LIFE with the County has always been a family affair for new goalkeeper Glyn Garner – a player who is absolutely certain to be an instant hit with the Exiles faithful.

Because Garner isn’t just a local boy, born in Pontypool and raised in Cwmbran, he’s also the hometown hero who never forgot his roots, which for the Garner family means County all the way.

A third generation Newport fan, father Bill and late grandfather William took young Glyn to watch the Ironsiders throughout his childhood, the Wales international goalkeeper even turned out several times as a ballboy in the 1980s.

While most aspiring Welsh goalkeepers would grow up idolising Neville Southall, for Garner ‘Big Nev’ always came a distant second to his real hero, County stopper Mark Kendall. And after a Football League career spanning a decade, Garner is thrilled to be returning to the club of his dreams.

“It’s a pretty great feeling to be a Newport County player, it’s nice to play for your hometown club and County have always been my team, ever since I was a kid,” he said.

“My family are virtually all Newport County supporters, my dad Bill, my grandfather William, both my uncles, they are all County and supported them in Moreton and Gloucestershire when the unthinkable happened.

“They were always my team and as someone who wanted to be a goalkeeper, it was Mark Kendall for me, he was a real hero of mine, a really top class goalkeeper.

“I remember being a ballboy once behind his goal and he let in seven!

“I thought to myself ‘that won’t happen to me when I am in goal for County’ and now I have that chance… it’s amazing how things work out.”

Garner, ready to wind down his professional career despite several offers from League One and Two clubs, admits that happiness and family life were his key factors in making the move to Spytty Park.

“I’ve still got a lot to give I believe, I could have stayed at a higher level but the chance to come back to the area and to play for County, it was just too good an opportunity.

“I remember watching guys like Tommy Tynan and John Aldridge back in the day and it has always been an aim to play for County since.

“With them back in the Conference and Dean Holdsworth and Tim Harris so ambitious for the club, it was a case of perfect timing. The family are thrilled that we’re heading home.”

Garner is ready for a battle with Glyn Thompson, a quality goalkeeper well established at County.

“Not everyone can play, one of us will have to miss out and it’s up to both of us push each other to get the best out of one another,” he said.

“Whoever isn’t playing will be spurred on to impress the manager and whoever is playing is going to have to be at the top of their game to stay in the side.

“That’s the way it is at all top clubs and we’ll be no different.”