DERBY boss Frank Lampard told Cameron Jerome that Derby wanted to keep him — before changing his mind and agreeing a transfer to Turkey.
Jerome was told he was part of Lampard’s plans, but within weeks the Rams boss did a U-turn and then up popped a chance to move to Goztepe.
The striker has bagged four goals in 23 games at the Doganlar Stadium this season.
He exclusively told SunSport: “I was looking forward to working with Lampard.
“But he changed his mind on me, it was a bit of a surprise, but no hard feelings at all.
“They wouldn’t let me go to a rival and I was stuck there with a year left on my contract.
“I couldn’t go to Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United or West Brom and then they asked if I would move to certain clubs.
“Those moves were not going to benefit me and I felt should be at Derby competing for a place.
“My agent Eric Walters told me there was an opportunity in Turkey – I’ve always wanted to play abroad and at my age the chance might not come again.”
On and off the pitch Jerome is still settling into his new adventure with Goztepe.
SEVEN MONTHS, THREE BOSSES
The 32-year-old has a wealth of experience with Cardiff, Birmingham, Stoke City and Norwich City, but nothing has prepared him for working with his third manager in seven months as his side struggle at the wrong end of the table.
He added: “I’m still getting to grips with certain things, it’s still an adventure as some days I go into training and think ‘Wow that’s different’.
“It’s fun, the league is competitive – there is not much difference between the top and bottom sides.
“We will have a game this weekend and then we don’t know on what day next weekend we will be playing on.
“It is controlled by the TV companies, we can train on a Wednesday and still not know what is going on in terms of when our next game will be.”
Family life is vital leaving England at such a late stage of his career had to be a joint decision with a fiancee and young kids to consider.
Jerome said: “The whole idea of going at first was ‘Yeah we can do it’ then reality hit us when we knew we were moving.
“It was a big culture shock to start with, settling into family life was difficult, but we’ve had a lot of help from ex-pats.
“The city is wonderful, it’s right on the Aegean coast from Greece.
“The weather is fantastic and culture-wise not a strict as other parts of Turkey, it’s very diverse and more in tune with a Mediterranean lifestyle.
“He came in and could not speak a word of English, he spoke Turkish and you have three translators on the training pitch standing near you translating into English, French and Portuguese.”
Cameron Jerome on his second boss at Goztepe
“But I’m on my third manager since I arrived, they don’t mess about here.
“One manager (Bayram Bektas) was doing really well, he spoke English, French and Turkish.
“He was a nice guy, we lost a few games and the fans got restless.
“The player and fan power here is crazy, I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.
“Whatever the players or fans want, they get – the president and people in power act on impulse and emotions.
“The new guy (Kemal Ozdes) came in after the winter break, everyone loved him, then all of a sudden everyone hated him, the fans and some of the players didn’t like his methods.
“He came in and could not speak a word of English, he spoke Turkish and you have three translators on the training pitch standing near you translating into English, French and Portuguese.
“That’s everyday, for meetings and for manager talks before training.
“It’s a bit difficult at times to pick things up and for the boss to get his message across to the players.”
Jerome signed a two-year deal with an option for another 12 months.
He turns 33 in August and the reduction in the number of games and drop in intensity could prolong his career.
NO RAMS IN PREM
He added: “I feel good physically, but I know time is not on my side.
“Out here in the sun having less games, it’s not as demanding on your body, I’m 33 in the summer.
“I will want to stay in football in some capacity, I’ve not started my coaching badges yet, keep saying I will do them, but while I’m still playing I want to focus on that.”
With one win in their last seven games, the Rams are a point off the play-offs, but can he see Lampard leading his old side to promotion?
most read in football
Jerome added: “I can’t see it at the minute, the games I’ve seen recently there are too many teams stronger than them.
“I’m not being bitter, just being honest, they could be an outsider for the play-offs, and it gets harder every year.
“The budget was slashed this year and could get slashed again making it even harder to get up with the money the Premier League teams have when they go down, it’s a huge gap in finances.”