Southend United midfielder An­thony Wordsworth talks us through his football mem­o­ries

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS -

First game you watched live? Ar­se­nal against QPR in 1994 – the game when John Jensen scored his only ever goal for the club.

I’m an Ar­se­nal fan. My dad Tony would take me to games as a kid and I re­mem­ber watch­ing guys like Dennis Bergkamp.

I grew up in Cam­den Town, just up the road from Ar­se­nal, so we used to go and watch. We went a lot, when­ever we could. First pair of boots? I got a pair of Di­ado­ras when I was ten years old. My older brother James plays football and I re­mem­ber he used to get them buy one, get one free. I think I must have had about three pairs of those Di­ado­ras. First Kit? An Ar­se­nal one, one of the re­ally old ones. It had Ste­fan Sch­warz’s name on the back. As a kid my shirts were al­ways Ar­se­nal or Eng­land.

I must have been about eight or nine when I got the first one. My brother al­ways had Ar­se­nal kits too and so did the whole fam­ily – we were very big fans. First foot­balling hero? Dennis Bergkamp, I used to love the way he played and I would al­ways pre­tend I was him when I first started play­ing

football.

I watched him all the time and just tried to be like him on the pitch. My brother used to be Ian Wright – he was a striker and he used to play for Crys­tal Palace as a kid.

I was a big fan too, I even still have an Ian Wright DVD and I came across it in the garage the other day. I used to watch it on a Satur­day be­fore my Sun­day league games and I used to love it. First pro­fes­sional game? My full de­but was against Hull City, it was our first sea­son in the Cham­pi­onship when I was play­ing for Colch­ester United. We had just been pro­moted from League One to the Cham­pi­onship and I re­mem­ber we got beaten 3-1.

Af­ter 14 min­utes one of our play­ers got sent off – Phil Ifil – and as it was my de­but I’ll never for­get it. It was a tough in­tro­duc­tion into pro­fes­sional football, a big wake-up call. First goal as a pro­fes­sional? My first goal came against Chel­tenham in a league game, and I ac­tu­ally scored two that day.

It was away at Whad­don Road and it was Paul Lam­bert’s first match in charge of Colch­ester United. We were 2-1 up at half-time but ended up los­ing 4-3, Barry Hayles got a late win­ner for them. First red card? That is yet to come since I’ve never been sent off. I think I’ve had over 50 yel­low cards but never been sent off in eight sea­sons.

One time I nearly got a straight red against Wal­sall and I ac­tu­ally started walk­ing off the pitch, but the ref­eree only gave me a yel­low. I re­ally thought it was a straight red; it was a re­ally bad tackle. Luck­ily, he let me stay on the pitch.

I’ve been sus­pended for ten yel­low cards and I’ve been close to a red a few times from dou

ble yel­lows.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

TOP GUN­NER: Dennis Bergkamp play­ing for Ar­se­nal in 1996-97

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