Fulham striker Matt Smith tells us about his Zinedine Zidane French kit
First game you watched live My dad, Ian, used to play for Birmingham City, so I always found myself in the box at St Andrew’s when I was growing up. I remember the first game I went to was a 1-1 draw against Stockport County.
I couldn’t tell you much about the game, but I remember hating the food that was put out – it was the sauce on the meat that made me feel so sick.
Being a local lad, from Evesham, Birmingham were my local side, so I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for them, but in my career I’ve tended to do quite well against them. I remember scoring for Leeds at St Andrew’s in April 2014 and my dad was almost chucked out! First pair of boots? I’ve always been an Adidas Predator man. The ones David Beckham used to wear way back in 1998, with the big stripes and the grooves to help you curl the ball, were my first. I loved them so much as a kid that I’ve grown a bit attached to them and I’ve had them every single season since. First kit? My half-brother, JeanFrancois, bought me a France national team kit. I think it was the one for the 1998 World Cup in France. I remember watching that World Cup on the TV and being so inspired.
I had Zinedine Zidane on the back. What a player he was, but my mum, Francoise, is actually French, so I had no qualms about wearing it! With my dad being Scottish, it’s a bit of a mix! First professional game? It was a 2-0 defeat for Oldham against Sheffield United in the first game of the 2011/12 season. I remember Stephen Quinn having an absolute stormer and setting up both the goals for Harry Maguire and Richard Cresswell. Losing was bad enough, but that wasn’t the worst part. I ended the game with five stitches in my head after a challenge with Lecsinel JeanFrancois. I looked like Terry Butcher by the end and it was only my first game. I thought ‘what have I got myself into here?’ The week leading up to it was great, because of the excitement of knowing you’re going to make your debut. First red card? This isn’t my greatest moment on the pitch by any means. I was playing for Leeds in a big local derby against Sheffield Wednesday in January 2014 and we were already losing 2-0 at half-time. I was brought on to try to change things. What happened was I was sent off within 60 seconds of coming on, without touching the ball, and we went on to lose 6-0. The funny thing about that was I actually met Reda Johnson, who went down easily to get me sent off, two weeks later on a night out. He admitted he made a meal out of it and offered to buy me a drink. I was fined for being sent off and could have done with the week’s wages back to be hon
FRENCH CONNECTION: Zidane’s name was on his first shirt