It’s Jay Bothroyd week at View From The Ninian – we hope that you’re enjoying reminiscing about one of City’s modern greats.
This is part two of our interview with the England international. If you missed part one, you can check it out here.
What are the games that stand out to you the most from your time at Cardiff? – @georgecamron
When we battered Leeds away. That was a great game. That was a great game to play in, because I remember before we were going there, their fans were giving us stick and they were on a good run. Becchio was scoring goals and they weren’t really conceding that many goals. Obviously, when you’re playing Leeds, you’re going to their ground and it’s always packed. They had a good side, but it was just one of those games where everything seemed to just fall into place. We had possession, we knocked it around, we scored goals and you know, it was just a very good game to be involved in. To beat them away, it was that much nicer to do it in their in stadium.
Is this Cardiff side better than the one you played in? – @tomjones1037
No. I mean don’t get me wrong, I think Neil Warnock’s doing a great job with what he has. I do believe in Warnock and I said when he first went there that he’s going to get this club back because he’s that type of manager. I like him and I’m sure the players like him as well. He’s very good at his man-management, but I don’t think this team is better than our team. There was a point where we had Aaron Ramsey, Craig Bellamy, myself, Chops, Ross McCormack, Steve McPhail, Chris Burke, a really good team.
I mean, that team there, it’s strange to even think about it, but I’m surprised we didn’t get automatic promotion with that team. I don’t know, it’s weird, but that’s just football. What can you do about it? There are different eras and different times, teams are better or worse and I think at that time, the Championship was also a little bit better than it is now.
What was worse? My finishing, or Ian the kitman’s diet?! – Kevin McNaughton
Probably your finishing Kev! No, to be fair, his diet was terrible. It was just terrible! He’s a lovely guy, but he was always trying to lose weight and every pre-season he was on about “I’m going to lose weight this year” and to be fair, he used to do well in pre-season, but as soon as we got back to Cardiff, it would go tits up again! Kev’s finishing really was poor though, we used to do finishing at the end of training and he was always at the bus.
What’s your biggest regret, if any, from your time at Cardiff? – @dionrhys_
I don’t look at life in terms of regrets, I look at things as lessons and I think you learn from bad times and you learn from good times. I had a great time at Cardiff, it was probably the best time at my career. I really enjoyed the football and I really enjoyed the city. The fans were great and I got on with the players.
We were a really strong squad and we went out together. I wouldn’t say there’s any regrets. I would’ve liked to play for Cardiff in the Premier League, but I can’t really say it as a regret, it’s just one of them unfortunate things that didn’t happen for me, that I would’ve loved to have been a part of.
Do you think the work ethic needed to become big in the game has changed since you were at Cardiff? – @kingetheridge1
Craig Bellamy was very good for me when he came to the club because even though I looked at myself as a professional and I trained hard every day, first in and one of the last out, when he came to the club, I saw a whole different kind of work ethic. He brought his own man in, he did his own exercises, he went to the gym a lot, did his own work and trained his own way. For me, Craig is someone I’ve always looked up to. He’s had a great career, he was a great professional and some people don’t and didn’t like his attitude, but I loved it.
I loved the fact that he was flash, not flashy. Craig was always someone I looked to. When I see the way he trained, the way he recovered, I didn’t start having recovery drinks until I saw him having one. I copied what he was doing. I think the work ethic when he came, a lot of people did kind of buy into that. That was good for the club. Chops’ work ethic was also spot on. Every time he would get a chance to go back to Newcastle, he would go. So where others on their day off would do a bit of recovery, his first thought was, ‘if I have anytime off and I can get back to Newcastle, I’m going to go.’
VFTN – You mentioned on Twitter recently, in light of the current Craig Bellamy situation, that you think that the current generation of footballers are too soft. Can you explain what you mean when you say that?
I just want to say that this comment has nothing to do with what’s happened with Craig as I’m not sure what happened, so if the families were offended by what I said, it was nothing to do with that situation.
I just think, when you watch back what happened at Manchester United, I think it’s mainly that and I just feel like when I was growing up, when I was at Arsenal, you playing training games and if you lose, centre-halves intimidated you and you had to be thick-skinned.
The manager will say certain things to you and I had some tough managers in my time. Gordon Strachan was very tough and he kind of let the senior players handle the dressing room. People like Paul Williams, and Richard Straw, these kind of players. They were tough and it made you have thick skin.
I’ve spoken to some ex-professionals that I’ve played with and they kind of agree with me, but I think that’s just the way football is now and I don’t think it’s going to change. We live in a different society and it’s just different now. I used to clean players boots and if they weren’t clean, they used to just throw them back at you and they’d tell you to do them again.
They used to treat us like we were beneath them because they were in the first team and we were the youth team, but that helped us want to be in the first team. I just think football’s just changed a lot since I was growing up.
VFTN – Was playing for England the highlight of your career thus far?
Yeah, of course! I mean, it has to be. Making your England debut, I think it would be the highlight of most footballer’s careers, unless they’ve won a major competition. To think that, like I said, from where I was with no squad number at Wolves, the manager completely disrespecting and disliking me, for whatever reason I don’t know, and then three years later play for the national team just shows you how good the team we had at Cardiff. The type of football we played, the coaches, the squad. I got to prove Mick McCarthy wrong. How a player can be surplus to requirements at Wolves and then three years later be playing for England.
It’s ridiculous, but that’s football. Chops had a bet with me as well and he had to pay up, which he was fuming about! It was great and I always thank my teammates, Dave Jones and the coaches because they were the ones that helped me achieve that.
VFTN – Did anything change after playing for England? Was returning to Cardiff and the Championship a bit of a comedown?
Obviously, the standard is different, that goes without saying, but for me as a person? No. I mean, I think it was difficult for me at the time because I was approaching the end of the season and I was going to be out of contract. I had just made my England debut and there were teams calling me all the time and managers had my number. I don’t know how, but they were calling me and I just kept saying the same thing, which was that I just wanted to concentrate on my football until the end of the year and I wanted to talk with the club.
To be honest, I got pissed off with Cardiff because I got called in by Gethin Jenkins one day and he was like; ‘we want you to sign the contract now and if you don’t, we’re going to sell you in the January transfer window.’ He was trying to sell me and I was like ‘listen, I don’t want to go, I want to stay until the end of the season.’
As much as I loved being at Cardiff, everyone’s dream is to play in the Premier League. I don’t know how Cardiff would have valued me if I had have signed a new deal, but I just wanted to concentrate on my football and see what happened. We still had a chance of getting to the Premier League ourselves. First and foremost, I wanted to play for Cardiff in the Premier League, but if that didn’t happen, I still wanted to play in the Premier League, but they tried to sell me and that kind of rubbed me up the wrong way.
I didn’t like that, because I really liked the Chairman and I was pretty close with him and his son used to come and see me in London. I just wanted to play my football, enjoy it and make a decision at the end of the year. I think most people would agree with me that there’s nothing wrong with that. That was the only thing that rubbed me up the wrong way when I came back and I didn’t speak to him again because I felt like he was trying to push me in to a corner and that kind of upset me.
It didn’t end in a good way because we didn’t get promotion and I think that was the main thing. Apart from that, it was great. I loved the guys and I loved it when Cardiff got promotion eventually. It was great and I love that Cardiff are in the Premier League now. I always watch the games, always keep an eye out and I think, for the resources that Neil Warnock and the owners have got, at the moment, the boys are doing a great job. If we can keep getting results at home and a few away from home, then that’s a win.
We hope you enjoyed part two of our exclusive chat with former Cardiff striker Jay Bothroyd. Thanks again to Jay for taking the time to chat with us.