GARY Liggett got an immediate idea of the levels of support for Ballymena United before the ink was even dry on his contract!
After the striker was made available by Lisburn Distillery, he was bombarded with messages via social networking sites from Ballymena fans eager for him to throw his lot in with the Sky Blues.
“It was quite surreal,” reflects 25-year-old Liggett.
“As soon as the news broke, the number of Ballymena fans who were sending me Tweets and private messages on Twitter wanting me to join was phenomenal – and that was before I had even signed!
“It’s great to have that sort of support and it makes you want to do well and repay them with goals and performances.
“When I got the phone call from Tim McCann saying he was prepared to let me leave Distillery, it was a bit of shock for the first few hours but then I set my sights on getting a new club and I was waiting on Glenn, hoping that he would ring. When he did it was a matter of formalities.
“I grew up as a Glenavon supporter watching Glenn playing for them and he was one of my boyhood heroes and I’ve been lucky enough to have played alongside him and be coached by him at Distillery and now play under him as a manager at Ballymena.
“Even on my first night at training last week, there seemed to be a good buzz about the place. Glenn has done a good job since he came in and Ballymena seems to be a club on the up.
“When you sign for a club in the summer you probably don’t play your first match for a couple of months whereas moving in January, you’re straight into action but it’s still a game of football, the same as what you’ve been playing.
“It’s just a question of settling in and getting to know your team-mates as quickly as possible.
“It will take us time to get to know each other – I’ve never played with Shane Dolan before but I know there’s a lot expected of both him and me. Hopefully as the games go by we’ll start to form a stronger partnership and get among the goals.”
Liggett made his debut in Saturday’s nerve-jangling 2-1 Irish Cup win over Warrenpoint Town and admits he was relieved to get through.
“We got our goal and could maybe have scored a few in the first half but with a 1-0 scoreline anything can happen and in the second half we just didn’t come out at all.
“We stopped doing what we had been doing well in the first half and they seemed to gain more confidence and we were at sixes and sevens but luckily enough Alan Davidson came up with a wee bit of magic at the end to get us through.
“It was nice having a hand in both goals – I would have loved to have been on the scoresheet on my debut but it’s not about me, it was about making sure we got through.
“No matter what happens you can always improve. It was good to get the first game over more than anything.
“I just have to get a wee bit more confidence – I’ve been playing in a side which has been bottom of the league all season and that takes its toll on any player.
“Hopefully I can find the net early in my career here and hopefully push on from that,” added Gary.