Dunfermline Athletic

Return of Woods and babes

Sunday, 3rd Apr 2016

Calum Woods returned to East End Park on Easter Saturday. He was pleased to meet those at the club that he had known through his five years at Dunfermline Athletic.

"It is brilliant to be back, it feels like it has been a long time. I came back in for friendly game with Huddersfield immediately after I left the club but since then I have not been back to the ground. A lot has changed since then, it has been a dramatic time but it looks like everything is getting back to normal."

Calum moved to Dunfermline after the 19 year old was given a free transfer from Liverpool where he had learned his footballing skills from the age of 10. He recalled:-

"I think my agent got in touch with Jim Leishman. I think someone else at Liverpool at the time Alex Miller or one of the coaches got me up for a trial. Straight away Jim said that he wanted to sign me and that was my decision made.

"I was expecting to be here just for a couple of weeks to see how it went but after a couple of days he wanted to sign me. That's how it all started.

"I loved my time here, it is a brilliant club and special to us. My first child was born here and my now wife Melissa moved up here and we loved the place."

When Calum was signed Dunfermline were in the Premier League. His competitive debut was at home to Hearts on the opening day of the 2006-2007 season. It was a Hearts team that included Craig Gordon, Robbie Neilson, Steven Pressley and Neil McCann but he was to start only 9 more matches that season and was often an unused sub.

"When I first came I played quite a few games but then the manager changed. When Stephen Kenny came I didn't really get a look in during the second half of the season and so didn't play in the Scottish Cup Final but it was still good to be around. It was a good experience and I still enjoyed it."

The following season when Dunfermline reached the Challenge Cup final Calum started that match at Dens Park.

"I played that and I think that is when I started to kick on. I became a regular in the team and from then on everything was brilliant. Jim McIntyre became the manager and obviously I had played alongside Macca. I knew what sort of person he was and I think he liked me as a player as well. When he became the manager I was delighted with that. I had a good relationship with him and it was brilliant."

Team mates were players like Greg Shields, Scott Thomson, Scott Wilson and Stephen Glass. Calum feels that he learned a lot from them.

"I have a lot to thank players like that for. It still keep in touch with them. I speak to Nipper and Glassy every now and then. It was really good to play with players with the experience that they had."

Calum recalled scoring in the penalty shoot out at Pittodrie as a highlight of his days at Dunfermline.

"Away to Aberdeen in the cup and winning on penalties was a brilliant night. I still remember taking the penalty and it just creeping in past the keeper. I had taken a penalty earlier on in the season and missed. I was therefore a bit more nervous taking the next one at Aberdeen."

The penalty shoot out against Aberdeen's Jamie Langfield was won 4-2 and that sent Dunfermline back to Hampden for a semi final against Falkirk.

"It is a great place to play but unfortunately didn't get to play the final. I was on a booking that meant if I got booked I would miss the final. In the first couple of minutes of the game I went right into the back of someone and got booked. I wouldn't have played in the final anyway. We didn't play well against Falkirk, I don't know if the occasion got the better of us."

Calum's last season was the First Division championship winning season.

"The team we had then was great for us. I still have some great friends from that season. Obviously Joe Cardle is one of my best mates. A season like that was what I hoped for when I arrived at Dunfermline but once we got relegated it was what you were thinking - to get back into the Premier League just as soon as. A couple of seasons went by and it didn't happen. We were getting closer and closer.

"I felt that last season I was here was our season. The team and the squad always made you feel that it was our season and we were going up and we did. Everyone got on, the team was really close and there were some really good players in the team for that league. We knew that it was going to happen."

Speaking just prior to the kick off of the last home game against Brechin City, Calum said it would be fantastic if it turned out to be another league winning celebration:-

"It would be good to see that happen and brilliant for the boys. The club is on the way up now and hopefully can do well in the next league."

Calum left with his league winners medal and joined Huddersfield Town in June 2011. He explained:-

"Through that last season I was in talks about signing a new contract but I wanted to hold out, more for the fact that I wanted to get back home. I moved up here when I was only 19, my wife was pregnant and we wanted to get closer to home. I had been away for five years so it was always the plan.

"It would have been nice to have played for Dunfermline in the SPL but I was happy enough to go back home. I signed for Huddersfield when they were in League One but got promoted in the first season I was there into the Championship. I got to play at Wembley in the first season there in the play off final."

Calum Woods was at Huddersfield for three seasons staking his place in the team at left back after an injury to Gary Naysmith. After making over 80 appearances he left Huddersfield for Preston North End in July 2014 linking up again with former Huddersfield manager Simon Grayson at Deepdale.

"Preston has been brilliant, we got promoted into the Championship last season. That was in the play off final so I got to play at Wembley again. It has been going really well and we have been doing alright in the league this season - we are tenth at the moment which is good for the first season back in the Championship."

Reflecting on meeting so many familiar faces at Dunfermline he closed:-

"I just remember it like it was yesterday. We came as kids and left as adults. Me and my wife still talk about the people that we met here and the things we did here. It was a great experience and a brilliant place to be."



Watch this interview On DAHT website



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