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John Bostock: ‘You see life differently when you’re that close to death’

first_imgBostock expected the damage to be worse but his strong Christian faith ensured he recovered from an incident which could have been far worse. “It is only by the grace of God I survived that crash. It is something you never want to be involved in but a huge wake-up call to life. As footballers we focus on football, your career and your own life but when something like that happens it makes you realise about life in general. My family were really shaken to find out someone lost their life in the crash, which was devastating. I came out without a graze, thankfully. Psychologically it took a bit to get over but I was back playing in 10 days.“When you are involved in something like that, you are always thinking ‘What if? What if?’ and sometimes you get flashbacks. I couldn’t sleep for a night, it has a big affect on your family but it also made me realise I have a destiny to achieve; I am here for a reason.”The tumultuous nature of football is something he can take in his stride after the disappointment of being tipped as a future England captain in his teens. Now that he is 26 and has survived a major car crash the prospect of switching continents at the end of the winter transfer window was not something to be feared. Last season he won the Ligue 2 player of the season award but it took until the 2009-10 Turkish Super Lig champions Bursaspor approached him on the penultimate day of January for him to move on to bigger things.“It just came last minute but I spoke to the coach, I was ready for a change. I really wanted to play first division in a good league in Europe and I had several offers but I spoke to the coach here, Paul Le Guen, who in France is a legend. My friend Will Ekong is here and told me all about Bursa and the club, the supporters and the size of the club. We spoke, I considered it with my wife and my family, it was a quick decision but one we made and really believed it was in my best interests to sign and so far I am happy with my choice.” Share on Facebook Pinterest Read more Reuse this content Footballers enjoy privileges that few can aspire to but for John Bostock the simple pleasure of being alive is enough. Last year when travelling back home in England following a game for his French team Lens, the former Crystal Palace midfielder suffered a head-on crash while driving down the motorway at 3am. The other driver was drunk and going the wrong way at 70mph, resulting in his passenger dying and Bostock’s car being a crumpled heap, but he was miraculously unhurt.“Scientifically, I probably shouldn’t have survived that crash. Two cars hitting each other head-on at 70mph, it made me appreciate life, appreciate family and appreciate the gift that we have to live every day,” Bostock says as we sit in the dugout at his new club, Bursaspor. “It was a big wake-up call, something that there isn’t a plan to get over. You just have to focus on the future and take every day as it comes, appreciate life for what it is. I am grateful that I went through it because you see life in a different way when you’re that close to death.” Share on Twitter Share via Email interviews Share on LinkedIn Facebook European club football Share on WhatsApp From the relative tranquillity of Ligue 2, Bostock was thrust into a home debut against the Turkish giants Besiktas. It was a baptism of fire as the Englishman discovered the atmosphere he could expect at his new home ground, which is shaped like a crocodile in honour of the club’s nickname. “One of the things you realise very quickly is that it’s a cauldron of football. If you can play here in front of the fans and with the pressure then you can play anywhere. You see videos of how passionate the fans are. In my debut against Besiktas you couldn’t hear anything on the pitch, you couldn’t hear your team-mates, you couldn’t hear yourself think but that’s just the way of the fans, as they give you everything but they want something back.”This interview takes place on a day the club’s players have refused to train having not been paid for five months, meaning Bostock had not received a penny in wages since his January arrival. Despite the financial issues, the midfielder is adamant he has made the right decision for his well-travelled career. “I’ve played in MLS, I’ve played in Belgium and France but here it’s completely different. I thought I’d seen everything in football but I’ve come here, seen a little bit more but honestly it’s an amazing place to play. The standard is terrific, I am playing against world class players almost every week, internationals in every club.”After helping OH Leuven to promotion in Belgium and being named the best footballer in Ligue 2, Bostock has attracted suitors once again in England where he is still thought of as the kid at Palace who then never made the grade at Tottenham. But now older and more mature, he does not fear returning to England to show what he has become.“People may feel like if I came back to England I may need to prove something but I am not worried. Maybe a few years ago I would feel worried and that I would need to prove myself, that I was this wonderkid but I don’t need to prove any of that any more. If I came back I would just want to do the best job I could for the club I play for and enjoy playing in England in front of my friends and family in the most watched league in the world.”After helping ensure Bursaspor’s top-flight status for another season, Bostock is continuing to look forward as he never wants to dwell on the past, whether it be in football or his horrific car crash. “I want to be remembered as somebody who fulfilled the purpose they were created for. Sometimes if you start comparing yourself to others, you start chasing other people’s destinies and purposes. I believe I was made for a purpose. I am who I am and I’ve been on my own journey, it’s formed me to be the man I am today, my character, the way I play, it’s not been easy, so I want to be remembered as someone who never gave up and pushed to fulfil his potential.”When Bostock left Spurs with nowhere to go, he was worried his football career would be taken away from him but he came close to suffering the greatest loss, so he is rightly content proving himself right and others wrong from afar. Milan’s Suso: ‘I feel like I am only at 70% of what I can achieve’ Share on Pinterest Twitter Share on Messenger Bursaspor Topics John Bostock walked away virtually unscathed from the wreckage of his car after the horrific crash. Photograph: John Bostocklast_img

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