Every football fan dreams of playing for the team they support. And one man living that dream is Brandon Fleming – a lifelong Hull City fan with 45 senior Tigers appearances to his name.
“I joined Hull at the age of 10 and I’ve been there ever since,” Brandon began. “I’ve always supported them.
“When you’re aged 10 to about 13, all academy kids get free tickets to home games, so I was watching them in the Premier League.
“After I turned 14, I started as a ballboy for them when they were back in the Prem.”
Brandon made three appearances for Hull’s first team before completing his scholarship then added four Championship appearances in his first season.
“I joined their scholarship programme when I was 16 and made my first team debut against Doncaster in the EFL Cup.
“I played over an hour and it was a great experience playing for my boyhood club. It made me hungrier to secure my place in the squad,” Brandon explained
“The club means a lot to me. They’ve developed me not only as a player but also to be a good person. I’ve spent 13 years there now.”
In his five years as a professional footballer, Brandon has enjoyed loan spells at Bolton and Oxford - and he’s played on some big stages as a young player.
“The best stadium I’ve played at has to be West Ham’s London Stadium. Everyone knows it’s big, but when you’re there it really hits you.
“It was in the EFL Cup. I played against Sunderland in the first round but missed the next match against Leeds.
“I was with all the lads when the draw was done and we were buzzing when we drew West Ham away.
“It was a crazy experience playing at that stadium. The atmosphere was great and it’s obviously a huge place as I said.
“We lost 5-1, though. They put out a really strong team with people like [Sebastien] Haller, [Andriy] Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson, and I was marking Yarmolenko. He scored at least two, I think!”
Brandon had a slow start to the 2022/23 campaign after fracturing his foot a week before the end of pre-season.
He managed to make four Championship appearances for Hull before joining Oxford United on loan in January of this year.
“It was quite frustrating at the start of the season. I fractured my foot a week before the end of pre-season and was out until about November time. I then played a few games for Hull.
“I managed to get out on loan to Oxford and I really enjoyed my time there. It was a really good group of lads.
“Results-wise it wasn’t as successful on the pitch as I would have liked but it was still a great experience for me. I got to experience a different type of football.
"With the bad times – everyone is going to experience bad times in their career – I just think it’s important you come through the other end and learn from it. That is definitely what I did.”
Brandon was also able to enjoy his time away from work while at the U’s – as he picked up two new sports thanks to fellow Tigers loanee Tyler Smith.
“Tyler got me into badminton when we were at Oxford. I’m not bad but he’s way better than me!
“We also gave squash a go too. That was really tiring but a lot of fun and more of a level playing field as well!”
Deadline day moves are always hectic and it was no different for Brandon – with the 23-year-old training at Hull before driving three hours across the country to get the move done, train with Shrewsbury and get on the bus to Carlisle.
“I trained at Hull the day before deadline day and then got the call that the move was basically done.
“I set off after training and then came in on the morning of deadline day. I was straight into the dressing room and training as all the paperwork got sorted so I could play against Carlisle.
“Mal Benning was the first player I spoke to when I arrived. We spoke about the game we played against each other last season when I was at Oxford and he was at Port Vale.
With a busy month at Salop now under his belt, Brandon is focused on getting his head down and playing his best for the upcoming season.
“I’m really happy to be here,” he said. “I’ve not been here long but it's like a really good group.
“All the staff are great. It's a nice set-up and I’m just looking forward to the rest of the season now
“I’m just looking to be successful. All I want to do is play and win as many games as possible.
“I want to show what I can do because I know I’m a good player, I just need to show that this season.
“I’m tenacious. I like to get up and down. I’ve got a good delivery and I try to create chances.
“I’m aggressive and I like to think I’m quite attacking. I want to get balls into the box. I hope you’ll see all of that from me.
“I know a couple of lads at Hull who have been here. I’ve spoken to them and they’ve got nothing but good things to say about the place and the club.”
With his focus solely on completing a positive season at Shrewsbury, Brandon is hoping the 2023/24 campaign can be the one that sets him, Salop and Hull up positively for when he returns to Yorkshire.
“I’ve still got two years left on my deal at Hull,” the full-back concluded. “Hopefully we have a successful season here and hopefully Hull can push for the play-offs so we’re all in a good place when I go back at the end of the season.”