Home   Maidstone   Sport   Article

Maidstone United's on-loan Crystal Palace goalkeeper Dion-Curtis Henry recalls trading stick with Millwall fans

Maidstone goalkeeper Dion-Curtis Henry has no problem dealing with stick from the terraces after learning the hard way on his Football League debut.

Henry was a teenager at Peterborough when he found himself trading with visiting Millwall fans while keeping warm as a substitute in a match in October 2015.

He got a shock moments later when Posh keeper Ben Alnwick went down injured, opening the door for the young stopper to go on.

Maidstone keeper Dion-Curtis Henry Picture: Steve Terrell
Maidstone keeper Dion-Curtis Henry Picture: Steve Terrell

Lions supporters were ready for him although Henry, now 21, had the last laugh as Peterborough won 5-3.

He said: "I was told to warm up, just to stay warm, and the Millwall fans were giving me stick the whole time.

"Probably naively, I decided to give a little bit back and the next minute I turn round and see Ben Alnwick, our keeper, down injured, and I'm thinking, ‘Man alive, not the time to be giving something back to them!’

"I went back to the dugout and the manager, Graham Westley, went, ‘you’re coming on, just relax, do your best.’

"We were winning 2-0 or 2-1 at the time and I just wanted to get to half-time with no mistakes, and that’s what I did.

"There was a big crowd in - over 6,000 - and it was enjoyable.

"If any game taught me how to deal with opposition fans it was that one. It taught me a massive lesson, although it probably wouldn’t stop me again!

"You get stick all the time as a goalkeeper. You've just got to laugh it off.

"It's just fans trying to get on to you and then after the game you clap each other and that's it. It's not personal. I enjoy it."

Dion-Curtis Henry keeps AFC Fylde at bay Picture: Steve Terrell
Dion-Curtis Henry keeps AFC Fylde at bay Picture: Steve Terrell

Former Posh boss Westley was quite a character, with Henry recalling a bizarre first meeting.

He said: "When he came in everyone was a bit hesitant because of the stories we’d heard.

"But, do you know what, he was a laugh.

"The first day he said he wanted to get to know us all properly so we thought we’d be having chats, but he was like, ‘no, I want you to get in groups of four and do a play or a musical for me, you’ve got an hour to prep,’ and he just left us to it.

"We ended up doing a play and luckily my team won and he gave us a bottle of aftershave and a bottle of beer.

"He just said, ‘you've got an hour to do it, just make me laugh,' so we went off in our groups and did that."

Henry is enjoying the chance to play senior football at Maidstone after joining on loan from Crystal Palace for the rest of the season.

He'd been playing for the Eagles' under-23s but, after recovering from a broken shoulder, it was time to get out and play competitive games.

Dion-Curtis Henry talks tactics with new goalkeeper coach Chris Lewington Picture: Steve Terrell
Dion-Curtis Henry talks tactics with new goalkeeper coach Chris Lewington Picture: Steve Terrell

He said: "It was something I tried to do last year but a couple of injuries stopped it from happening.

"It was important that when I was back fit this January I got myself out on loan at a good level.

"It’s better than playing 23s football, because you’re competing for more and people have got mortgages and bills to pay and people want to win games.

"The loan’s going to be good for me because it will teach me to look after myself a lot more.

"At Palace you’ve got set gym sessions, set recovery, set this, set that, but here you’ve got to look after yourself and prepare for training and games."

Henry is working with new goalkeeper coach Chris Lewington at Maidstone - a man he knows from his Peterborough days.

He said: "He came in a couple of days at Peterborough when I played there, so I do know him and I’ve trained with him before.

"It’s good to have him in and it means we’ve got someone there with a bit more experience helping us out in training and giving us his side of things.

"It makes our training better and harder. It’s been a lot more intense than it would have been if it was just us two keepers (Henry and Josh Strizovic)."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More