Interview Conner Essem


Personal Details

Hemel Hempstead Town FC
Full Name:
Connor Essam
Date of Birth:
Place of birth:
Chatham, Kent
Centre Back
Shirt number:


Gillingham FC
2010-2011 (on loan)
Bishop’s Stortford FC
2011 (on loan)
Dover Athletic FC
2011 (on loan)
Bishop’s Stortford FC
2011-2012 (on loan)
Dartford FC
Luton Town FC
Crawley Town FC
2013 (on loan)
Dartford FC
Dover Athletic FC
Leyton Orient FC
2016 (on loan)
Dover Athletic FC
Eastleigh FC
2016 (on loan)
Woking FC
2017 (on loan)
Dover Athletic FC
Dover Athletic FC
2018-2019 (on loan)
Concord Rangers FC
Hemel Hempstead Town FC


Introduce yourself… (Who are you ?)

My names Connor Essam, I’m a 27-year-old playing for Hemel Hempstead in the Conference South, my career has ranged from League 1 to Conference South and I have recently gone part time to begin my career off the pitch as a Financial Adviser.

What are your specific qualities as a football player?

I am quite a traditional Centre back in the sense that I like to be aggressive and win the ball but I do think one of my best qualities is my reading of the game which should put me in good stead for the later years of my career.

You joined the youth of Gillingham FC in 2002. How did you get into the youth of Gillingham FC ? And who helped you the most?

I got scouted playing for my local Sunday side, Bredhurst Village, I was actually a Striker at the time! My Mum and Dad have both been a massive help, giving up hours of their time every week to make sure I was where I needed to be. In terms of once I was at Gillingham, Bryan Bull and Mark Patterson helped me the most, Bryan I was with from aged 10 to 16 and Mark took over from 16. Both of them were brilliant to me.

In March 2010, you signed your first professional football contract for Gillingham FC. How important was that moment for you ?

It was a dream come true to sign a pro contract at your local club but I knew it was only a title and it certainly did not mean a future in the game or that I would even get a chance at first team level. I was lucky enough to break into the team eventually thanks to hard work and the belief the manager at the time, Andy Hessenthaler had in me.

By Gillingham FC, you was loaned out to Bishop’s Stortford FC, Dover Athletic FC, Dartford FC and  Luton Town FC. How did you experience these periods?

I loved them. I learnt so much in those periods that really put me in good stead for the future. I had played a lot of reserve football for Gillingham but nothing quite prepares you for the real men’s game. I would recommend all young players to go out on loan, no matter what the level, it will benefit you as a footballer and as a person.

On 23 January 2013, you moved from Gillingham FC to Crawley Town FC. And you played there for one season. How was your time there ?

I fell out of favour at Gillingham shortly after signing a 3 year contract but got a move up a league to Crawley in League One. I really enjoyed it there, under Richie Barker it was a really exciting time with a lot of good young players. We were always seen as punching above our weight but all that did was motivate us and we ended up getting the clubs highest ever finish.

In June 2011, you signed for Dover Athletic FC, where you made 64 league appearances. Why did you leave Dover Athletic FC ?

I loved my time at Dover, I signed there because it was a time in my career where I needed to be playing week in week out. Shortly after I signed, I was made captain which was a great honour. I was very highly regarded there so it was a difficult decision to leave but the reason I left was the desire to play at the highest level possible and test myself. After leaving Dover, I joined Leyton Orient in League Two.

In total you have played at several football clubs. At which club did you learned the most?

I would probably say Gillingham because it was where I spent the most time. I didn’t turn into a Centre Back until around the age of 14/15 so it was a journey of learning the trade and I appreciate the time they put into me. Breaking into the first team at 19 is always going to be a steep learning curve but I really thrived upon it and look back at my time there with great memories, it is a shame the way it finished but that is football.

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever experienced in a match?

We had a game last season away to Truro, a 6 hour trip, which got abandoned with 10 minutes to go due to a member of the opposition breaking their arm (we were 1-0 up at the time). We had to go back on a Tuesday night, ended up winning 3-1, getting home at 5am and was in the office by 8am.

What are your targets for this season?

Although I am at a point where I have prioritized my career off the pitch, I still want to play as high as possible and win things. We are currently outside of the play off positions but our aim remains to be in the play offs by the end of the season. I am never one to settle for a mid-table finish and watch the season fizzle out. So far I have had a good season personally and managed to stay injury free so I would hope that continues for the final few months.



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