Published: 05:00, 09 November 2021
Lewis Knight is enjoying his football again at Margate after going back to basics.
Knight joined the Gate after a challenging couple of years at Maidstone and Billericay.
He’s getting the regular football he craved alongside captain Ben Swift in central defence and things are looking good, with Jay Saunders’ side showing their Isthmian Premier play-off credentials.
Knight, who scored in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Haringey Borough, said: “For me, it was just a matter of getting back playing.
“I’ve not been playing for the last two years, due to injuries and being out of favour.
“I needed to play, the gaffer promised that to me, and that made me want to come.
“Ben Greenhalgh (Gate forward) was a big driving force as well, I’ve known him a long time and he said the club’s going in the right direction.
“I went to Maidstone, daytime training, and things don’t always go the way you expect.
“I felt I had to go for it, I think I’d have regretted it if I hadn’t.
“It was difficult to come back from that and then the season was cut short at Billericay so I’ve had two seasons just bouncing around.
“I didn’t want to slip into that thing where it becomes a chore to play because I’ve played football since I was a kid and it is every kid’s dream to play.
“I wanted to get back to basics and enjoy my football, not be worrying about am I going to play, am I doing this right, am I doing that right?
“I’ve found somewhere I enjoy playing and now we’re striving for something that could potentially be there for us in a play-off place.”
Knight’s background picture on Twitter features the words, ‘Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will’ - apt for a player who’s been through the mill before settling down at Hartsdown Park.
He added: “Doubts, and that type of thing, can slip in when you haven’t played for a while.
“You start to look at yourself and question yourself when a couple of people have opinions on you, but it’s about having that self-belief at all times. Moral fibre, I call it.
"Football’s easy when things are going right and everyone’s there. It’s when the chips are down you find out who you really are.”
Knight scored Margate’s equaliser at Haringey and Greenhalgh put them 2-1 up in added time only for the hosts to level at the death.
The draw leaves Margate outside the play-off places on goal difference, with the team ahead of schedule after Saunders’ big rebuilding job.
“We’re going well,” said Knight.
“It’s a brand-new team - Swifty’s the only one left from last year - and the gaffer has said previously he thought it would take longer to gel.
“Saturday was difficult to go 2-1 up and then concede a minute later but Haringey’s a difficult place to go and the conditions weren’t easy, although that’s no excuse to concede straight away.
“Apart from that it’s been good and we’ve set our sights maybe higher than people might have thought.
“As players and management, we’re looking at the play-offs.”
Saunders likes the left-foot right-foot combination of Swift and Knight at the back.
It’s easier said than done to find that these days and Margate are reaping the benefits.
“We get on really well and we demand a lot from each other,” said Knight.
“He’s the skipper at a young age and good on him for doing that. I think we’ve done well together.
"We’ve let in a few sloppy goals but it’s a matter of looking at it and where we’re doing things wrong as a team and trying to prevent that going forward.”
Margate visit Needham Market in the FA Trophy first round this Saturday.