Wigan Athletic defender Jason Pearce talks us through his football memories
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