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Meet our latest Weekend Wonder: Chris Kamara
"Unbelievable, Jeff!"

Weekend Wonders: Chris Kamara with FourFourTwo's very own Weekend Wonder Ben Welch

Weekend Wonders: Chris Kamara with FourFourTwo's very own Weekend Wonder Ben Welch

With Chris Kamara, what you see is what you get: enthusiasm, laughter and an unmistakable ’70s-porn afro-and-moustache combo. In his playing days Kamara was a tough tackling midfielder. The former Leeds, Sheffield United and Bradford City player has taken that no-nonsense approach to the screen as a pundit for Sky Sports.

‘Kammy’, as he is affectionately known by all, was put to the test by Weekend Wonders at the launch of his new book Footynotes: The Ultimate Countdown of Football Trivia. His answers are "Unbelievable, Jeff!"

It’ll soon be Movember (an annual November charity event in which chaps grow moustaches). Would you consider growing a more elaborate moustache for charity: an Adolf Hitler or a Victorian weightlifter, perhaps?
[Fits of laughter] I’ll do anything for charity. [FFT: Are you sure?] Hmmmm, yeah, I think so!

It’s Ballon D’Or month – who’d get your vote?
It’s hard to look beyond Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s a foregone conclusion. He’s been fantastic. I’m a big fan of Lionel Messi, I love watching him play, but I don’t think he’s done enough at Barcelona this year, whereas Ronaldo played a big part in Manchester United winning the Premier League and Champions League. You only have to look at the goals he scored from midfield to see what a key player he is.

Did you ever play Sunday League?
When I was around 15 years old I was half-decent so I used to play against the men on a Sunday for Beechwood & Easter Youth Club. They used to look at this skinny kid and think "He’s not going to be much cop", but I did all right in those days. Even so, it was rough, especially for a little black kid, but I just loved playing football.

Any tips for our Weekend Wonders on how to play with a hangover?
I’ve got to be honest, I’ve done that plenty of times – but only since I packed in playing professionally – and it’s not easy. But once you start running around you feel so much better than the night before. You just need one more beer before you kick off.

Would you ever play Sunday League again?
My two sons play for Wakefield North West and although I can’t play on a Sunday because I do Goals on Sunday they've got midweek games and when the late nights come around I play for them. The respect I've received from opposing players has been fantastic – it really has. I’ve played three games for them now and we’ve won all three games. The last team they played were really respectful – we slaughtered them 6-1 [Breaks into peals of laughter]. I just love playing football.

I play like...
Although I never reached his level, I’d say I played a bit like Graeme Souness. Not being pushed around in midfield was the thing Souey had and I think I got a little bit of that, but I didn’t have his fantastic ability.

Other people say I play like...
No one, really. I broke onto the scene very early; I was only 16 when I made my debut for Portsmouth, playing up front alongside future Arsenal manager George Graham. Ian St John was my first manager. I was in the Royal Navy for three months and when we played against Portsmouth youth team I scored a couple of goals; they bought me out of the Navy for £200. It still goes down as the worst deal in Portsmouth’s history!

Best football achievement
Being part of the Leeds squad that won the last First Division title [in 1992, the final season before the Premier League]. As a kid it was my ambition to play for Middlesbrough and my dream to play for Leeds, and I managed to do both. At Leeds we won promotion back to the First Division in 1990 after an eight-year exile. We won at Bournemouth on the final day of the season and I provided the cross for Lee Chapman to stick the ball in the back of the net. Howard Wilkinson was screaming at me from the touchline because I kept bombing forward from midfield; he got David Batty to warm up because he was going to bring me off if I made one more forward run. I made one more forward run, crossed it... and Lee Chapman scored with a header! Wilkinson told Batty to sit back down and said to me “Now sit in that midfield!” – and I did until the end of the game.

Worst moment in footballI
I picked up an injury at Coventry the following season and did my ankle ligaments. I stayed on when I should have come off and it developed into an Achilles injury. I was going to retire at the time – I’d had enough. Wilko and the doctors couldn’t find out the cause of it. Eventually Wilko sent me to another surgeon and he managed to cure it for me. I was at a club I loved and I wanted to be successful, and to be out for 11 months was a nightmare.

Best player in our team
When I was at Leeds it was Gordon Strachan by a mile. We had a great side, but Strach was pure class.

Team supported
Middlesbrough and Leeds. Boro were my hometown team and Leeds were the top team. When I played for Beechwood & Easter Youth Club the manager used to take me to watch Leeds on a Saturday and if I wasn’t at Elland Road I’d go and watch Boro.

My football hero
My heroes when I was a kid were Eric McMordie, an Irish midfielder who played for Middlesbrough, and Johnny Giles when he was at Leeds. Graeme Souness, when he was playing for Liverpool, was fantastic. They were the players I always wanted to emulate.

My football villain
Because I liked to get stuck in I used to have a lot of battles on the pitch. I had a few clashes with Souness, Steve McMahon, Terry Hurlock – who I later played alongside at Brentford. There was no quarter given. In one match at Millwall me and Hurlock both got sent off - and his dad hit me in the players’ lounge!

Why I'm a Weekend Wonder
It’s in my blood – I grew up with it. The person you see on Soccer Saturday is a football fan. I’m going to a football match to enjoy myself, I try not to see any negatives. Even when the game is not that exciting I look at the positive side – the defensive side. On Soccer Saturday you'll see me maybe two or three times a season saying a game is not great. On a Sunday I can sit down and give a considered view on Goals on Sunday. I’d be lost without football; it’s as simple as that.

To win a signed copy of Footynotes: The Ultimate Countdown of Football Trivia click here.
 
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