Former Fulham and Bristol City striker Leroy Rosenior talks us through his football memories
First match? The first time I went to a live game was at Selhurst Park, to watch Crystal Palace in the late 1970s, and they won 2-0. I went with my future brotherin-law, who was a big Palace fan, and it was great fun. I forget who they played, but Terry Venables was the manager and Dave Swindlehurst scored twice. First hero? My first football hero was Peter Houseman, who was a left-winger playing for Chelsea in the 1960s and 70s. Unfortunately, he died in a car crash, aged 31. But he played wide left for Chelsea and I thought he was great. It was around the time when they released that song Blue Is The Colour. Chelsea were the most flamboyant side. They had Peter Osgood and Charlie Cooke, and I always liked wide players. First boots? I had George Best Gola boots when I was a kid, which were good. But my favourite boots were my first professional ones – a pair of Puma Kings with a white heel. I loved them! In those days, we didn’t have a new pair every week. If they got torn, then you had to get them repaired! I remember doing that time and again. I had them for four years and kept having them repaired. First kit? That would have been the England kit which had Admiral sponsorship all over it. It was the one that had red, blue and white on the shoulders and was really itchy! We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, so I did not have a collection. The only shirts I have left are the ones my son Liam gave me. I have his England Under-21 shirt and his Fulham shirt when he made his debut. All the rest I have given to charity or raffles. First game? My debut was for Fulham at Filbert Street against Leicester City when I was 17. It did not end well because I broke my collarbone! I fell on my shoulder in the first 20 minutes. We lost 2-0 as well, so it was a miserable day. I got to hospital and found out the extent of the damage. I was stuck indoors for six weeks because I could not wash under my armpits! It was horrible. I got fit again but did not get another game for a year. First goal? My first goals were in my next game at Craven Cottage. I finally got to make my home debut against Derby County and scored twice in a 2-2 draw. It was a wonderful day. I still have pictures of it. Every club I played for, I scored on my home debut, so I was in the good books of my supporters early on. While doing research for my recentlyreleased autobiography It’s Only Banter, I was looking at pictures of it and I can see the fans going mental when I put the header away. First red card? I was sent off twice in my professional career. The first time was at Upton Park not long after I moved to West Ham. We were playing Chelsea and I had scored twice. We were 3-1 up and it was going well. And then Steve Clarke just trod on me when I was on the ground. I leapt up and grabbed his throat. I quickly realised what I had done, but the referee spotted it and pulled out the red card!
FOOTBALL HERO: Peter Houseman