ROVER IAIN IS STAR OF IN­DIA

Now hero Hume sets sights on Tran­mere sur­vival

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Di­pak Pa­tel

SWAP­PING the hys­te­ria of the in­au­gu­ral In­dian Pre­mier League with a gritty League Two rel­e­ga­tion dog-fight is per­haps not the bright­est of ca­reer moves.

But Iain Hume is back at Tran­mere al­most a decade af­ter leav­ing Pren­ton Park and hop­ing to be named a “hero” for the sec­ond time in less than a year by help­ing the club re­tain their Foot­ball League sta­tus.

The Canadian striker spent the best part of 2014 play­ing for David James’ Ker­ala Blasters and scored five goals on the way to the play-off fi­nal, where they were beaten by Atletico de Kolkata at a packed DY Patil Sta­dium in Mumbai.

Crowned

Hume’s ex­ploits saw him crowned ‘Hero of the League’, usurp­ing il­lus­tri­ous coun­ter­parts such as Alessan­dro Del Piero and David Trezeguet, but the 31-year-old re­turned to Eng­land last month to slightly less fan­fare.

And af­ter an un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence in front of swarms of scream­ing spec­ta­tors in Asia, his goal now is to help Rovers – the club he spent the first six years of his play­ing ca­reer with – and their long-suf­fer­ing fans avoid the dreaded drop to the Con­fer­ence.

“I have ex­pe­ri­enced both ends of the spec­trum,” said Hume, part of the Don­caster squad that won the League One ti­tle in 2013.

“The highs of be­ing pro­moted and the lows of be­ing rel­e­gated over the last 15 years, and I think that ex­pe­ri­ence will prove in­valu­able as the sea­son pro­gresses.

“Af­ter play­ing in Eng­land for the ma­jor­ity of my ca­reer it was a mas­sive step for me to go to In­dia, even at my age. The hard­est part about it was be­ing away from my fam­ily.

“It was an op­por­tu­nity that I’m ex­tremely happy I took, and I would def­i­nitely like to go back out there at some point in my ca­reer.

“The peo­ple out there are un­be­liev­able. There is so much love in that coun­try and it’s heart­warm­ing be­cause you are out there on your own and strangers treat you like you are a part of their fam­ily.

“It was a group of peo­ple that I was for­tu­nate to play with and the area I lived in, Kochi, love their foot­ball.

“The fans, in par­tic­u­lar, were in­cred­i­ble. The low­est at­ten­dance we had was 40,000 and we had up­wards of 75,000 in some games.

“That is one of the rea­sons they started this league be­cause they re­alised there was huge in­ter­est in foot­ball, and they wanted to get In­dia up on to the world stage.

“Stay­ing at home tends to ap­peal to most play­ers but if the of­fer comes along then you should give it se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion, do your re­search and find out, be­cause you may end up en­joy­ing it.”

Hume has signed a six-month deal and hopes to repli­cate the form that saw Le­ices­ter part with £500,000 to end his first spell with Tran­mere.

Manager Micky Adams and chair­man Mark Palios – the for­mer FA chief ex­ec­u­tive – were key to con­vinc­ing Hume to come ‘home’ to Birken­head, though the Ed­in­burgh-born star ad­mits he needed lit­tle arm-twist­ing.

“They added to the feel­ings I al­ready have about the club,” Hume said. “Ev­ery­thing they told me about the di­rec­tion of the club, their aims and ob­jec­tives, and how they planned to change things to ben­e­fit the club.

De­ci­sion

“The way they con­veyed their plans made me be­lieve this was the right club for me. It wasn’t a de­ci­sion I had to think too hard about in the end.

“The play­ers are start­ing to re­cover from the shock of rel­e­ga­tion and now be­lieve they are good enough to push their way up the league. I hope I can con­trib­ute.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

STAR MAN: Iain Hume curls a free-kick, dines with his team-mates, re­ceives his ‘Hero of the League’ tro­phy and, inset, gets fans’ ac­claim G-OLDEN DAYS: Iain Hume in ac­tion for Tran­mere in his first spell with the club

HAV­ING A BLAST: Iain Hume and David

James line up for Ker­ala Blasters

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