Karen Carney on Jasper Carrott

The 144- cap former England star chats brilliant Brummies, unfulfille­d aims... and fighting wolves

- Interview Nick Moore Illustrati­on Bill Mcconkey

Hi Karen. You’re from Solihull – who is the greatest Brummie of all time?

Hi. Ooh, wow, that’s a tricky one. Ozzy Osbourne maybe, or Jack Grealish… probably Jasper Carrott? You’ve caught me off guard. How about JRR Tolkien, who wrote Lord of the Rings? He lived two minutes around the corner from ours. He’s right up there.

What about Sir Alfred Bird, founder of Bird’s custard? What a Brummie. We all owe him an immense debt.

Oh, that’s so true. Who doesn’t like a bit of custard? I like vegan custard. My mum is obsessed with bananas and custard. We grew up on that stuff.

Very nice. Are you horrified by the Brummie accents on Peaky Blinders?

There are some absolute shockers.

I’m obsessed with Peaky Blinders – I’ve amassed so much merchandis­e it’s ridiculous. I’ve got the board game, a cool framed picture, some Peaky

Blinders coasters. People keep giving it to me. And some of the accents might not be perfect, but the show has put Birmingham on the map for people all over the world. That makes me happy. It’s an ambition to be an extra on it, though if they’re on the last series, it’s probably never going to happen.

Who’s your favourite character?

It’s got to be the main man Thomas Shelby, right? He’s a great watch. And Tom Hardy was pretty badass.

FFT lived in London for 20 years and never met a Brummie. Do they just refuse to leave Birmingham?

All my family are still there. They’re in a one- mile radius of each other. But I bump into a Brummie here and there.

You once wrote a dissertati­on on “the impact of caffeine on repeated sprint performanc­e in elite female football”. What was the upshot?

I also have a masters in psychology. For the caffeine study: it is good for you, in terms of performanc­e. It takes a certain amount of time to get in the system, and then it will wear off. But whether it’s coffee or gum, it works.

FFT has already had four cuppas this morning. Should we start doing some squat thrusts right now?

It depends when you had the caffeine. If it was a while back, the performanc­e effects will have worn off by now. And the more coffee you drink, the more immune you can become to its effects.

Quick, to the kettle! Now, you’re in the Birmingham City Hall of Fame, the England Hall of Fame and the National Football Museum Hall of Fame. We’ve always wondered, what is it like actually inside a ‘ Hall of Fame’? Is it essentiall­y a corridor?

I’ve not actually been inside the most recent one, because of COVID. I got that award at Wembley, which was really nice. But generally it’s a photo, or a piece of memorabili­a within the museum... so it’s pretty nice.

If you could be inducted into one other Hall of Fame, which one would it be? The Rodeo Hall of Fame? The Circus Hall of Fame?

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, so I’ll stay happy with what I’ve got! But if I could have a different talent, I wouldn’t mind being in the movies. That would have been cool – maybe I’d have made it into Peaky Blinders...

According to a recent survey that wasted the time of all involved, nine per cent of women and 16 per cent of men believe they could beat a wolf in a fight to the death. Are you in that elite nine per cent? Absolutely not. I’ve got a huge fear of animals to be honest… all animals. I’m not an animal fan. The wolf would win.

Tragic. Finally, would you rather be five years younger or take a cheque for one million dollars?

Oh wow… I’d have to go for five years younger to get some more football in!

Thanks for chatting Karen!

Karen was talking on behalf of Samsung


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