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WellRed meets: Joe Bryan

It’s been five years since Joe Bryan graduated from the Bristol City Academy and burst on to the first-team scene.

Nowadays, the Bristolian is regularly being labelled one of the best left-backs in the Sky Bet Championship, but how far can he go… and how far can his boyhood club go this season?

Here's a preview from the next WellRed programme, in which Joe Bryan discusses his childhood and the Academy.

You’re a local lad, what was life like growing up?
I grew up just outside Bristol, near the airport, and I was lucky enough to have a big family home with grass to run around in. I didn’t watch City a lot as a kid. I went now and again but most Saturdays I was at home kicking a football around. My dad and brothers got me into football. They played and loved it, so it was natural that I would get into it.

Was it your childhood dream to become a footballer?
I say this to everyone but I never really clocked it until I was 13 or 14 that I could do this as my job. I just did it because I enjoyed it but once I realised I could do it full time, I got my head down and wanted to make it happen. People ask what I would have done otherwise but I don’t have a clue. As soon as I had to think about a career I knew I wanted to be a footballer and not think about anything else. I was good at Spanish in secondary school and I came out with good results because I worked hard but not because I was really clever. I just made sure I did alright.

What do you remember about the club and Ashton Gate when you came here?
I remember one time watching a game against Colchester United and a stretcher was dropped as somebody was being taken off the pitch. My mate’s grandad took me to Port Vale too and I remember thinking ‘this is cool’. I just remember sitting there waiting for the commentary to start because when you’re young you don’t realise how it all works!

What do you remember of your first appearance for the first team?
Well I was 18 at the time. I joined the Academy when I was eight and it was ten years later that I played against Leicester City at Ashton Gate. I think I did alright, although I didn’t play for the rest of the season. We won (3-2) but still, my next appearance came in the following campaign.

Having gone through the Academy route, are there any players you still keep in touch with?
I see some of the old lads now and again and we’ll say hello and we message each other too. I still keep in touch with George Rigg, who plays at Bath City, along with lots of ex-Academy players. He’s a really nice guy. We had a lot of players go through with us who were probably better but they just didn’t make it for whatever reason. But Riggy is the one I keep most in contact with.

Read the full interview in the Bristol City v Cardiff City WellRed programme, out on Saturday, November 4th. Only £3.

Buy your Cardiff tickets here