Jay Tabb Q&A
It’s been a busy time at Reading FC recently with the TSI Takeover, a few new signings and the games coming thick and fast. The Tilehurst End thought it was time to take a breather and catch up with midfielder Jay Tabb to find out his views on everything that has been happening, why he will be supporting England at Euro 2012 and what happened when Andy Griffin stole a vital piece of his grooming equipment…
How are you finding your run of games in the first-team?
I’ve been on the bench for a while but I’ve had four starts in a row now which is nice. We’ve had a couple of positive results and everything is going well so it is a good time to be in the team. But you’ve just got to take it as it comes as we have some good midfielders at the club and I’m sure when Leigertwood is fit he will be straight back in the team so I just have to enjoy my time in there and hopefully I can play well.
How do you approach not being a regular starter every week?
You can let yourself get agitated and keep knocking on the managers’ door and being unhappy but I tend to go down the road where I’ve done a job for Reading in the past, at the moment I’m not a regular because other players in my position are doing well. I think if I am not playing regularly it must mean that the team is doing well so I’ve got to be happy with that. I just look on the bright side of life, it is still a great job to do. I get paid to go to training every day and be involved with the squad. I like to think I will take my chance when it comes but if I am not playing then there are far worse ways to earn a living.
What have you made of the TSI takeover?
It happened overnight, I woke up for the game against Hull and there were people texting me asking what is going on. It is happening at a lot of clubs across the country, and the latest one is Reading so it will be interesting to see what happens. The first new signing, Jason Roberts, did well on his debut against Bristol City and scored the winner. There is an expectation arriving at the club as well and it is good to have that added pressure on.
What do you make of the new signings?
They both had a positive impact against Bristol City, that’s for sure. When Tommy came on he did well and Jason had a good game too so you can’t ask for much more than that really. I think the more they settle in the better they will do. I’m sure there may be one or two more coming in before the window closes. It’s nice to have that backing there, knowing the manager can go out and strengthen the squad.
What type of player would you like the club to sign?
It’s got to be someone who fits in with the Reading way and someone who can gel with the lads as well. No big-time Charlies, just a good honest pro really. We have a good squad as it is so it would take someone pretty special to add to that.
How would you describe the atmosphere within the squad?
It’s very good, the best thing is that they’re all nice lads, everyone gets on. There are no big-time Charlies and everyone knows what we want to achieve. When we lose it hurts and we look into why it happened. That is a good sign, we don’t just take it on the chin, we want to improve and that is where we have done well this season. When we have done well we have bounced back and won the next week. The morale is good, it is a very good atmosphere to work in.
Who are the jokers at the club?
Noel Hunt and Andy Griffin are big jokers, they’re always up to something. Jem Karacan as well. We all have good banter together and bounce off each other. Because I have longer hair I keep a hairdryer in my box at training and I always blow dry my hair after showering. The other day Andy Griffin thought it would be good to hide it! He hasn’t owned up to it yet but I know it was him. I had to leave the training ground with damp hair and it went all curly which I wasn’t happy with. I found it the next day but I know it was Andy Griffin so I will be looking to get one back on him.
Who did you support growing up?
I was a big Chelsea fan. I used to go to Stamford Bridge when it was the old Shed End and watch people like Dennis Wise and Gianfranco Zola. I wouldn’t say I’m a Chelsea fan at all anymore though, it’s a different club to when I was younger and supported them. It’s nice to see them doing well as they are local to me but I don’t really support anyone now.
Who was your footballing hero?
I had three, Gazza, Dennis Wise and Gianfranco Zola were my favourites.
Did you always want to be a footballer?
As long as I can remember that’s all I wanted to be, when I was a kid that was all I had in my mind. Now it is a job and there is a lot of pressure whereas when you’re a kid you just play for fun and the love of football but it was all I wanted to do, and be like Dennis Wise.
Have you always been a midfielder?
