Uwe Huenemeier reflected on a ‘rollercoaster’ journey with Brighton & Hove Albion, as the popular German looks ahead to re-joining former club SC Paderborn this summer.
The defender’s three-year spell with the Seagulls comes to an end this month, and he will take plenty of fond memories from his time on the south coast.
He said, “It’s been a great experience for me to go abroad as a German player. We’ve been really successful here, and I’ve been part of a great team and club. It’s much better than I ever thought it would be.
“I’m really pleased to have done it and will look back at my time here with plenty of joy.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. We came really close to promotion in my first year, then I had my injury, which was a big blow for me. Then last season we stepped up again as a team to get 93 points and go up.”
Huenemeier battled to force his way back into the team after a lengthy spell on the sidelines, and seized his opportunity during the tail end of last season after being drafted in to replace the injured Shane Duffy.
“There was a lot of pressure on me because everyone was saying, ‘Can he deliver? He hasn’t played for a while.’ But I did it in the end and I'm pleased about that.
“There was a lot to play for in that moment, because we were very close to the Premier League at that time.
“I was really pleased that I stepped up to perform and proved myself again after being out for so long. It wasn’t easy to come into a team that was playing really well.”
The 32-year-old is now looking forward to heading back to Paderborn, who are showing signs of a revival after winning promotion back to Bundesliga 2 for next season.
“I was following them quite a lot and was regularly commentating about them on social media, even in the bad times when they got relegated.
“My former team-mate is now their sporting manager, so I was always in touch with them. I have some good connections over there and it was quite easy to keep in touch with them.
“My kids can’t wait to get me back. I told my daughter a while ago that I’ll probably come back, but she had to keep it quiet and she managed that for a long time.
“They are both looking forward to having me back and so am I, because after a while, you miss your kids. I think it’s a good time to come back.”