Charlton centre-back Michael Hector looked back with fondness on his loan spell at Aberdeen, ahead of Saturday’s pre-season fixture against the Scottish side and explained how it helped him become the leader he is now at the Addicks.
Hector spent the first half of the 2013/14 season on loan with the Dons and remains highly popular with the Aberdeen faithful ten years later.
“For my liking, it was too short. I wanted to play for the whole season, but it was out of my hands,” said Hector, whose loan deal was not extended by his parent club Reading when it expired in January 2014. “I look at back at it with great memories. For me, it was one of my most important loans for my career and the time I had there was fantastic.
“It’s a lovely club, a good family club, and I enjoyed every minute I was there.”
Hector unfortunately missed out on Aberdeen’s Scottish League Cup victory later that season but still made the trip up to Scotland for the final to witness their triumph in person.
“It was tough, I went in the changing room before the game to wish all the boys all the best,” Hector said. “It was a great day for the club, but personally I would have loved to be on the pitch and play a part, but it wasn’t to be.”
The 31-year-old played alongside current Aberdeen manager Barry Robson during his loan spell and stated that he follows the example Robson set as a more experienced player.
“He was a good guy, down to Earth, had a lot of time for the younger players. He helped me through my game, with what I needed to improve and was just really easy to talk to, really approachable.
“And that’s what I try and do now in my stage of my career with the young players, try and be as approachable as possible, let them in and let them get to know you as a person.”
Hector expressed his gratitude to Aberdeen for enabling him to develop as a footballer and was full of praise for former Dons manager Derek McInnes.
“I owe a lot to Derek McInnes for trusting me and for playing me when I was so young, centre-back is a tough position to play at such a young age,” he said. “The chats we had were so honest and for me looking back, I was very lucky to play for a manager like him.
“The time I had there was fantastic, and they were very good to my family…they looked after me really well.”
Hector said that he is looking forward to a catch-up with some familiar faces at full-time on Saturday afternoon, as the Addicks take on their Scottish Premiership opposition for final pre-season match.
Charlton host Aberdeen at The Valley at 1pm on Saturday.