Bury striker Tom Pope talks us through his football memories
First game you watched live? I can remember vividly watching Port Vale versus Grimsby on a Tuesday night, for some reason. I probably went to one some time before that, but that’s the first one I can recall. I was about five years old and Vale won 1-0, if I am correct. I don’t think it was a classic. but that stayed with me.
First football hero? That would have to be Martin Foyle. He played for Port Vale and that’s the team I’ve ended up supporting all my life. My grandfather used to take me to his games. He was the top goal scorer and I just loved everything about the way he played. He was strong, good in the air, scored plenty of goals and threw himself about – and he’s someone I tried to model myself on as a striker. He was just like Alan Shearer, just maybe not quite as good!
First football boots? They are a pair of Umbro Specials. I don’t remember my first goal with them, but we used to win games with scorelines like 24-0 when I was playing at school and in Crewe’s academy, so there were plenty of opportunities to use them!
First kit? My first kit was my school kit. It was a standard one for the time – blue and white top with long blue socks, so I thought it always looked a bit like Blackburn’s!
First professional game? I made my first-team debut for Crewe when I was about 21. I came on as a substitute against Gillingham away. It wasn’t the best of starts, though, as we lost 1-0. I didn’t get many opportunities as I came on late in the second half. Thankfully, it got better from there.
First goal? I scored on my first start for Crewe, away to Bristol Rovers. It was an equaliser and I clipped it over the keeper. It was a really good feeling to get that first one under my belt.
First red card? Thankfully, I’ve not had one so far! I had a bit of an escape on my home debut, though. I got a yellow card after being on the pitch for only about two seconds – I probably deserved it, too. It was against Bristol City and they were arguing that it was a red, though honestly I don’t think it deserved that. I was fired up after coming on and I lunged in at a lad who had just taken a throw-in. They wanted a red but I was happy to get away with just a yellow!
LIKE SHEARER: Early hero Martin Foyle, in action for for Port Vale