Former Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Gary Dicker, who featured more than 150 times for the club, shared the field with numerous players during his four-year stay, but one individual caught his eye more than most.
Dicker was one of only two Albion players to feature in every league game for the Seagulls during the 2010/11 title-winning season, but the squad was strengthened further a few months later in preparation for the Sky Bet Championship.
One of those to arrive at the Amex Stadium was a former Spain international, who had played more than 240 matches in La Liga and reached the final of the UEFA Champions League — than man was Vicente Rodriguez.
The winger remained on the south coast for two seasons and departed the club at the same time as Dicker, and the Irishman reflected on Vicente’s talent, and also the quality of his other team-mates.
He said, “That dressing room was probably the best dressing room I’ve been in. I played with some really good players and friends, but ability-wise, the main one, and I think everyone would agree, was Vicente.
“I remember the day he came in and I was speaking to Calde, saying ‘who’s this Vicente?’. I didn’t think it was the same one from Valencia!
“He had so much natural ability and for someone that good, I didn’t expect him to be so humble and nice. You could watch him train all day, he was that good.
“If you looked at all the players we brought in over my time, people like Mathew Upson, Wayne Bridge and Bruno, you could see their experience both on and off the pitch.
“With the money in the game now, it was great to see people like them who don’t change because of it. Bruno was different class when I was there and was really good to have in the changing room.”
Dicker’s contract expired at the end of the 2012/13 season, which signalled his move to Rochdale, and the 32-year-old has since played for Crawley Town, Carlisle United and Kilmarnock.
The Irishman admitted the feeling of disappointment he felt when his time at the club came to an end, but he’s been delighted to watch the Seagulls flourish during the following years.
“It was a strange one. We lost in the play-offs, the season was over and the manager obviously ended up leaving. Things were in limbo and there were a lot of us out of contract.
“I’d played a lot of games that season, but probably not as much as I’d wanted, maybe 30-odd games. I was devastated to leave because I loved my time there and never had a bad word to say about the club.
“From day one when I met Derek Allen, he was spot on with me and so was everyone else at the club. It was a difficult time, but that happens in football.
“You’ve got to move on and you can’t be thinking about the past. I’m just happy to be back playing and seeing Brighton doing well. My kids are still down in Steyning and I try to get to games whenever I can.”