Free man David Pipe looks to the future
NEWPORT County AFC captain David Pipe is finally a free man and he intends to celebrate with victory over his former club.
The restrictive conditions imposed on the County skipper as part of his release from prison ended this week and he’s looking forward to a bright future with the Exiles, starting with three points against Bristol Rovers.
In June 2010 he was jailed for 38 months for fracturing the skull of another man in an unprovoked attack in Bristol in September 2009.
Pipe, who was a Rovers player at the time, smashed a champagne bottle over the man’s skull.
Released early on licence, he signed for County in September 2011 and led the Exiles to the FA Trophy final at Wembley in 2012 and promotion via the play-off final at the same venue twelve months later.
Now he wants to put the past behind him and enjoy facing his old friends from across the Severn Bridge.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “It will be an emotional one for me for lots of different reasons and it’s a massive coincidence that the moment that I’m a free man I’m up against the team where I was when it all happened.
“I’d like to think I’ve got a very good bond with their fans and a lot of people still at the club so I can’t wait.”
During his time at County Pipe has missed several matches due to the conditions of his licence, including the FA Trophy exit at Welling United last November and the friendly in Germany against Carl Zeiss Jena this summer.
“Wednesday at midnight it was officially over,” he said. “I’ve done what I had to do and I think I did it in the right way.
“I haven’t put a foot wrong in that period. I learned from my mistakes, which I held my hands up for, and it is onwards and upwards now.
“One of the stipulations was that I wasn’t allowed to leave the country, which meant I missed the Jena game” he explained. “We tried to address it, telling them that it was work related but the answer was no.
“That was frustrating at the time but it’s all done now, not forgotten but over with and I’m looking to the future.”
And the 29-year-old from Caerphilly is anticipating a thrilling atmosphere against the Exiles’ nearest neighbours in League Two.
“There will be a bit of extra spice against Rovers and 6,000 people at Rodney Parade feels like 12,000,” he said.
“The fans are so close to the pitch and the atmosphere is white hot, which is the way I like it and hopefully we can rise to the occasion.”
At right wing-back Pipe should be in direct opposition to the Pirates’ exciting Newport-born talent Ellis Harrison.
“I’ve seen Ellis play a few times and he looks like a talent,” said Pipe. “I know him off the pitch with him being a Newport lad but I won’t be too nice to him on the pitch!”