‘In Conversation With’ were articles for the matchday programme in the 1998/99 season in which Dave Tavener interviewed various members of the team. Below is the interview with Robbie Reinelt.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Hereford United
"I remember it clearly but I don't remember the aftermath so well when we went back to Brighton. I started the day on the bench which was disappointing as I had played in the two previous games (and indeed scored during a 1-1 draw at Cambridge United) but I think that because we only needed a draw to stay up the manager wanted a more defensive line-up. We went a goal down so he chucked me on and I scored the equaliser. We took something like three and a half thousand fans with us, which for a team that had been bottom of the table for 99% of the season was unbelievable. The feeling was just superb."
"As for the goal itself, Craig Maskell turned on a bad clearance from one of their defenders and really spanked it. The ball hit the post and came back out, I was coming in from the left and just struck it underneath the keeper as he dived. You do have some sympathy for the side you are knocking out of the league as you are putting them out of their job but fortunately Hereford stayed full time and this year I think they are doing quite well in the Conference. It was a case of either eat or be eaten."
In the beginning
"I was on the books of Charlton Athletic as a Schoolboy for about three months then one of their blokes said I would never make a footballer. I don't think the manager could make up his mind where to play me as I started out at right-back, then went to the right-wing, up front and central midfield. In the end he just let me go."
The final Shot
"After leaving Charlton I was playing in a County game when Aldershot's chief scout saw me and told me that they fancied having a look at me and asked me down for trial. I played just 15 minutes of that trial game when their manager, Lennie Walker, pulled me to one side and said they'd seen enough and wanted to sign me. I became the youngest player ever to play in their first team until they went bankrupt. When the club folded it was a pretty sad time for me personally as they had already said that they wanted to sign me as a professional. It seemed at the time when they offered me the contract that as a 16 year-old all my birthdays had come at once but three weeks later the club had folded."
Doing the rounds
"I went out of the game as such after that for around 18 months although I played for Wivenhoe Town, Braintree Town, had trials with Colchester United and also played out in Finland for a couple of months. I got picked up when I was at Wivenhoe by Gillingham and ended up there for about three and a half seasons. At the end of that Gillingham sold me to Colchester in a swap deal which saw Steve Brown go in the opposite direction. From Colchester I went to Brighton for £15,000 and the rest, as they say, is history."
"Physically Finish football doesn't compare to our football but ability-wise I'd say it is around the standard of the Second and First Divisions although it is nowhere near the standard of the top First Division clubs or the Premiership."
"Looking back probably my two favourite times were at Brighton and Gillingham. I'd signed a pro contract at Gillingham when I was 20 and I was just happy to be back in the game after that time out of it. During that time out I spent a year surfing down in Cornwall, I was still actually playing football on the Saturday then I would shoot off to go surfing."
The path to St. Albans
"When I came to leave Brighton I sent my c.v. round to several clubs and Stevenage Borough said they wanted to have a look at me. It didn't really work out first time there, they had different ideas to what I had at the time. From there I went to Leyton Orient and had a good couple of months there, I seemed to be doing quite well and was playing regularly when they suddenly decided to let me go. I went back to Stevenage and signed as a non-contract player. I felt I was doing okay there although I was again being used in numerous positions and that does seem to have been a consistent feature of my career. Hopefully now I am at St. Albans I can settle down and look to get into double figures by the end of the season, I started with two goals in three games and hope to keep that sort of form going."
Semi-pro only by name
"I would say that Stevenage were more professional than clubs on the lines of Hull City and Scarborough. I would even say that they are on a par with Rushden & Diamonds even though they are not full time like Rushden are. If you want to get into the Football League I think you have to be like that, you have speculate to accumulate."
Long term contract
"It has always been my dream to be a professional footballer, I am a fighter - which has sometimes been to my detriment - but I definitely want to get back into league football and hopefully we can get into the Conference this year and progress from there (a touch unlikely). I have a contract with St. Albans until the end of the season and Garry Hill has told me that if I do well then we can talk again in the summer about a long term contract. I don't think I done myself any favours in getting sent off soon after joining the club when Garry and the chairman had been so kind to me. I hope to pay them back by getting into double figures (goals) and helping the club into the Conference."
"Up until I turned professional my disciplinary record wasn't too bad but all of a sudden when I turned pro I got this mentality that I could go around kicking people which obviously you can't do. I do seem to spend about 20 - 25% of the season sitting in the stand suspended, but the will to win has always been high in my mind and sometimes it backfires on me, while other times it has helped me get to the ball when I shouldn't have done and scored goals when the defender was favourite to get to the ball first. When it works like that it pays dividends to be more aggressive. I am not too bad in the air and a majority of my goals have come from my head, it is because I don't mind going in where it could hurt - I haven't exactly got the looks to spoil so if I get a boot in the head it is not really anything sad! With the will to win it is case of if you try hard enough you can achieve.”
"I have had many discussions with my family and friends about this, they are always slaughtering me saying I only work three hours a day but it is difficult if the resources are not there. If a club has a manager and a coach and one of them has to go off somewhere to watch another club then it comes down to the player having to work on his own and there is only so much you can do by yourself. You can run and kick a ball as much as you want but need someone there to tell you what you are doing wrong and really analyse what you doing, but yes I think there are times when players could work a lot harder. At present I am still training every day with Gillingham."
"I have seen some dire pitches in my time, Hendon being one and London Colney another, but it is difficult for the clubs. Should they spend money on the ground, should they spend money on the team to get them into a higher league and as I said earlier you have to speculate to accumulate."
"I would say that by far Garry is the best. I think it was Dominic Gentle who said that Garry is a great man-motivator and knows how to motivate single people which a lot of manager neglect. Talking in a general situation a lot of managers are good but when it comes to talking to someone on a personal level they can't do it and lose a lot of respect."
"When I was at Gillingham we played Sheffield Wednesday in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup after winning a 2nd Round replay at Fulham. We lost 2-1, Wednesday had Kevin Pressman sent-off and I was out on the left-wing and didn't really see a lot of the game. The furthest I ever got was the 4th Round with Aldershot, we drew 1-1 at the Recreation Ground and lost 6-1 at Upton Park. I didn't play in that game but it was a great feeling just being in that atmosphere with all those top class players."
"I get more nervous now than I did as a pro. I think you just have to take every game as it comes, you can't go out there thinking 'I'm going to have a bad game today,' but although I'm sure some players do get nervous it doesn't trouble me too much."
Who'd be a manager
"Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I have been playing under managers at the time that they have been sacked. When I was at Gillingham they sacked three managers in one year, you do feel sorry for the man but you have to get on with it as it is a part of football. The strangest thing about the timing of Paul Fairclough's dismissal at Stevenage was that we had games coming up against three of the top teams; Cheltenham Town, Rushden & Diamonds and Kettering Town, what a time to sack a manager when you're about to play the three top teams."
Robbie left St Albans City at the end of the season after scoring three times in 10 games. He played for Braintree Town between 1999-2002, scoring 70 times in 106 Isthmian League games. Robbie played eight league games for Grays Athletic in 2002-03 and in the following season scored ten times in 38 Isthmian League matches for Ford United.