Rovers matchday magazine featured an interview with Ross Turnbull ahead of the QPR game. Here is a snippet of what Ross had to say.
Ross, tell me a little bit about how you started in football.
I started playing for my local team, Newton Aycliffe, up in County Durham and then when I was 12 years old I had a 6 weeks trial at Sunderland. I thought I did well and hoped to get a contract but it wasn’t to be. I was obviously disappointed but I just kept going and went back to Newton Aycliffe. From there I went on trial with Darlington for 10 weeks before I received a telephone call from Dave Parnaby, the academy director at Middlesbrough, who was also my district manager so he knew me already. He asked if I’d like to go for a trial at Middlesbrough so I went, signed a contract and ended up spending 10 years there.
When did you choose to be a goalkeeper and why?
When I was younger I never really wanted to be a goalkeeper but it was one of those things when I was playing with my mates and they said that I was pretty good in goal. I spent a season in goal but didn’t enjoy it as much as I did outfield so I went back to outfield again for a year before finally deciding to go back in goal as I was better there than I was outfield. After I made that decision, I never looked back. I’d prefer to be a striker but I do enjoy being in goal!
You went to Middlesbrough where you had some great games and you played in the Premier League for them.
Yes, I played a few good times in the Premier which I enjoyed. My debut was away at Bolton towards the end of the season. It was a 1-1 draw and I played particularly well on the night which was obviously pleasing. I’d had a good few loans before that so it helped with my experience for debuting against a Premier League club.
It is hard for goalkeepers as they always say that they get better as they get older, unlike outfield players.
Yes, I think that’s true as obviously the more experience you gain, the better you become. You know situations and if you make a mistake when you’re younger you think it’s the end of the world whereas now I know it’s part of the game and I react better to it. I think the more games you have under your belt, the more experience you have which helps you in the big games and the games that matter. You see a lot of goalkeepers who are 40 years old and doing exceptionally well as they know where they have to be at certain times from the experience of all the games they’ve played.
After Middlesbrough you moved onto Chelsea. That was a big move for you, especially going from the north, where you were from, to the south.
Yes, it was a massive move. To go from Middlesbrough, which was a Premier League club that had just got relegated, to Chelsea, which is arguably one of the biggest clubs in the world. It was a big step but one that I wanted as players don’t offer get the chance to go to clubs of that standard so it was a move that I couldn’t turn down and one that I was really looking forward to.
You also got to play in the Champions League which is probably the pinnacle of European football.
Yes, I think it’s one of those experiences that you don’t realise how good it is when it’s happening. There’s the music when you go onto the field and the buzz you get under the lights. It’s different to a Premier League game on a Tuesday or Wednesday night; the atmosphere is fantastic. It’s always a dream when you’re growing up to play in the Champions League so to have been able to do that has been unbelievable.
Chelsea released you at the end of last season and you had a trial at a Dutch side so what made you want to come to Doncaster?
I left Chelsea as we all agreed that I needed to go and play football which I hadn’t done enough of in my time there. The goalkeeping coach was telling me that I had to go and play football so it was something that I knew was going to happen. One deal fell through early in the summer so it was a strange summer for me. There were a couple of little things going on but nothing concrete so I went to Holland just to see what it was like. Going abroad is something that I wanted to look at as it’s something I may or may not do in the future. I went across there but it was too much for my family who would have probably stayed in the north-east and I would have had to travel. I don’t think I was prepared to do that as I would have missed my family too much. Football is like that as you move around clubs but my family is really important to me so we decided not to go down that route. Shortly after that Doncaster came in so I came down to train for a few days and then a few days before the start of the season I was asked to sign which I was happy to do.
You can read the full feature with Ross in the QPR edition of the matchday magazine still available in the Rovers Club Shop.