Mercurial. Enigmatic. Jay Bothroyd was just different. Something special. Pure technique, but a complex character. There was a reason that he ended up at Cardiff when we was supposed to be in the prime of his career.
Primed for big things, Bothroyd led a pretty nomadic existence. He had already passed through seven clubs before rocking up at Cardiff, but there he found a perfect storm of conditions that allowed him to finally fulfil his undoubted potential.
Dave Jones was adept at reviving the career of wayward players and Bothroyd proved a handful. Jones would often be found bellowing at his latest project to get of his arse, work harder and just generally do more. It proved a mutually beneficial relationship.
Bothroyd was a regular from the off, recording 12 goals and five assists over 40 starts in his first year. He also hit it off in a big way with fellow new arrival Ross McCormack, who plundered 24 goals. Bothroyd played more (48 starts), scored more (13 goals) and provided a remarkable 14 assists in his sophomore year, as he continued to gel with both Michael Chopra and Craig Bellamy.
His third and final year was his best in front of goal with 20 for the season and it proved a point of no return. Called up for the England squad, his head was turned at the worst possible time and he left as a free agent the following summer. Bothroyd has confirmed to VFTN (more of that later) that he would have stayed had Cardiff gone up in the play-offs, but that was never put to the test, after a limp end to his final campaign.
Over the course of three seasons, he started 129 games and scored 45 goals. Not a bad return for their reported £350,000 investment. Bothroyd departed for QPR, Neil Warnock and the bright lights of the Premier League, but he was never quite as good again.
Bothroyd eventually headed for Thailand and then Japan, where he still resides, averaging a goal every other game at Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo at the ripe old age of 36. He’s still in great shape and was in great spirits when VFTN caught up with him recently for a bumper, three-part interview.
Covering his time at Cardiff in depth, we also got the chance to ask Bothroyd some of your questions and he also talks in depth about representing his country while still plying his trade in the second tier. It’s always great to speak to one of the greats, so we hope you enjoy it.