Article by Tommy Wathen: New Billericay Town signing Jamie O'Hara sat down with Essex Live for an exclusive video interview after confirming his move to New Lodge.
The 30-year-old midfielder has put pen-to-paper on an 18-month contract with the Ryman Isthmian Premier Division side after taking several months out of football and featuring on Channel 5 reality programme 'Celebrity Big Brother'.
Now, the former Spurs and Wolves midfielder wants to focus on getting back out on the pitch playing some football, having admitted that owner and first-team coach Glenn Tamplin played a huge role in bringing him to the club.
"I'm really happy. I sat down with the owner the other day and he told me about the plans he had for the club and what he has in store for it and it is nice for me to just get back out on the pitch and play some football. Obviously when Konch (Paul Konchesky) came down here and through speaking to Mark Wright, who is involved with the owner and a good friend of mine, it has been an ongoing thing that has got off the ground in the past couple of days. This move wouldn't have happened with Glenn to be honest. I met him and we had a great chat about all the plans he's got and where he wants to take this club. For me, it was great because I wanted to get back playing some football, get some fitness back, enjoy it and be a part of something."
One worrying aspect of the move for Billericay though is that the ex-Premier League star had his two-year contract at EFL League One side Gillingham terminated after just six weeks back in September 2016 due to injury concerns.
When asked whether he was concerned at all that his injury problems could come back, O'Hara admitted that he was hopeful that the worst is behind him and that he can look forward to a positive future.
"I hope not," he continued.
"I think that as a footballer, you always have to deal with injuries and setbacks. It'll be nice for me to be back out on the pitch to test the foot and see how it is and also test my fitness. That's why I've come down here. I want to play some football and hopefully everything will go to plan."
During his 'Celebrity Big Brother' experience, O'Hara gained plenty of media attention thanks to his relationship with Bianca Gascoigne - the step-daughter of England and Tottenham legend Paul Gascoigne.
O'Hara admitted that the show made him an offer that he couldn't refuse whilst he was injured, but he is pleased to be back on the pitch playing football again.
"Obviously I did that show as it was an opportunity that came up when I wasn't playing because I was injured and I couldn't really turn it down. When I came out of there, I had to be realistic about where I was going to play. It's coming to the end of the season so a professional club probably wouldn't have taken me so it's nice that this opportunity has come up. It allows me to get some fitness and play some games and we'll see what happens."
Overall though, O'Hara is confident about what is to come for him and he feels like this could be a fresh start that, if it all goes well, could last much longer than the 18-month deal he has just signed.
"It's going to be different. I've played at grounds like this before, but I've also played at Old Trafford and The Emirates and everywhere else. For me, this move is just going to be about getting back out on the pitch, enjoying it and just play. It's a stepping stone for me to see what happens. It's a step back into football. I'm only 30 so I hope that I've still got a lot to offer so hopefully the injuries and fitness can stick together and it all goes well. If things go well and the club goes where Glenn is talking about taking it, then it is definitely something that I want to be a part of. I've already struck up a good relationship with Glenn and it is definitely something that I want to be a part of because he is planning on building this club into something special."
O'Hara could make his Billericay Town debut as early as Saturday in the Ryman Isthmian Premier League clash away to Dulwich Hamlet.
Watch the video
Article by Tommy Wathen, Essex Chronicle