respect for Cassidy because he has always been honest with me. He has always explained why I haven’t made previous squads and that is why we have a good relationship because we are open with each other. He has trusted me to come back which I am pleased about and I hope I can repay that trust.’
Hinds was the match winner in the last Muratti in Guernsey, scoring the winning penalty in the shootout. ‘I didn’t have any doubts that I was going to miss the penalty. I had a feeling I would score and I did. Everything went so fast from that moment. That was my best individual feeling in football ever, scoring the winning penalty in a Muratti. I don’t think I will ever top that, unless I score the winner on Saturday!’
The striker was frozen out of Jersey Bulls recently, and it is something that Hinds holds his hands up to but admits he is eager for another chance. ‘I was gutted. It was from my own mistake and I understand that. However, I would love to play at that standard again because I feel I am capable, and I think I could have helped them this year. The decision lies with those in charge of the club to tell the coaches I am allowed to play again, but I would definitely be hungry to play for Bulls again one day, if they let me.’
Hinds has played in previous Island Games, and with the next one coming up in a few months time Hinds is keeping everything crossed is the squad to put a few wrongs, right. ‘I am hoping I am involved because I have been in three previous Island Games and we have gone out in the group stages every time, despite being one of the best teams there, all because we didn’t perform.’
‘We owe it to ourselves to go to the Island Games and win it, and I hope to be part of that.’
What is next for Hinds? ‘I want to play for as long as I can, try and stay as fit as possible and play into my forties. I love football, it is such a huge part of my life, and is the biggest thing in it other than my family, so hopefully I can play for many more years!’
A big thanks to Karl for speaking with Sportscast Jersey, and we would like to wish him and all the Jersey squad the best of luck on Saturday!