A year ago Robert Garrett looked at the space in his Belfast home that he’d reserved for medals and was determined to start filling it.
Like the rest of the players that David Jeffrey signed in the summer of 2008 and during the January transfer window the following year, Garrett’s first season at the Blues ended in bitter disappointment, with the team failing to lift any silverware.
Now that the Linfield midfielder has had a taste for success, his desire to win is insatiable.
So much so that he wants to leave the Blues’ rivals empty handed come the end of the season, by taking all four trophies to the Windsor Park trophy cabinet.
And as Linfield kick-off the defence of their league crown at home to Ballymena United this afternoon, the warning that the 22-year-old former Stoke City apprentice is sending out is that the reigning champions are going to be even better this time around, after they added the Irish Cup to their title triumph at the end of last season.
“I can’t wait for the season to get going after winning the double last season,” said Garrett.
“I’ve got my first medals as a Linfield player and now I want to go out and win more. A lot of the players in the squad, including myself, hadn’t won anything before last season. Now that we’ve all got a league medal we want to go out and not only do it again, but also build on what we did last year.
“We’ll be going out to win everything. All four trophies has to be our target. Last season’s success has made me even hungrier to win more.”
It was Garrett’s goal in a 1-0 victory against Cliftonville at the end of April that clinched the title for the Blues.
And not only did he feel like a champion, being the man responsible for sparking the title celebrations also gave him a real buzz.
He knows from the likes of Noel Bailie and William Murphy, who have won the league over and over again as Linfield players, that the feeling doesn’t diminish as the number of titles mounts up.
“I still remember the feeling and it’s one that I want to experience again,” said Garrett. “We lost the league in my first season, when we dropped points in the last few matches and it was a disgusting feeling and one I never want to have again. Instead I want the feeling that came with winning the league because it was a great one.”
The challenge is still there for the current group of Linfield players to emulate their predecessors, who only a few years ago won the Grand Slam in 2006, followed by the double in the two succeeding seasons.
There is a collection of confident young men in the home dressing room at Windsor Park though, with every one of them carrying a great deal of self-belief, but it’s not confidence that borders on arrogance.
“We’re a better team now because we’ve all done it. We’ve all got medals now,” he said.
“We know what being at Linfield is about. There is a lot of pressure that comes with playing for the club and we all know about that now whereas we maybe weren’t fully aware of it a couple of years ago.
“We can deal with it now. A couple of years ago it was a new squad and we’ve now gelled together very well.”
And Garrett himself is a better player too, having collected two more Northern Ireland caps in the summer.
“I hope I can be a better player because I didn’t have a very good start to last season,” he said.
“I don’t want to lose my place, because I might not get it back.”