Dale Eve says he is determined to “make up for lost time” after joining non-League side Spennymoor Town and insists he has grown up since his previous spell in England.
The Bermuda goalkeeper signed for Vanarama National League North side Spennymoor until the end of the season on Tuesday, bringing an end to a frustrating few years in the footballing wilderness for the 25-year-old.
Eve was once considered a top prospect by former Premier League side Stoke City and had brief spells with Forest Green Rovers and Ilkeston before finding himself back in Bermuda turning out for Robin Hood.
He admits he had an “awful attitude” during his former stint in England but believes all of the setbacks he has endured, including those of his own making, have only served to make him stronger and more single-minded in his approach to the game.
“It’s definitely time to make up for lost time and seize this opportunity,” Eve said. “I’ve got a short window to do a lot in; [Spennymoor] was the right club at the right time.
“I definitely feel like I have a point to prove, not so much to others but myself. I let myself down at clubs here in the past, so I feel like I need to make it up to myself for what happened before.
“I’ve got experience over here, but it has been hard in the past few years to show that experience when you didn’t play loads. At Stoke and Forest Green, I didn’t feel I got enough minutes but, in all honesty, I had an awful attitude.
“My life was hectic at the time and it was my fault. However, it needed to happen because it was an eye opener when I came back to Bermuda and it forced me to shift my mentality. I definitely made me mature and so in a way that time and the setbacks were all worthwhile.”
Eve has spent the past few months pursuing a professional contract in England and had trials at several clubs, including Bolton Wanderers in Sky Bet League One, Mansfield Town in League Two, as well as non-league outfits Hartlepool and Alfreton Town.
Although there was plenty of interest in him from those teams, Eve admits he was running out of time to impress before the end of the season and feels Spennymoor will offer him the best chance of first-team football.
“My agent wanted to find the best deal for me at this time and where I’d get the best opportunity to show what I can do immediately,” said Eve, who earned plaudits for his superb performances for Bermuda in the Concacaf Gold Cup and Nations League last year.
“I came to Spennymoor about three weeks ago, had a few training sessions and the manager [Jason Ainsley] was obviously happy with what he saw and wanted to sign me.
“However, because there was only three months left of the season I think they was some hesitation but the manager talked the chairman round to offer me a deal.
“We’ve kept relationships with all the clubs we spoke to at higher levels so things might happen at a later date.
“As a goalkeeper it isn’t necessarily about being at the best club possible because they might not need me as much.
“I feel it can be better and more beneficial to go somewhere that needs me and I can play games from the off and have the chance to impress.
“We’ve only got ten games or so left this season so it was a case of getting into action and Spennymoor have already mentioned about the possibility of staying on next season so we’ll see, it just worked out well.
“Obviously, I’d love to be playing in the Championship in the next three or four years, but right now I just want to play games and show what I can do.”
Eve joins several of his Bermuda team-mates plying their trade at the non-League level and said he has been inspired by the success of Justin Donawa at Darlington and Milan Butterfield at Kidderminster Harriers.
“It gave me a real reminder that there are opportunities and that the past is the past, what happened then is gone,” he said.
“It’s great for Bermuda and it shows all players at home that can go away and play at a higher level.
“Hopefully all of the guys anywhere abroad can be an inspiration that they can pursue opportunities and achieve. It’s not just a game, it’s a real lifestyle change and can really benefit themselves and their families.”