Brighton & Hove Albion defender Gaetan Bong, who signed a new one-year contract earlier today, admitted his joy to remaining at the club for a further season — a place he happily calls ‘home’.
Chris Hughton brought the Cameroonian to the club back in July 2015, and Bong has since made close to 100 appearances for the Seagulls, including 47 in the Premier League ahead of matches against Arsenal and Manchester City.
Bong was honest about the added importance of playing to earn a new contract, but admitted his delight to be extending his journey with the club, which he helped reach the Premier League after two seasons in the second tier.
He said, “I’ve known this club for many years now and I’m really glad I’ve signed this contract.
“Thanks to the club and the fans, because I was thinking about a new challenge, I had some very good opportunities, but I made the decision to stay here because it’s my home.
“We started to talk at the beginning of the season, we took time to find the right deal, but at the same time I’ve been very focused because we’ve had a job to do.
“Playing when you’re out of contract in the summer isn’t easy, but you have to deal with that. Every game is important, because every game is about your future.
“I never feel the pressure, I’m always cool and do my job. Whatever happens is going to happen, but I always do my best to give 100%.”
Bong helped the Seagulls to a clean sheet on his return to the starting line-up at Molineux last month, and the 31-year-old spoke in detail about his mental approach to matches and the example he tries to set.
“This league is tough, but you know what you’re going to get from Gaetan Bong. I’ve always tried to set an example — if you’re going to ask somebody to do something, you have to do it first.
“I’m getting a bit older now, but on the pitch I’m still the one who’s running and running, because it’s not about your age, everything is about mentality.
“Look at Bruno, he’s the oldest player in the squad, but every day he runs and runs and runs and gives everything.
“You need leadership and character within the team. I don’t talk too much, but when things become hard, I stand up and people need to listen."