Our series of chats continues as we catch up with a Bracknell Town legend – striker Justin Day – Bracknell’s top goalscorer for the last 40 years.
Where did you start out your career?
JD: Do you mean as a Kid? Sperry Dynamos u9, but Joined Bracknell Town as youth player.
Were you always a forward?
JD: Yes mainly. Played a bit on the either wing and the first position I played at school in year 4 was as a right back.
When did you join Bracknell Town?
JD: I was 16. I joined the under 18’s team in 1988.
You were the main man during my early years watching football at Larges Lane. Did it feel like something special at the time?
JD: Yes. We had a great team full of experience. The main bulk of the team was made up of players that had played at a higher standard and with a few youngsters around them proved to be a winning formula.
You scored 108 league goals for Bracknell Town during your career – the highest total in 40 years. Was there one that stood out
JD: I can remember 2 that stood out. Not great goals but who we were against. one was against Aldershot at home in a 3-3 draw. It wasn’t a complete over head kick but it was behind me and I still don’t know how I got it in! The second was against Farnborough in the FA Cup. We lost 2-3 but my goal put us 2 nil up and it looked good until the dying minutes.
What was your most memorable moment playing at Larges Lane?
JD: Jam packed Larges Lane against Aldershot. Great crowd that day and something we were not used to but rose to the occasion.
You were renowned for your partnership with Tony Wood, but who would you say was your favourite strike partner?
JD: Had to be Tony. He was quality. Coming towards the end of his playing career but could hold the ball up and knew where the net was. Very strong player. I was more his provider but between us we scored loads.
I clearly remember a set line-up that you could bank on week in week out to deliver, was it a close knit team? I remember at least – Alan Henley, Ross D’Arcey, Peter Skerritt, Richie Moore, Allan Shields, Justin Day, Jason Day, Tony Wood, Alan Williams, Brian Broome, Keith Penicott-Bowen etc.
JD: We were all mates yes. And this does make a difference. This was a couple of years after promotion but still a good team. A few of the older players had retired but replaced with equally as good players. Team spirit was always good at bracknell in my time there and in those days I do feel it was key to our success.
Speaking of Jason, how was it playing in the same team as your brother? I am not sure if Kris played at the same time as well?
JD: Playing with Jay was always nice as my parents followed us everywhere so they didn’t have to choose what game to watch. Seriously though. Jay was always reliable at the back and any team with him in was better for it. As Binfield found out later in his carrer. Kris was 10 years younger then me so I did not get to play with him until we played a couple of games at Binfield. But that was a great day as all three of us played in the same team. Very proud parents.
What are your best memories of playing for the club in those days?
JD: Winning at Horsham to lift the league title and gain promotion. It was a close fought contest right to the end but winning that final game was excellent and so were the celebrations afterwards.
I also remember four replays in the FA Cup against Kingsbury Town, do you miss unlimited FA Cup replays?! And what were those games like to play in?
JD: FA Cup games were always special. Always disappointing when knocked out and always a buzz reaching the next round with hopes of reaching the first round proper like against Lincoln. I agree that replays had to be reduced because the amount of games in those days was a joke. And when you think about fixture pile ups with cancelled games due to the weather, i am amazed we finished the season.
You were part of the team that got so close to the FA Cup first round, how did it feel going up to Burton Albion – particularly knowing as you do now that they are a football league side?
JD: We got close a couple of time. Burton, Farnborough and of course reaching it against Lincoln. Burton was different as I felt we had a lot stronger team then. Unfortunately I had been injured up to this game with a torn thigh muscle. I said I was fit to play and had trained that week.
I was on the bench and ready to make an impact. I came on and first sprint my thigh tore again. Gutted. Having played for Farnborough a few years later I got to play against a few teams that have now progressed to the football league. It just goes to show what can happen with good club management and a wealthy owner.
Who was the best player you played with at Bracknell Town?
JD: Tough one. I would have to say Bobby Purser
You headed off to New Zealand to play for Miramar Rangers, how did that come about – and how was it?
JD: Got a phone call out of the blue by the Miramar Rangers manager in Wellington. He had heard good things from Phil Alexander who used to play for them. They needed a striker and asked if I fancied hoping on a plane. 25 single, no commitments. What would you do? It was an excellent experience.
Great people and great country. Football was good. We won the winter league in my first season where I ended up league top scorer. We did not do so well in the summer league. I got injured in pre-season and did not really recover from that injury. Turned out my hip had totally worn out. But no regrets going.
Whenever we do a BEST XI survey, you are always listed in there – but who would be your best Bracknell Town XI?
- Goalkeeper: Alan Henly
- Left Back: Bobby Purser
- Centre Back: Peter Skerritt
- Center Back: Tony Carter
- Right Back: Jason Day
- Left Wing: Alan Shields
- Centre Midfield: Dave Osgood
- Centre Midfield: Frank Handley
- Right Wing: Mark Franks
- Striker: Tony Woods
- Striker: Of course myself Justin Day
What are you up to these days?
JD: These days I am coaching Sandhurst Town Boys under 11’s. My son’s team. And enjoying the battles we are having with Bracknell Town Robins. Mark Holzman’s team.
Have you been back to Larges Lane? The pitch has improved!
JD: Not for many years. Great memories at the Lane. And my son keeps asking me to take him to a game there so will have to soon. Watching Bradford v Reading at the weekend did remind me of Larges Lane!!!!!
This interview was first published in Robins Review – the Bracknell Town matchday programme – in two parts on 17th and 21st April 2015.