Joe Garner: Talentspotter

Carlisle's promising striker, who later featured for Nottingham Forest, Watford and Preston North End, reveals all about himself in November 2007.

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Carlisle United



You can’t do much with my name, luckily. My first name is Joseph but I’ve always been a ‘Joe’. ‘Garns’ is as imaginative as it gets. 

Club supported as a boy
I was born in Blackburn but always used to travel to Deepdale to watch Preston. It was around the time they were looking to get into the Championship [Division One as it was then]. The football wasn’t great but it was a good craic.

I’ve always scored goals, so my finishing is definitely my biggest asset. I scored about 30 goals a season when I was at the academy at Blackburn and had a decent strike rate for the reserves.

Maybe my defending needs a bit of touching up. To be honest it’s pretty shite at the best of times, but what do you expect – I’m there to score goals, not stop them!       

I play a bit like...
I reckon there’s a bit of the Alan Shearer in me. He was first class and I was lucky enough to play against him in Tony Parkes’s testimonial. We swapped shirts after the game, which was fantastic.

Scoring my first league goal was special. I was at Carlisle on loan and we were playing against Yeovil. The ball fell to me on the penalty spot and I volleyed it in. I also scored a 35-yard screamer against Port Vale – it’s magic when they go in.
Getting sent off against Huddersfield was as low as it gets. I was booked in the 87th minute after possibly the worst tackle in history. Then I got another yellow three minutes later, which didn’t go down too well with the gaffer.

Toughest opponent
Alan Smith was tough when Blackburn reserves played against United reserves, but we played against Oldham recently and Sean Gregan kicked me up in the air for 90 minutes – maybe if I’d told him I used to watch him at Deepdale he’d have gone easy on me.

Best player played with
I only ever trained with him but Tugay was just incredible when I was at Blackburn. Some of the things he could do were just out of this world.    

Biggest influence
My mum and dad were always very supportive. It was also great to work with Mark Hughes at Blackburn. He was always offering me little tips on how to improve as a striker and the day I left he sat me down and told me that the reason he was letting me go was that so I could play regular league football, which is what I need at the moment.

Best advice you’ve been given
There’s no substitute for hard work.

Biggest joker at the club
Chris Lumsdon is an idiot. He’s the fines man and he’s dishing them out all the time at the moment for the most stupid things. You have to look out for our physio too, if you come in wearing some dodgy gear he just burns it.

The Simpsons. It was alright, but it’s just a longer version of the TV programme.
The missus is sat here with our 18-month-old daughter so I’ll say her or there’s going to be trouble.

TV programmes
Match of the Day.

If I hadn’t been a football player...
Crikey, that’s a good one. I’ve no idea is probably the truthful answer. If you’re going to push me though, I would say a PE teacher.

Tell us something we don’t know about you
I once played against Man United under-16s for Blackburn Under-16s and we won 9-0. Oh, and I scored six of them. 
With my first pay packet I bought
Seems like a long time ago now but I think I bought a television.

If I could play alongside any player...
Carlos Tevez would be good. He’s class. I reckon we’d do OK. 
Most embarrassing moment
Well, what I didn’t tell you earlier was that I got that second yellow card against Huddersfield trying to get a penalty in the last minute. The ref reckoned I dived, and he might have had a point.

In five years’ time...
I’ll be back in the top flight.

From the November 2007 issue of FourFourTwo.