BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Marvin Bartley has vowed to inflict pane on Hibs’ Championship rivals after revealing how working as a glazer shaped his career.
The towering midfielder yesterday penned a two-year contract with the Hibees, making Easter Road the latest destination on a road which started in non-league football.
The 29-year-old spent his formative years turning out for the likes of Burnham, Hayes and Didcot Town in the lower reaches of the English pyramid and combined his football commitments with a day job at a double glazing firm.
And Bartley insists his humble roots in the game have made him more determined to succeed.
He said: “I only turned to professional football when I was 21. Before that I was in non-league football, working as a double-glazer. So I have done that side of it.
“I think that grounding makes me grateful for everything I have in football and all that I have achieved in the game. It also makes me hungry to achieve even more – hopefully the league title at Hibs!
“It was a good route for me to go down. Being 18 years old and making your way in the game, some people might think ‘I don’t want to be playing non-league and working a day job’, but looking back it has helped me massively.
“It builds life skills and has made me the man I am today.”
Bartley arrives at Hibs after turning down the opportunity to remain at Leyton Orient, who were relegated from League One last term despite boasting one of the largest budgets in the division. The club’s Italian owners, he explained, had plenty of cash but little knowledge of the game.
Prior to that, he worked under two of the most highly-rated coaches in English football, Eddie Howe and Sean Dyche, during stints at Bournemouth and Burnley.
He cultivated a successful relationship with Howe in particular, and paid new boss Alan Stubbs the ultimate compliment by underlining his similarities to the man who lead the Cherries to the Barclay’s Premier League.
Bartley continued: “Speaking to the gaffer [Stubbs], he is very similar to Eddie Howe in the way he comes across, the drive he has and the way he wants to play his football. They are very similar in their football philosophy and that was a huge factor for me.
“I spoke to a few people abut the gaffer – John Lundstram and Michael Symes who were at Everton – and they both had only brilliant things to say about him.”
Bartley also sounded out another of his best friends in football, ex-Hibee Tom Soares, about the switch to Leith.
Soares endured an utterly miserable six-month loan spell in the capital during the 2011/12 campaign, culminating in an anonymous display in the humiliating 5-1 Scottish Cup final defeat against Hearts.
Nevertheless, the 29-year-old, now on the books of Bury, remarkably gave Hibs a glowing recommendation.
He continued: “Tom came here during hard times and would be the first to acknowledge that he wasn’t at his fittest and he found it really hard. But he enjoyed it up here.
“It would have been easy for him to turn around and say ‘no, don’t go up there, it’s not worth it’. But he talked it up and the facilities have lived up to those expectations.”
While acknowledging he is playing “catch-up” in terms of fitness, Bartley could make his Hibernian debut against Dunfermline today.