Wi­gan Ath­letic de­fender Ja­son Pearce talks us through his foot­ball mem­o­ries

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FIRST ROUND -

First game you watched live? I went to Chelsea against Ever­ton with my dad Andy and my brother Scott. I was young – prob­a­bly about ten – and it was when Chelsea had Gian­franco Zola, Gian­luca Vialli and guys like that. My whole fam­ily are Chelsea fans. We drew 2-2 and it’s a great mem­ory. I didn’t know what I wanted to be and once I watched the game I knew I wanted to play foot­ball. I got the buzz of the fans and it was great. First foot­ball hero? John Terry. I wanted to be a de­fender and he was at my team and came through the ranks – plus he is English and a bril­liant player. I have played against him a cou­ple of times, for Portsmouth and Leeds, and I got signed shirts from both, which was bril­liant. First pair of boots? A pair of black New Bal­ance boots – I must have been about 12 or 13. They were a gift from my mum San­dra and dad. I think they were about two sizes too big. I can’t re­ally run now but I def­i­nitely couldn’t run in those! Since then I have pretty much al­ways worn Um­bro Spe­cialis. First kit? I had all the Chelsea kits grow­ing up – it was either Chelsea or England. The first one was prob­a­bly from about 1994. It had ‘Au­to­glass’ on the front and ‘Zola 25’ on the back. It was great but I was al­ways a de­fender so there aren’t too many mem­o­ries of wheel­ing away in it like Zola! First pro­fes­sional game? Not­ting­ham For­est away, for Bournemouth. I just re­mem­ber that it was an amaz­ing crowd – it was the open­ing day of the sea­son and the at­mos­phere was great. I’m left­footed but I played at right-back and we drew 0-0 so it was good to get a clean sheet. I was mark­ing Kris Com­mons, which was a good chal­lenge. First pro­fes­sional goal? That was for Bournemouth as well, away at Southend, but I had to wait a while af­ter my de­but. We won the game and I scored, so I was de­lighted. It was a header, a de­cent one – I got across my man and headed it in. My mum and dad were at the game as well, so it was nice to score in front of them. First red card? I got sent off in the play-off semi-fi­nal for Bournemouth against Hud­der­s­field in 2011. I was hard done-by – I won the ball cleanly in the mid­dle of the pitch but the referee sent me off. We went on to lose on penal­ties. It was re­ally frus­trat­ing that we didn’t go up, then I left the club so it was a dis­ap­point­ing way to end my time there.

HERO: Chelsea de­fender John Terry in­spired

Ja­son

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