Former nine-to-five worker DJ Campbell wants to become Yakult hero at Ipswich Town
DJ CAMPBELL promises Ipswich Town fans he will give his absolute all during his three-month loan spell because he has first-hand experience of how much football means to the average nine-to-five worker.
The 30-year-old may have started his career as a youth team player at QPR and Aston Villa, but when he was let go in his late-teens he had to start again from the bottom with a series of non-league clubs.
Having played for the likes of Chesham, Stevenage, Billericay and Yeading, the striker finally returned to the professional game with Brentford in 2005 and never looked back. Big money moves to Birmingham, Leicester, Blackpool and QPR followed, yet he never forgets how it all started.
“I’ve always said that I would never change the route I took in football,” said the softly-spoken, gold-toothed and tattooed front man.
“It’s humbling to play in non-league football, to earn �50 a week and work a nine-to-five job. I worked for Yakult, I worked for DHL – I’ve worked a normal life and I realise how hard it is. I’m so grateful to be a footballer.
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“I used to be a fan. I used to go and watch QPR play. To the fans it’s their life really so that’s why I try and give 120% every time I play because that’s the least you can do when they pay their hard-earned money.
“I will always give the fans of wherever I’m at my absolute all. First and foremost my mentality is play hard and give the fans the best of me, then hopefully the goals and assist come.”
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Campbell admits it was ‘dream move’ to return to his boyhood club in the summer of 2011 – but he admits he is unsure whether he will get a chance at Loftus Road following an injury-hit debut campaign which included just two league starts.
He said: “It was always in my mind to go back there one day, I was fortunate to get there, but for whatever reason it hasn’t worked out so far.
“I don’t know what the situation is with QPR if I’m being honest, whether they want me back in January or to be in the 25-man squad. I haven’t got a clue.
“There are rumours that they do but I haven’t actually spoken to the gaffer (Mark Hughes) about it and I just want to concentrate on getting fit and playing and doing my best for Ipswich really.”
With Andy Johnson looking to be ruled out for the season at QPR, manager Hughes has left open the door for Campbell’s return in January, saying: “Obviously DJ’s not played much for us but circumstances change very quickly in football and fortunes of players and clubs change very quickly. DJ needs to go and get some games, but you never say never in this game.”