Ley­ton Ori­ent midfielder Bradley Pritchard talks us through his football mem­o­ries.

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE RESULTS -

First game you watched live? It was a Crys­tal Palace game at Sel­hurst Park in the 1995-96 sea­son. We got free tick­ets at my school and I re­mem­ber it be­ing 0-0 and so bor­ing. I thought ‘How can peo­ple watch this ev­ery week’? I think the fact I can’t re­mem­ber who they were play­ing shows how ter­ri­ble the match was!

First football hero?

When I was grow­ing up in Zim­babwe, my dad, Colum­bus, played for one of the lo­cal teams – Bel­gravia Sports Club – and he would take me into the dress­ing room, so I was sur­rounded by football. I was young, so I looked up to my dad in awe, but apart from him it was prob­a­bly Paul Sc­holes. Sc­holes played dif­fer­ently to ev­ery other English midfielder – a small guy ex­celling in a big guy’s en­vi­ron­ment.

First pair of boots?

Black Mitres. I was roped into a game at the last minute for a friend’s team and I didn’t have a pair, so I went to the lo­cal shop with my mum to buy some about an hour be­fore the game. I was size six at the time, which they didn’t have, so I had to get a seven and tie the laces all the way round the boot so they didn’t fall off – it was ridicu­lous. When I turned up, ev­ery­one had coloured boots but I was there in my black ones – so I got a pair of red ones a cou­ple of weeks later. First kit? I got the Manch­ester United kit they wore in the 1994 FA Cup fi­nal against Chelsea. It was the one with the draw­strings on the col­lar and I re­mem­ber Mark Hughes wear­ing it. In Zim­babwe peo­ple only sup­ported the big­gest teams, so it was al­ways go­ing to be a Man Utd or Liver­pool kit.

First pro­fes­sional game?

I played a lot in Non-League, but my pro­fes­sional de­but was for Charl­ton against Bournemouth at The Val­ley in Au­gust 2011. I came off the bench with about five min­utes to go when we were 3-0 up. I touched the ball twice and then I got a stitch! We were com­fort­ably ahead, so I thought I’d run about a lot to try to make an im­pres­sion and some­how ended up get­ting a stitch – it wasn’t a great start.

First pro­fes­sional goal?

I scored the fourth in a 4-0 win over Hal­i­fax in the FA Cup for Charl­ton. The game was al­ready won, but I cel­e­brated like crazy – the rest of my team-mates were just jog­ging back to the cen­tre cir­cle be­cause we were so far ahead but I went for it as if I’d just scored the win­ner in the fi­nal.

First red card?

It was in my last sea­son at Charl­ton against Bournemouth af­ter they’d just been pro­moted to the Cham­pi­onship. It was a straight red. Ba­si­cally I just mist­imed a tack­led. I felt so bad and I re­mem­ber the man­ager, Chris Pow­ell, ask­ing me in the chang­ing room af­ter­wards if I’d caught the guy? There was that mo­ment where I thought ‘Should I just lie and say no – it would prob­a­bly be eas­ier if I lie’. I told the truth that I did catch him – I wasn’t re­ally much of a tack­ler and the re­plays clearly showed I caught the guy.

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