foot­ball firsts

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE RESULTS -

For­mer Tran­mere, Rotherham and Bur­ton de­fender Ian Sharps talks us through his foot­ball mem­o­ries

First match? I re­mem­ber go­ing to Tran­mere Rovers ver­sus Hal­i­fax when I was a kid. My fam­ily were big Tran­mere fans and I used to go to watch them ev­ery week. I re­mem­ber ev­ery­one say­ing that Frank Wor­thing­ton was re­ally good when he was play­ing and that was one of my ear­li­est mem­o­ries. So, that Hal­i­fax game must have been be­tween 1985 and 1987. First hero? I re­mem­ber watch­ing the 1986 FA Cup fi­nal when Liver­pool beat Ever­ton 3-1. I was a Red and my brother was a Blue be­cause we al­ways used to do things dif­fer­ently, as brothers do. At half­time, Ever­ton were win­ning 1-0, so he was quite happy, but come full-time he was pretty up­set. I didn’t have a spe­cific hero. I ad­mired the whole Liver­pool team, but that game was the first one I re­mem­ber prop­erly. First boots? I am a black boot man. I got my first pair when I was young and they were com­pletely black Pa­trick boots – a far cry from what you see nowa­days! I still only wear black boots now, maybe be­cause of the first pair I was given. First kit? The first kit I re­mem­ber get­ting was a Liver­pool kit in the 1980s. There were no num­bers and names on the back in those days, so it was just a red home strip. I was a Tran­mere and Liver­pool fan back then. First game? The first club I played for when I was a kid was Ne­ston No­mads – the team was based in the next town to us – and I have now come full cir­cle and played for the Vets the other week. In terms of pro­fes­sional foot­ball, in 1998 I re­mem­ber miss­ing a header on my de­but for Tran­mere, which was against Sunderland. I was only 17 and I also got taken off in­jured that game, so it wasn’t the best start to my ca­reer at all! It took me an­other three years to get back in the team. First goal? I scored from the half­way line for Ne­ston No­mads, but it was not Beck­hamesque or any­thing. It was a long de­fender’s punt down the pitch and, be­cause the goal­keep­ers were so small at that age, it just went over his head! I think my first pro­fes­sional goal was for Tran­mere in a 3-1 loss against Chel­tenham. Their goal­keeper spilled it and I tapped in from close range First red card? It was a game for Tran­mere on the last day of the sea­son – maybe 2003-04. I was run­ning in front of the striker and some­how got pe­nalised for pulling him back. It didn’t make any sense to me be­cause I was in front! It was against Grimsby Town but we ended up win­ning 2-1. I missed only the first game of the next sea­son. I didn’t re­ceive too many red cards in my ca­reer. Mainly they were ei­ther for pro­fes­sional fouls af­ter bring­ing down the last man or re­ceiv­ing a sec­ond book­ing.

RED HEAVEN: Ian Rush rounds Ever­ton keeper Bobby Mimms to score for Liver­pool in the 1986 FA Cup fi­nal

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