QPR's Junior Hoilett Talks To ZOO About Hoops, Pirates, Trials and AC/DC!
Alright, Junior. Being Canadian, shouldn’t you be playing Ice Hockey rather than football?
Me on ice? That’s never going to happen! My dad played basketball up to college level, so as a kid growing up back home, me and my brother used to enjoy shooting hoops and playing baseball whenever we could. But from an early age I was playing soccer a couple of year groups above my own, until arriving for trials in England aged 13.
Did all the Hoiletts move en masse to the UK at that point?
No, I actually came here alone, which was a little scary at the time. First, I had a week-long trial at Manchester United which went well. But after I trained with Blackburn, my mind was made up that they were the club I should sign for.
So how come you ended up playing in Germany?
I didn’t initially have a work permit to play in the UK, so when I was 17, I went out on loan to a club in the Bundesliga 2 called Paderborn, where I got my first taste of first team football. The next year, I was back in Germany where I had one of the best footballing experiences of my life at FC St Pauli.
What happened there?
The fans are mad and look like a bunch of pirates, waving skull and crossbones flags around. But they’re not a violent bunch. In fact, they pride themselves on being against fascism, homophobia, sexism and racism – they even go on marches through towns to promote equality. Home games were always packed and the stadium was rocking, especially as the players ran out onto the pitch like rock stars at the beginning of the match… to AC/DC’s Hell’s Bells!
Your brother, Jaineil, currently plays in Germany for Mainz. will he be joining you in the Premier league?
I think so. He’s big, fast and, although he is right-footed, he’s arguably just as good with his left, making him really difficult to defend against. The annoying thing for me is, although he is younger, he towers over me and is stronger, which isn’t fair!
Is it true you shunned offers from other premier league clubs in order to join QPR?
Yeah, I had offers from Sunderland, Liverpool and Newcastle, but it wasn’t a hard decision to join QPR. The manager and chairman sold the place to me, making me feel that if I signed here, I’d be part of a club looking to progress. I also know the gaffer, Mark Hughes, from my time at Blackburn, so I was excited about working with him again.
Have you ever been on the receiving end when Sparky’s blown a fuse?
The gaffer can be a little scary – he has that in his locker – but so far I’ve escaped any hair dryer treatment. Hopefully I’ll keep it that way!
With so many new signings, there must be a player initiation during every training session at the moment?
Oh no, don’t say anything in ZOO about initiations – you’ll remind the rest of the lads no one’s done one yet! I’m sure we’ll all be made to stand on a chair and sing at some point. I hate singing, but if I’m pushed, maybe I’ll treat the boys to a poorly-sung Drake song!
Considering the money QPR spent, what are the aims for the season?
Last season we were so nearly relegated, so finishing higher is the goal. We’ve signed a lot of players, so it’ll take time to gel, but once we’re used to playing with each other, we’ll climb the table.
Can you get into Europe?
We’ll see. We want to challenge at the top. We already have a good team, so if we continue to develop, I don’t see any reason why we can’t move up the table, but we know it’s going to take time.
And the fans would love you to finish above Chelsea…
Ha ha. Hopefully one day. But this is only our second year in the top flight after 15 years outside it!