Stephens recounts his non-league experiences

To celebrate Non-League Day, Dale Stephens spoke about his early experiences in the game with Droylsden and Hyde United, and highlighted the important lessons he learned at both clubs ahead of his journey to the Premier League.

By James Hilsum • 12 October 2019

By Paul Hazlewood
Dale Stephens thanks the fans against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Stephens spent brief spells out on loan at the Greater Manchester clubs during his time with Bury, and expressed his gratitude to the two sides for the grounding they have given him as a footballer.

He said, “The short spells I had at Droylsden and Hyde helped me massively in my development, and I’d like to thank everyone at both clubs for that.

“You get that exposure to playing men’s football for the first time from being 16 or 17, which is so important.

“A lot of the young boys leave here on loan and come back being a lot tougher and more experienced. That’s what the loan market is all about.”

By Paul Hazlewood
Dale Stephens in action during training.

The Albion midfielder also spoke about a player who stood out from the rest during his time at Droylsden and recounted the stand-out match from his non-league days.

“There was a boy called Jody [Banim], who was their best player. Talent wise he was very good, and he had a massive amount of potential. He was a few years older than me, and unfortunately I don’t think he ever made the step up.

“Looking at my best game performance wise, I would say it was the match I played for Drolysden away from home at Torquay. It wasn’t like it is today when you fly to somewhere of that distance.

“We made the coach trip the day before and it took the best part of eight hours to get down there.

“It was my best performance down there, and even though we lost 2-1, it’s still a game I look back on quite fondly.”