Q&A with… Juan Cobian
Steven Fyfe continues his series of interviews with former Swindon Town players. This week he speaks with Juan Cobian, the second best head-tennis player at the County Ground during Andy King’s time as manager…
Argentinian defender Juan Cobian may not be a name known, or remembered, by many younger Town fans. Those playing Championship Manager in the last 90’s will remember his time at Sheffield Wednesday. I admit a level of arrogance at not knowing the full story of what happened in reality during his time at the County Ground, which is why I am very grateful Juan agreed to take part in a catch up session to send a message to the Town faithful…
How did you feel when you signed for Swindon from Aberdeen?
“It was a moment of uncertainty because I had played for Aberdeen the season before. After signing for them in October 1999, and a few good games, I got a bad hamstring injury that saw me out of the team before the Christmas period. It took me almost 3 months to get back to fitness since the hamstring suffered a 4cm tear and I was closed to go to surgery.”
“When Colin Todd signed me up I was very happy because I knew I had a 3 years contract that would give me stability, but worried about my fitness which happily was back to normal after pre-season.”
It’s fair to say your move didn’t go to plan, in your words what happened?
“Yes, of course it did not go to plan, because I expected to play more and the departure of Colin Todd was a key point for that.”
“Although I felt well at the club and town, and the games that I played, I felt I had the credits from my team mates and fans, but not from Andy King the manager.”
“Many things happened on daily basis between Andy and myself, but I don’t think it is okay for me to tell them since… I believe that what happens within the dressing room should stay there.”
It was suggested there was a falling out between yourself and Andy King, was this true?
“To be honest I think Andy didn`t like the foreigners!!!”
“Also he felt under pressure with the situation at the club. We did not have a great spell on the pitch neither outside with the economics.”
“This was something that he told me when I met him again in 2008 where he said “sorry for the way I treated you”. I felt happy after that because I felt I gave a lot from me to be part of the first team but only one person chooses the starting XI.”
What do you feel you could have potentially achieved at Swindon?
“I believe I could have stayed at Swindon for a longer period since I felt very well in the town, my first daughter was born there, I bought a house, I had a dog and also my wife worked until Catalina was born.”
“I felt sad after leaving Swindon to go to CD Linares in Spain and also when I knew the team went down to League Two but really happy when I knew Paolo Di Canio took the club back to League One in 2012.”
Juan Cobian’s second game for Swindon Town came in a 3-2 victory at Luton Town in September 2000
In terms of those you trained with, who was the best player(s) during your spell?
“First of all I have to say that we were a great group of people. I really enjoyed it with the jokes during training, the trips to the away matches playing cards where I was always the cookies provider to the table. Also the head-tennis competitions where only Andy King beat me.”
“So it comes to my mind all the memories with Alan Reeves, Danny Invincible, Bobby How, Adam Willis, Eric Sabin, Bart Griemink, Matt Heywood, and many others that shared a piece of my life and I enjoyed working with.”
“Now yes, answering your question, in my opinion the best player during my spell was Alan Reeves.”
How frustrating was playing only reserves football?
“It was not nice at all to play only in the reserves and sit on the bench on Saturdays! But I learned to enjoy it because, like I said before, I had the credits from my team mates. Also something nice that happened was that Malcom Crosby – who managed the reserves most of the times – made me captain in every game that I played and encouraged me all the time to get better and perform to show Andy I had to be in the team.”
“After that it was his decision. Something that I keep from that is that I feel I left something with my attitude to the kids that played alongside me in all the games.”
What are you up to these days?
“I am now living in Saenz Peña, Buenos Aires, near the neighbourhood where I was born. Working with my dad and brother in our family business and also doing some things in football on the agents’ side.”
“I am not a proper football agent since I do not represent any players but I advise some foreign clubs when they need references or are looking for a specific position. I put usually more focus on pre-season camps and friendlies since I also worked for Boca Juniors as the International Football Director from 2009 until 2012, managing the pre-season tours and international friendlies and relationship with clubs from abroad.”
Follow Juan Cobian on Twitter – @Juan_Cobian
Playing record – swindon-town-fc.co.uk
So that is the story! I could never understand why he wasn’t a permanent fixture in the first team. Real shame.