01:00PM, Monday 16 November 2020
James Comley isn't the type of player to be fazed by rival crowds. In fact, he often thrives off it and is egged on by the booing to raise his performance.
The Magpies midfielder doesn't particularly relish playing matches behind closed doors and admits that at times it's easy to subconsciously feel like 'you're playing in a friendly'.
However, while the atmosphere in games has been dealt a deadening blow, he says there are some advantages to crowds not being in the stadiums.
“I've never been one to feel too much difference, whether I'm playing home or away,” he said. “Noise is noise, the only difference is it's either good noise or bad noise. If you go to Notts County you’re probably going to get booed and get some stick, but when you're at home there's a high percentage the fans are going to be egging you on.
“It's weird without the fans. A lot of the time there are parts of the game where it does feel like a friendly. But at other times you're like 'right, we're playing for points, you've got to get stuck into tackles'. But it has its advantages as well. It’s a great opportunity to speak to your teammates and communicate. When there is noise all around you, you sometimes can't hear each other. Now, there are no excuses. With a new team, being able to communicate with each other is a good thing. When we were promoted, we had pretty much the same line up and everyone knew their roles.
“With the midfield four we played together so often that you didn't really need to say anything. In general, you knew people would in the right position and, most of the time, everyone was in-sync with each other. That's where we're trying to get to now.
“That's one of the helpful things about having no fans, it's easier to communicate. But you do miss them. The atmosphere they give makes it a proper game. It's not so bad when you're playing, you get lost in the game a bit and that's beneficial. But I feel it more watching games. I find it hard to watch Premier League games now because there's no atmosphere.”
Comley added that he believes the mentality people have of Maidenhead being a 'small club' is going to change in the coming years, and he wants to play his part in changing the perception of the Magpies forever.
“People will hold us in that small club bracket, that pub team bracket, but it means nothing to us,” he said. “It just makes you more determined to go to these clubs and beat them. And, when their fans are there, it's even sweeter. We know that if we were winning against some of these teams their fans would be on their backs.
“When you hear that it eggs you on and makes you laugh. The small team thing doesn’t faze us. Sometimes you feel you don’t get the decisions, but we've just got to go out and perform, score goals and try not to concede. At some point, whether it's now, or in two- or three-years’ time, if we stay in this league and keep improving, that mentality is going to change. We'll change that mentality for other people.”
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