Southend United midfielder Anthony Wordsworth talks us through his football memories
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
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
TOP GUNNER: Dennis Bergkamp playing for Arsenal in 1996-97