Champions League football with Motherwell, Over 100 appearances at Preston and a pretty decent footballer with great pace to throw into the bargain, Chris Humphrey really has enjoyed a great career.
He hasn’t retired as of yet, but at 31, he’s now the manager of Gretna 2008 in the Lowland League. As a professional, Humphrey took in spells Shrewsbury Town, Stafford Rangers, Motherwell, Preston, Hibs, Bury and Barrow, before a brief spell at East Kilbride.
His Gretna side had a tough test in pre-season recently against Motherwell, with Humphrey’s former side putting Gretna to the sword with a 7-0 victory at Raydale Park.
Humphrey told NTOF prior to the match: “It’s nice to play against Motherwell, my old stomping ground. It’s all about pre-season though, it’s all about getting fitness for that first game against Civil Service.”
Humphrey, The Champions League and Motherwell heyday
By his own admission, Humphrey played some of his best stuff at Fir Park. During his four year stay between 2009-2013, Motherwell went through a golden period.
Second place finishes, a Champions League place, cup finals, all the works. Humphrey was a big part of that on the right-hand side, with his pace and dribbling making him hard for most teams to deal with.
The Jamaican looked back with fondness on his Well days: “I had a lot of memories at Fir Park. The Champions League and also beating Celtic twice in the one season was another fantastic thing.
“Did I ever think I would play in a Champions League? No. There are players in the English Premiership who have never played in the Champions League. It’s crazy the way you look at it. We had a really good year that year and it just showed the spirit, the courage and desire we had.
“I can’t pinpoint one thing to be honest. My whole four years at Motherwell was fantastic. I really enjoyed it.”
Humphrey knows he was part of a special group at Fir Park: “With the likes of Michael Higdon, Jamie Murphy, Henrik Ojamaa, Nicky Law as well, personally I don’t think they’ll have a team like that again. The difference with that was we were all free, they didn’t pay a single penny for any of us.
“You go back to the defence with Darren Randolph, Tom Hateley, we had some fantastic players. Keith Lasley was a leader, Steven Hammell was a leader, Stephen Craigan was a leader. We had a fantastic squad for the whole four years I was there really.”
EFL and Premiership diffrences
Having played on both sides of the border, Humphrey knows the demands of playing in both the EFL and the SPFL.
The Scottish game gets talked down by some in England, but Humphrey is so grateful for his Scottish spell.
He believes there isn’t much difference between the two: “I really loved my time at Motherwell. When people say it’s this, that or the other, it’s not. I enjoyed it.
“There’s not much difference between the EFL and the SPFL to be honest. I just think the EFL is more demanding, there’s more travelling and that’s about it.
“The standard I wouldn’t say is tremoundously different, it’s perhaps a bit better in the EFL as there are more teams, so it will be better. If Scotland had more teams in the league, the standard would go up.
“I wouldn’t say it’s 10x times different.”