Stéphane Zubar joined us on podcast #9. He expresses his love for the club and the fans, his journey in football and life after football.
Ben Ashelford: Stéphane, how have you been keeping busy during the lockdown?
Stéphane Zubar: Don’t you worry my friend, my kids know how to keep me busy! It has been nice spending a bit of time with my wife and my children. We have been asked to stay at home, so we stay at home.
BA: You have gone down as a cult hero amongst the supporters. Just how much do you love them?
SZ: They know how much I love them. Every game I play for the club, I always try my best. I really appreciate them and they see how hard I try and how much I care. I think the most important thing when on the pitch is showing how much you care and I absolutely love this club. I love it.
BA: Have you got a favourite game in your time with the Terras?
SZ: Favourite game? It has to be the final game of the season against Farnborough to win the league. We went into it only one point in front and we did it. I remember that day and it was so windy and I hate playing in the wind, it makes things so hard. I remember the first half we played against the wind. We said that if we don’t concede in the first half, we win the game. When Yemi gave us the lead I remember having a tear in my eye because I was just so happy and Sam (Sam Sherring) looked at me as if to say “what are you doing man”. I was just so happy as we realised we would win the league. We won the league in front of our fans and I won it in front of my kids. It was a special day and a great achievement. Was I nervous? Yes, you have to be. It’s not that you are scared. You want to play well and you want to feel good at the end of it.
BA: Have you considered coaching when you are done?
SZ: Maybe not now. The way I see it, I’ve always wanted to do a real job if that makes sense. My sister has been doing that since the age of 18, she has always worked. I still had 3 years left on my contract after I finished football when I started my course to become an electrician, everyone thought I was mad you know. It is something I really enjoy. On coaching, maybe not now but who knows what can happen in 3 or 4 years time. Right now, I’m enjoying being a sparky and I think no matter what you do, you have to enjoy it. Do I see myself as a manager one day? Well, Mark Molesley has set the bar high. It is a tough job but who knows what the future holds.
BA: Are you planning on winding down at the end of this season? Or can we expect another year of Stéphane Zubar?
SZ: That is a tough question. I will be honest with you, with the lockdown, I have had time to think and we don’t know what’s going to happen with this season in terms of how it finishes. It’s a tricky one because when we get promoted the club could go full-time. That is something I could struggle with due to the major surgery on my knees. I wouldn’t be able to carry on with full-time football but I would love to play one more season. I want to go out on a high and finish off this job in getting this club back to where it deserves to be. I don’t want my last game for Weymouth to have already gone, I want to say goodbye to everyone and as I said go out on that high. No matter what I will still be around the club when I decide to stop playing. When this lockdown is over I will sit down with the management team.
BA: It feels a bit strange talking about the end of your career. Let’s talk about when you first broke through. You started off at Caen?
SZ: Yes when I was 16 I moved from Guadeloupe to move to Normandy in France. I was there for four years before I signed my first proper contract. I didn’t make the breakthrough to the first team at the time so I went on loan to a third division team in France and Belgium. I then signed for a team called FC Vaslui in Romania. I played in the Europa League for them which was pretty cool. Plymouth Argyle was the first team I moved to when arriving in England. I then went to AFC Bournemouth.
BA: What was the difference between French and English football? Was there a difference in style and tempo?
SZ: Yes definitely, definitely you know. I would say that in England it is quite a bit more physical. In France it’s a bit more tactical, you don’t seem to have to be as strong perhaps. Every country and every league is different though.
BA: I’ve always admired how passionate you are on the pitch. Sometimes you’ve even lost your temper. Does that mould you as the player you are?
SZ: I think so. I’m also a very bad loser and that doesn’t always help. I just love football and I want to win. I would say my wife, well the only time she can see me get angry is when I’m on the pitch and when we have lost. Because I’m a bad loser it is more noticed. My wife knows when I lose because I’m grumpy and she knows when I win because I have a big smile on my face. There have been times when I have been angry and I have been sent off and perhaps I should’ve thought of my team, they will need me for the next game. We are only human and we make these mistakes especially when I’m losing and angry.
BA: Who would win in an arm wrestle between you and Thommo?
SZ: That’s me. Easy, easy, easy! I’m strong and Thommo can’t do it. He’s strong but he’s not proper strong. I’m proper strong you know. It’s me, it’s definitely me, 100%. Maybe we can do a challenge to prove it?
BA: Who is the funniest character in them changing rooms?
SZ: Ohhhhhh Thommo! Definitely Thommo. The thing is he is so thick! He is just so funny. I can’t repeat the funniest thing he has done! All the rubbish that comes from his mouth, my word! Just on Thommo, you know he comes across as someone who is shy. He is another one that loves the club, he really does. He doesn’t always show it like others but he loves it. He won’t move to another club, he loves Weymouth! He has become a really good friend.
You can listen to Stéphane’s full interview again on our podcast. He talks more about his international career, life after football and the importance of loyalty.