foot­ball firsts

For­mer Ever­ton and Ply­mouth Ar­gyle striker Nick Chad­wick shares his foot­ball mem­o­ries

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE RESULTS -

First match? I am not sure if it is the first game I went to, but my ear­li­est mem­ory is the 1990 FA Cup fi­nal be­tween Manch­ester United and Crys­tal Palace. My dad took me down to Wem­b­ley, and we used to go to Old Traf­ford, too, in those days. It was the day which saved Fergie’s United ca­reer, or so the story goes. We saw some great games – the match when Steve Bruce scored two head­ers against Sheffield Wed­nes­day to win the Premier League for the first time sticks out. I signed for Ever­ton as a young lad, so I started go­ing there as soon as that hap­pened. First hero? Mark Hughes was prob­a­bly my hero, but I re­ally liked a host of strik­ers from that time. Ian Wright was a big one – he was a great fin­isher – and Eric Can­tona. Alan Shearer came a lit­tle bit later, too. Hughes was a great scorer. I will never for­get his dis­tinc­tive vol­leys. He could strike a hell of a ball and was an ag­gres­sive guy. I liked him a lot. First boots? My dad al­ways used to get me a pair of Puma Kings. They were the old black and white ones. The softer the leather the bet­ter for me. I had some Um­bro ones, too, but I al­ways pre­ferred Puma Kings. First kit? I re­mem­ber wear­ing the Italia 90 Eng­land kit on holiday. My par­ents went to Rome not long af­ter and brought me back the Italy shirt from that tour­na­ment, with Sal­va­tore Schillaci on the back! I al­ways had the lat­est Eng­land shirt when I was a kid. I had a cou­ple of Manch­ester United ones as well. I re­mem­ber the yel­low and green one from when I was small. But the Eng­land ones stand out. First game? My first ever game was for Ever­ton against Crys­tal Palace in the League Cup at Good­i­son Park in 2001. It went to sud­den death in the penalty shoot-out and I re­mem­ber Dougie Freed­man had a chance to win it for Palace. If he missed, I was tak­ing one. I was on the half­way line half-hop­ing he would score, which he did. I was pet­ri­fied! Wal­ter Smith was the man­ager then and I don’t re­mem­ber much about it. It was late in ex­tra time when I came on. First goal? It came later that sea­son, in April 2002 against Bolton Wan­der­ers in the Premier League at Good­i­son Park. I re­mem­ber it like it was yes­ter­day. We de­fended a cor­ner in one of David Moyes’ first games and we broke quickly. To­masz Radzinksi went round the keeper and squared it. Most peo­ple would say it was an empty net but it was 18 yards out and was quite daunt­ing! It was an amaz­ing mo­ment. I got three goals that month and, af­ter a tough sea­son, we were re­ally good un­der Moyes. First red card? I had a suc­cess­ful spell at Mill­wall when they went to the FA Cup fi­nal in 2004, but a few years later I was back play­ing against them with Here­ford. Both they and I were strug­gling and I got booked twice at The Den, much to the home fans’ de­light! I gen­er­ally kept my nose clean, other than that.

STRIKE HERO: Mark Hughes

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