Welcome to the final part of our three part chat with Cardiff legend Jay Bothroyd. If you missed parts one and two, click here and here.
What’s the best strike partnership you’ve ever had and why? – Michael Chopra
Ever had? Well, it’s got to be Craig Bellamy. For me, he was the ultimate professional. He was really easy to play with and he’s one of those partnerships I’ve had that I didn’t even have to call for the ball. It was kind of like a sixth sense. He helped improve my game a lot and I learned a lot from him. I mean, Chops was there, I had a good partnership with him as well and we scored loads of goals. Ross McCormack as well before Chops, especially his first season, he was amazing, but Craig Bellamy for me. His career just speaks for itself. We scored a lot of goals with me and Chops up front and I think that was a great partnership, but I think for me, from a personal point of view, I was learning and growing. Craig definitely made me do that.
Do you regret leaving City for QPR? – @jonnyirwin1989
If Cardiff had got to the Premier League, I wouldn’t have left Cardiff. I don’t regret it in that I wanted to play in the Premier League and test myself, but looking at it now, QPR at the time were going through a big transitional stage. A lot of managers and a lot of players. It was like a revolving door. It was difficult.
I would have loved to have stayed at Cardiff, but it just wasn’t to be. At QPR, it was a difficult period and when Neil Warnock was there I think it was a good club and things were moving in the right way.
Things started to go a bit pear shaped for us and it was a difficult time, but like I said, I don’t have any regrets, just lessons. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and think; ‘could I have done better here or could I have done better there?’ That’s the way I look at life and the way I look at football.
How did playing under Neil Warnock at QPR compare to Dave Jones at Cardiff? – @antonionash99
It’s different. They were different levels. When you saw QPR playing against us when I was at Cardiff in the Championship, they played a lot of attacking football, but in the Premier League, Neil Warnock had to set his team up in a different way, which was more counter-attacking.
When you’re a striker playing that way, it’s very difficult. I don’t think people really understand. In the Premier League, the striker is probably the hardest position on the pitch because you’re not going to get many chances and there’s a lot of pressure. You might not even get a chance in every game. Whereas when you’re playing in the Championship, especially as one of the top teams, you might get two or three chances per game.
So, it was totally different. I think Neil Warnock is a top manager, but I had my best times with Dave Jones, so it’s a difficult question to answer really.
VFTN – Cardiff fans absolutely love Neil Warnock. We’d like to know, what were your first impressions of him and what is a Neil Warnock dressing room like?
He called me when I was kind of out of contract and speaking to clubs. He said to meet at his house, so I met his wife and his dog. He’s a really pleasant man, but when he’s in the dressing room, I would call him a motivator. He gets the most out of his players. I wouldn’t say he’s the most attacking minded manager, but he’s very organised and in the dressing room, he’s fiery. Especially if you do something that he hasn’t told you to do. He’ll come down on you like a tonne of bricks. Then sometimes, you’ve had a bad game and he’ll come up to you and say; ‘I’m not going to play you the next game, but keep working hard and you’ll be back in the squad.’
He speaks to you and he’s a good man-manager. I think that’s why players play for him because he doesn’t give you the silent treatment after you’ve had a bad game. He’ll come up to you and say; ‘this is how I think you can improve, this is why I’m not playing you.’ I think he’s a good manager and like I said, when he first went to Cardiff, I said this is the manager that’s going to get Cardiff back up there.
What is Japan like? How do you find the culture, the food, the travelling and quality of football? – @jamiehiscocks
Playing in Japan is really good. The stadiums are amazing, the cities are really good and it’s a nice place. The weather in Japan though, you get all four seasons. The culture is obviously different too. It’s very respectful. You don’t see any arguments on the training field, any fights or anything like that, like in England and Wales. There’s structure in everything and you have to kind of do as they say. That’s the culture.
I think the quality of football is really good and there’s some really good teams out here. Some have competed in the Club World Cup against teams like Real Madrid.
I think the biggest thing that I have is my love of the game and I’ve been fortunate that I‘ve never had any big injuries. I’ve not had any operations on my knee or my ankles or anything like that. Some players have and that’s what shortened their careers. I take care of my body. I don’t eat meat or anything like that, so the Japanese diet is perfect for me.
Has playing in Asia changed your perspective on life and football? – Scott Salter
They have a saying that if a nail sticks out, it gets hammered back in. It’s taught me a lot of things. It’s calmed me down in certain respects. It’s also taught me to think before I speak and not be such a hot-head sometimes. I’m really enjoying it and I love being here. It’s going to be my fourth season this year and every year has been better than the last.
I need to keep improving though. I’m an old boy now, so I try and give some of the players my experience and try to give them some advice when they ask me. A lot of the Japanese players want to come and play in Europe and a lot more are coming.
Do you think you will retire in Japan? – @rhys91
I see myself retiring in Japan, but I don’t feel like I’m going to retire at the end of this year. While my body feels good and is doing what my mind wants me to, then I’ll continue playing. As long as I keep on performing, and I think I played 26 games out of 34 last year, definitely going to keep on playing, but I do see myself retiring out here.
VFTN – Do you have any plans for when you finally retire?
You’ve always got to plan ahead, so I’ve been planning businesses and what not, away from football. I’ve dedicated my life since I was young to football and I said this to my wife actually; I’m not entirely sure if I want to be involved in football once I finish it. I’m doing my coaching badges and everything just in case I want to, but I don’t know if I really want to yet.
I feel like, being a player is one thing, but being a manager is a whole different pressure. Even if you’re an assistant manager these days, if your manager gets sacked, you’ve got to live with it. That means you could be moving around the country and as much as I love the game, I’m not entirely sure I would want to be a manager. I like the idea of being a coach though, potentially for a youth team like Craig Bellamy. That’s more kind of appealing to me, so I can be more kind of steady at work because I want to spend time with my family.
With my career, I’ve done a lot of travelling, so I want to spend more time with my family now. We have a new son and he’s nearly a year and a half, so I want to spend as much time with them as possible now, but I do love football. I think when the day does come, when I’m not involved in football anymore, maybe that might change my mind and make me want to become a manager or a coach, but I haven’t made a decision yet.
If the chance ever came up, would you come back to Cardiff? – @youdley22
Would I come back to Cardiff? Yeah I probably would in some capacity! It’s a place that I had a love affair with and I’m always going to hold Cardiff City Football Club and the fans in my heart. I’ve got lots of memories, my son and wife do too. It’s a great place to be.
So that’s it – the end of our three part q&a with Mr Jay Bothroyd. We hope you enjoyed hearing tales of yesteryear as much as we did. Thanks again to Jay, who was such a pleasure to talk to and spoke so lovingly about his time in Cardiff. A real Bluebirds legend!