Interview with Joe Cook - Weymouth FC

You’ve been at the club for over a month now. You must love it here!

It feels really good to be here. The changing room is very strong and there’s a great bunch of lads here. I get on really well with Bobby and the rest of the coaching staff, so I’m enjoying it.

You’re not the first to mention your strong relationship with the gaffer. What about him stands out compared to the other managers you’ve played under?

Bobby is really easy to approach and talk to. If there is ever an issue, he is always there to talk to.  He has a good balance of managing us, but also getting on with all of us as lads.

Calvin Brooks has also mentioned his desire to win. Is this something you’ve noticed?

That’s clear. When we prepare for a game, it doesn’t matter who we’re up against. He always believes we’re strong enough to beat them. That filters through to us and it gives us confidence going into every game.

What about the club was so appealing to you when you first came?

Well, it’s local which is a bonus, travel-wise. But, it was mainly after speaking to Bobby, who made me feel like I would be an important part of the team. That’s the main thing you want as a player. Reassurance that you will play as much as possible. Having struggled a bit with injuries this season, the promise that I would play was what I needed to hear. I’m thankful to Bobby and the club for giving me that opportunity.

Some of the other lads said that playing at the Bob Lucas Stadium was a big reason they came to this club. Was this important to you?

Yeah, definitely. I’d already played here a couple of times for the opposite team, and I’d always noticed I was up against a club that was huge and well-supported, compared to other National League South sides. I know there’s big teams in the league now, but we’re definitely up there, too. You can see that with the turnout we get on a weekly basis.

There seems to be a real understanding between you and the rest of the backline when you play. What do you think makes you click so well on the pitch with the rest of the team?

I just think we’ve got a good group of lads. That’s it really. Some changing rooms have cliques, but at Weymouth we’re all one big group where everyone gets along. I feel like we’re all pushing forward in the same direction. That has shown on the pitch, especially in the last few weeks. We’re definitely harder to beat now. Even when we lost at Tonbridge, we still played really well. Hopefully that can continue.

It seems like there’s this feeling that everyone is in this together.

Definitely. I know we’re near the bottom, but as a team we have the mentality of trying to win the next game and so on. We all have the confidence that we can move up the table. Now, it’s just about making sure we do it on the pitch.

I want to see how well you know your teammates. Who’s the biggest character in the changing room?

I’d have to say Calvin. He can have a laugh and a joke in training, but when it comes to Saturday he has that winning mentality going into games. He keeps the morale high during the week, and then on Saturday it’s like he goes ‘It’s work time.’

He’s mates with everyone in the changing room. You can tell he’s been at the club for a while.

You’re stranded on a desert island. Which player would you trust to help get you back to safety?

I’ll say Leo Hamblin. When we’ve played together on the left-hand side, I feel like he listens to me a lot, so on an island we’d work well together. There would be no arguing, just Leo doing what I say!

You get to choose two players for a Weymouth night out – no curfew. Who do you choose and why?

Calvin is definitely one of them, and I’d probably say Gerard Benfield as well. They’re both a good laugh. I had a poker night with Gez recently, and, after he had a few drinks, he was killing me with some of the stuff he was coming out with!

I want to ask you about yourself in more depth, how did you get into football?

I started playing football when I was about five-years-old, when my Dad would take me to the local teams. I didn’t really enjoy it at first, but, after he kept taking me, I started to get better and enjoy it more.

I then started to play in the academy when I was seven, at Bournemouth. I played there until the under-16s, when Sheffield Wednesday offered me a scholarship. I wasn’t offered a professional contract there, so I went straight into men’s football when I was 17. It was here when I realised how high the standard was compared to academy level.

It seems like you’ve had an interesting career so far. Who’s the best player you’ve ever played against?

There’s always one game that sticks out when I was at Sheffield Wednesday. We faced Chelsea in the FA Youth Cup around seven years ago. Their team was littered with players who have gone on to play at the highest level. They had Reece James and Mason Mount. They’re Champions League winners!

However, the best player on the pitch that day was Callum Hudson-Odoi. He was only about 15 or 16, but he was an absolute joke. It was crazy how well he could beat a man. It didn’t matter how tight of a space he was in. We hadn’t even heard of him at the time, but it surprised us how someone could play that well against players who were a couple of years older than him.

How do you prepare for a game? Any superstitions?

I like to keep the same routine going if I play well or win a match, so I’ve started to have a can of Red Bull before every game recently. I had one and I played well, so I’m keeping that going. I don’t know if it’s the Red Bull that’s making me play well, but I’ll carry on drinking it until I play badly!

Finally, how confident are the lads going into the next game?

We have to be very confident. We’ve only lost one match in our last six, so we are in good form. At the minute, we go into every game thinking we can win. Long may that continue.

Interview by
Jack Webb

Similar Posts