foot­ball firsts

For­mer Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge and Barnet winger Jon Nurse shares his foot­ball mem­o­ries

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE RESULTS -

First match? That would have been Wim­ble­don v Liver­pool at Sel­hurst Park. It sticks out very clearly be­cause it was the day Michael Owen scored his first goal. He made his de­but off the bench and slot­ted one in. Wim­ble­don were my lo­cal team and we used to get free tick­ets at school. I did not go to too many games be­cause trav­el­ling from Carshalton to Sel­hurst Park was a pain and we al­ways broke down on the way home! But I was a Liver­pool fan, and I could not miss that one. First hero? John Barnes, no hes­i­ta­tion with that. He was my role model. I used to love him and the way he ran with the ball was amaz­ing. I wanted to be John Barnes. I idolised him. He skipped past peo­ple with ease and had lots of tricks and flicks. That is what made him so great. First boots? I think they were a pair of Mitres – they were not the best pair around! A lot of kids had Puma Kings and World Cup boots, but we could not af­ford that. I played at Malden Vale when I was 11 and that is where it all started for me. I am still in­volved now with Met Po­lice and at the Sur­rey FA so I still have a few pairs. First kit? I am a mas­sive Liver­pool fan and I dreamed I was get­ting a kit for my birth­day. My dad came home and he got me a Wim­ble­don kit! I had to be grate­ful, but I went up to my room and had a lit­tle cry! I was prob­a­bly 11 at the time. I re­mem­ber be­ing so ex­cited and rip­ping the pa­per open to see the blue shirt and I hated wear­ing it. I never did get a Liver­pool one! First game? My pro­fes­sional de­but was for Da­gen­ham away to Stock­port in 2007. I had played Non-League foot­ball for years and then fi­nally got my break. We trav­elled up on the train and we lost 1-0, but we were un­lucky to lose. Their cen­tre­back was Ash­ley Wil­liams, who now plays for Ever­ton. I grew up in the parks and the idea of play­ing at these big sta­di­ums was a dream come true. The whole ex­pe­ri­ence was amaz­ing. Be­ing older meant I def­i­nitely ap­pre­ci­ated it more be­cause you wanted it so much more. First goal? My first goal was against Southend in the FA Cup that sea­son. I played against Nicky Bai­ley and we came through at Sut­ton United to­gether. He went off to Barnet and I went to Stevenage. We lost in the end, but I got a header. It was a re­lief be­cause I had not scored in the early weeks and then got in­jured. It was at the far stick from a cor­ner, so the feel­ing was amaz­ing. That goal re­ally got me go­ing. I played out wide a lot in those days. First red card? My first red card was late on at Barnet, when I was shown a red for a studs-up tackle. I rolled over the top of the ball and caught the lad. In my eyes it was not a red card at all. I was quite dis­ci­plined through­out my ca­reer and kept my nose fairly


BOY­HOOD IDOL: Liver­pool’s John Barnes

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