Former Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Casper Ankergren, who now works alongside Ben Roberts as assistant goalkeeping coach, reflected on his memories of a successful first season at the club after joining in 2010.
The Seagulls beat Southampton and Huddersfield Town to the League One title in 2011, and Ankergren kept 20 clean sheets ahead of the club's move to the Amex Stadium.
The Dane left Leeds United for the south coast of England, and he recalled the events which led into his debut against Swindon Town on the opening day of the season at the County Ground.
He said, “I was training with a team in Turkey and then had a phone call from Albion — we’d been talking for a bit but couldn’t agree a deal. I thought I’d made a mistake because the club had signed other goalkeepers during that period.
“Peter Brezovan broke his wrist, I got another phone call from the club and I said ‘yeah, okay, I’ll come’. I flew from Turkey to Copenhagen, got a bag and landed at Gatwick on the Thursday night.
“I signed the papers at the hotel that night, trained with the team the following day and then played against Swindon on the Saturday.
“Swindon beat Leeds 3-0 twice the previous season and reached the play-off final, so I thought they were going to be quite good, but Spadge [Matt Sparrow] scored two goals and we won the match 2-1. It was a great start to the season."
Ankergren missed just one league match for the Seagulls during their title-winning campaign, but after moving away from Elland Road, he quickly became aware of a new style of football in Sussex.
“It was very different to what I was used to at Leeds. Under Dennis Wise, I wasn’t allowed to give the ball to the centre-backs. I remember doing push-ups in training just because I passed the ball to one of the centre-backs — everything was meant to go long.
“But I was always quite comfortable with the ball at my feet from my time in Denmark, so that didn’t bother me. We played some really good football [at Albion], maybe overplaying at times.
“We had GG [Gordon Greer], who was very good on the ball, Adam El-Abd improved incredibly and that was quite a surprise to me. We had players that wanted to receive the ball — Gary Dicker was one of the best players to come short with a man on his back.
“If you want to play the way we did, you need the players to show up, especially when the goalkeeper has it. Nobody was scared to receive the ball and that helped us achieve success.”
Albion recorded an impressive 24 points from their eight matches in March, as they raced towards the Championship, and Ankergren reflected on a fruitful month, both individually and as a team.
“I won the Player of the Month award for that month — we kept six clean sheets from eight games and won every match. That was the month that all but sealed our promotion.
“I remember easily beating Sheffield Wednesday at home the following month, and they were one of the teams expected to be up there. Earlier in the season we beat Peterborough 3-0 away and Charlton away 4-0 — there were certain games from that season that just stand out for me.
“Somehow we managed to get a 1-0 away win at Dagenham during that run in March, and the pitch was absolutely terrible. We didn’t play well but still won 1-0.
“We didn’t have the best players in the league but we had a nice unity — everybody worked hard and we played some great football. Everybody understood their role in the team."