Rehman Exclusive: Promised First Team Football
Blackpool Vital speak to Zesh Rehman, after the Pakistan international rejoined QPR following his loan move at Bloomfield Road.
Zesh, obviously your loan move was used as part of the Kaspars Gorkss transfer - did you have much of a say about your future?
I went to Blackpool as part of the deal but had already spoken to Simon Grayson before the whole transfer saga. I decided to join Blackpool ahead of two other championship clubs and one SPL club in the summer as I was told by the manager I would play regular first team football.
Was it frustrating not being picked for the majority of your spell here, especially with your Premiership experience?
For whatever reason I did not get the opportunity to show the fans what I could do, which was very disappointing. It was frustrating watching and not really getting a chance against teams that I have played against in the past, and at stadiums I have played, at such as Vicarage Road, St Andrews, Ninian Park, St Marys, Turf Moor, Carrow Road etc and been on a winning side either with Fulham in the Premiership or QPR in the Championship.
In the past, 'Pool fans have been in trouble for racist chanting - was this a problem when joining The Seasiders, and how did you find the supporters?
I found the supporters great whenever I played, even when the team lost the supporters would clap the side off and continue to bang the drums - that does not happen at many clubs. Taking into consideration pool fans have been in trouble for racist chanting in the past I did not experience any racist chanting/behaviour.
Some of the loan players had been accused by fans of lacking effort in some fixtures this season - is this an opinion you agree with, and do you think this is inevitable when a large proportion of the team are playing for futures elsewhere?
I don't think any player, whether he is signed or on loan could be accused of lacking effort because if players are playing for their futures elsewhere then they will give 100% and that will benefit the club. The likes of Steve Kabba, Alan Gow and Liam Dickinson all gave their maximum to score goals, whether it was to get a move does not matter as it benefited Blackpool.
Do you believe Blackpool have the resources to maintain their Championship status for years to come? Will Squires Gate training ground do in the long run and is it a running joke among players?
I think Blackpool can stay in the championship as the team spirit is excellent and they are a great bunch of lad, the like of Rob Edwards, Keith Southern, Shaun Barker, Ian Evatt and Ben Burgess to name a few are great for the club both on and off the pitch. With the budget I think it will be a challenge for the club to stay established in the division over say the next five years but with the team spirit at the club I think the players can do it. People like the Club secretary Matt Williams do a lot of good work behind the scenes to keep everything moving.
I think the training ground has some work to be done on it and would benefit from some investment. Training grounds are a vital part of a teams' preparation for games as most of the work is done there and most of the time is spent there so it's important to have all the right facilities and equipment to help the players reach their full potential on a match day. It's also the windiest training ground I have ever trained at with the airport being right next to it!
What was the general consensus of the players when Simon Grayson jumped ship to Leeds United, and who would you like to see take the managerial hot seat at Bloomfield Road, if Karl Oyston chose not to promote from within?
I do not know what the players reactions were when Simon Grayson left to join Leeds as I had already returned to QPR. I hope he does well there and is a success. I have seen various bits and pieces in the press linking Tony Parkes, Paul Simpson, John Hughes (Falkirk) etc with the managers job but think it should be some one who knows how to get the best out of players.
Do you feel that you have an extra 'burden' of having to prove yourself, with there being so few British Asians playing pro-football, and have you found any obstacles in your way to a successful career in the game?
Being a British Asian in the game has come with its challenges - I have grown up hearing stereotypes such as scared of the weather, wrong diet, not strong enough, the more I heard them the more determined I was to prove people wrong and become a professional footballer. I have managed to clock up over 100 games, predominantly at Championship and Premiership level so hopefully that will inspire the next generation to believe its possible to also break down the negative generalisations. I don`t see it as a burden but it would be great to be looked at as a footballer only.
Tony Parkes has apparently said he was contacting the clubs about getting loan players back, you were quoted as saying how you were glad to get away from all the hustle and bustle of London, and that you really liked it in Blackpool; would you consider coming back?
I would never say never in football and if in the future the opportunity came to play for Blackpool I would not rule anything out in this game.
At the moment I am back at QPR and have spoke to the manager Paulo Sousa since returning, he told me it's a clean slate and a fresh start so hopefully I can show him what I'm capable of. I have not lost faith in my ability and believe I am good enough to play in the current side, however with my contract up in the summer I will have a decision to make. All I want to do is play football and if that's with QPR then great.
We'd like to thank Zesh for his time, and wish him every success in his future in the game.