I haven’t, when I was really young I played in goal as I was on Crystal Palace’s books and I didn’t want to get injured but I still wanted to play with my mates on a Saturday. I played as a striker for Ireland Under 21s, I’ve played left-back, right-back, everywhere in midfield. In fact the only place I haven’t played as a professional is in goal or at centre-back!
If you could play alongside any midfielder who would it be?
At the moment I would say Steven Gerrard, he is probably one of the best all-round midfielders in the world. I’d say Dennis Wise as well, he was my hero growing up so if I could have played the game with him that would have been nice.
What’s the best game you have been involved in?
There’s been a few, the win at Goodison Park last year in the FA Cup was a real good one, it’s a really tough place to go. Also I won at Old Trafford with Coventry in the League Cup and then the play-offs last year was probably the biggest game I have been involved in when you look at what was at stake.
What about the best goal you have scored?
I scored a cracker with my right foot for Brentford against Port Vale from about 25 yards out, I curled it across my body and it flew into the top corner.
What has been your best moment?
I would say making my debut. A lot of kids set out to be professional footballers and a lot make it into youth team level but actually making it as a professional and playing a first-team game is something a lot of kids dream of so to actually make my debut was a big honour and probably the highlight so far.
What has been the best stadium you have played in?
Old Trafford wins that. St James’ Park is really nice as well but Old Trafford for what it is. It is the Theatre of Dreams and to win there as well made it extra special so that has got to be the best ground.
Do you play any other sports apart from football?
Yeah loads. I’m massively into my golf, that is a big passion of mine. Some people even say I am addicted to it because I play so much. I’m a big fan of rugby as well so I’m looking forward to the Six Nations. I like my horse racing too, I don’t do it but I like watching it and pretty much all sports. I don’t like F1, but outside football I would choose golf as my favourite.
Who will you cheer on at Euro 2012 and the Six Nations?
I have an Irish passport and I played for their Under 21s but I was born in England and a lot of my family are English. If it came to supporting a team I would support Ireland at the Euros but England in the rugby. It’s a weird one really.
It’s the last match of the season and a win means automatic promotion, what song would you listen to before the match?
Hard to Beat by Hard-Fi.
Can you have a few more shots on goal soon?
In the last few games I have tried to have a shot or two, I had one good shot blocked against Watford that I thought was going in. I will try to shoot more, if the ball falls to me on the edge of the box I will be pulling the trigger, that’s for sure.
How do you manage to jump so high?
I think it is down to timing, and people don’t think I will win too many headers so they get caught out. When I see a good leap I take it and some I win, some I lose.
What’s the latest news on your new racehorse?
Colbrooke ran at Cheltenham last Saturday in a Grade Two. It was a bit too hot for him, he came fifth out of six but he’s only a four-year-old juvenile and he has had an amazing first season. He’s had eight starts, he has had a fifth, two fourths, a third, two seconds and two first places so for a four-year-old he has done really well. I think he may get entered into a race at the Cheltenham Festival and also at Punchestown in May. He’s more of a steady kind of stamina horse really, he hasn’t got that extra yard of pace to win over a shorter distance but all the jockey’s that have ridden him have said he is a lovely horse and they think the extra trip will help him out. He’s exceeded expectations already and I think he is probably going to do better when he steps up and goes a bit further.
What hobbies do you have outside of football?
I play the piano for a bit of fun which is totally different to sport. I like going to gigs and watching live music as well.
Have you considered taking up a musical career after you’ve hung up your boots?
(Laughs) No, No, I haven’t got anywhere near enough talent to do that. I like playing the piano and having a bit of fun but I could never take it up as a career.
What artists or styles of music do you enjoy the most?
I like indie music, I went to see The Maccabees recently. I like Bloc Party, Kings of Leon and any stuff like that. I like a bit of classical too, I’ve been to a few classical and piano concerts in London. I have a varied taste.
Do you prefer red or blue Bounty’s?
I’ve only had the blue one, is the red one dark chocolate? I think it has to be the blue one!
Will there ever be a boy born who can swim faster than a shark?
The Tilehurst End would like to thank Jay Tabb and Reading FC for taking part in this Q&A.