Wherever he has been – and that’s a lot of places – Nicky Deverdics has NEVER lost sight of where he should be playing.
And six years after saying goodbye to the Football League, he is back.
I think I have proved myself over the last two seasonsNICKY DEVERDICS
The 28-year-old yesterday signed for Hartlepool United and he could not be happier.
Pools boss Craig Hignett has brought in the goal-scoring midfielder from Dover Athletic, who last season challenged for promotion to League Two.
There have been a few trials and tribulations along the way since he left Barnet in 2010, but he has made it.
“Everyone who knows me understands that I’ve wanted to be back and that I should be playing in the League,” he told SportMail.
“It didn’t happen to me after I left Barnet, but I was a young lad then.
“I’m now in form, more experienced and now I’m back in I don’t see myself dropping out again
“I’m here to prove a point.”
After leaving Barnet, Deverdics played a season at Blyth Spartans, the start of a sporadic stage of his career, flitting between non-clubs in England and teams abroad.
He played in Bolungarvík (Iceland),Team Northumbria, Alfreton Town, TB Tvøroyri (Faroe Islands) and Tadcaster Albion before getting himself new agents and a contract at Dover Athletic.
It turned out to be a wise move. In two seasons in the fifth tier of English football he has earned himself the reputation as one of the top midfielders in the National League.
“I think I have proved myself over the last two seasons, arguably playing the best football I’ve played,” explained the former Newcastle United youngster .
“The stats with Dover are my best and I’m desperate to kick on and prove to be people that I should have been back in the league a long time ago.
“I scored 11 in my first season and 16 in the season which has just finished.
“I don’t think 27 goals in two seasons from centre midfield is a bad return.
“I got the most assists in the National League last season, that’s a good stat.”
His goals and leadership – he skippered the Kent club from November – almost took them up, only to be foled in the play-offs by Forest Green.
But such were his displays that Football League clubs were hovering, including Pools, with Hignet and first-tea coach Curtis Fleming big admirers of the central midfielder.
“There was interest from a few clubs and Hartlepool was one of them,” he said.
“I had meetings with the managers and spoke to Craig and Curtis here.
“I took an immediate liking to them.
“I liked what the gaffer had to say on how he likes to play and what he wants to do here.
“The gaffer wants to take Hartlepool back in the right direction and that was something I wanted to be part of.”
Deverdics learned his football at Newcastle United – where he played alongside Pools keeper Adam Bartlett – before being released at the age of 18.
There began something of a nomadic existence – 11 clubs in the space of 10 years.
“My football upbringing was at Newcastle which was brilliant,” he said
“After that I signed for Gretna, which was great, we won the First Division and got into the SPL.
“But we went bust and I signed for Barnet and had two years there.
“After that, I ended up signing for Blyth in the Conference North.
“I only intended going there to keep fit but I finished up staying for the season
“I dropped out of there and went to Iceland, my head was all over the shop with English football, I wanted a break from it.
“I had three months at Alfreton, went to the Faroe Islands, but since coming back from there I joined Dover.
“I knuckled down, I knew if I played well for them I could get back on track and that’s how it’s panned out.”