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The Shouting Men column with Gillingham's Regan Charles-Cook

By KentOnline reporter

It felt amazing to make my first Football League start last weekend.

It’s an opportunity I had been waiting a long time for and I was especially buzzing because of the result.

My dad and my two younger brothers were there to support me, they didn’t want to miss it.

Regan Charles-Cook in action for Gillingham at Dover in pre-season Picture: Alan Langley
Regan Charles-Cook in action for Gillingham at Dover in pre-season Picture: Alan Langley

I’m one of five brothers and we all play football, I’ve have always been surrounded by football and it’s what I have wanted to do my whole life, it’s a dream and I just want to go as far as I can.

I used to go and watch my older brother Reice, when I was young, he now plays in goal for Swindon Town. I looked up to him and he is a goalkeeper who likes to use his feet.

He is a very good technical goalkeeper and we always train with each other in the summer along with Anthony, who now plays for Dulwich Hamlet, and my two younger brothers. They aren’t with academies at the moment, there has been some interest, but I think my dad just wants them to enjoy their football at the moment..

I played against Reice when I was at Charlton, in their under 23s. I tried my hardest to score past him but he kept pulling off saves and I was getting so angry, but Brandon (Hanlan) did score against him at least.

I have known Brandon for a long time, since I was 12 and we know each other inside out. We have been on a football journey together, playing in the same team at Tulse Hill along with Elliot List.

It is a lot easier to settle at a club when you know people and the lads here have been really supportive, I settled in really quick and Brandon joined the club shortly after I did. I also know the Gaffer from my time at Charlton and so it was a no-brainer to sign.

Before I moved to Charlton I was playing for Arsenal in their junior teams, from the age of about 10 or 11. I was there until I was 16, playing alongside people like Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is still there, Stefan O’Connor who is at Newcastle and Denzel Boadu who is now at Borussia Dortmund.

My school, Forest Hill, had a lot of footballers in it too, the likes of Joe Gomez (Liverpool) and Kasey Palmer (Chelsea).

Before starting pre-season this summer me and my brothers did our usual pre pre-season in the back garden and in the park. We do it every year. We bounce off each other very well. We would have a good hour in the garden at least three times a week, doing running and technical work sometimes going to the gym as well.

Our dad is there coaching us and he played a bit of football as well before getting into boxing. My uncle James Cook was also a boxer and he was a British champion. My mum was into athletics and so I come from quite an athletic background.

Reice used to play outfield a lot but it was discovered he had a heart murmur. The doctor said it was okay but my parents put him in goal because they were worried and he adapted so well. Ever since then he has been a goalkeeper and his heart is fine, he can run for days.

Having such a background does bring a little pressure to success but I thrive off it.

I’m 21 now and moving here will give me a chance to show what I can do. The Gaffer knows me and it is a proper family club here, it’s something I have realised since coming here in the changing room and with the fans, everybody is together no matter what.

Read the full column in this week's Medway Messenger newspaper

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