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‘Getting Personal’ with Matt Kilgallon

11 February 2015

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Matt Kilgallon is the next player in the hot-seat for our new feature where we get to know the person behind the player...

What’s your earliest memory?

Probably a Christmas Day, coming downstairs with family and seeing all the presents under the tree, looking for your bike or whatever. I enjoyed those days. My mum and dad used to make me play a couple of Christmas songs on the piano before they got up. So if I got up at seven o’clock, the only way they’d come down was if I played a few tunes for them.  

What sort of child were you?

I was just a proper lad. I loved Superman and Batman, all superhero stuff, and loved football. I looked after my sister – she was six years younger than me, so I looked after her a lot as an older brother. I had a good childhood. 

What are you best at outside of football?

Tennis. I love my tennis. I play nearly every day if I can, when I’m off from football. I’m a member of a tennis club in Harrogate, so I go there a lot in the summer.

What would you like to be better at?

Probably things around the house, like putting a wardrobe together. I’d like to be a bit better at DIY and be able to do things in 10 minutes instead of three hours!

Tell us a secret about yourself?

Probably being able to play the piano. I did that for a good six years when I was younger and my biggest regret is probably not carrying on with it. I got up to a good grade and was actually really good at it, but football and other things started interesting me a bit more, but I wish I’d kept it on.

What is your most treasured possession?

I’ve got to say my kids. I’ve got a boy and a girl – Bobby and Menna. Definitely them.

Who is the biggest star name in your phone book?

I’ve got a lot of mates in football. I’ve played for a few clubs – Sheffield United, Sunderland, Leeds – and I’ve kept in touch with players from all of them. So I’ve got some good players in my phonebook, but no-one who I think are stars, they’re just good mates to me.

What has been your most embarrassing moment?

Probably having to dance naked on my first day after moving into the hostel at Leeds, when I was about 15 or 16. That was my most embarrassing. You got a bit of respect off the older lads for doing it, but at the time, there was nothing worse for those two minutes whilst you were up there! Thankfully things like that don’t happen as much now.

Who do you most admire?

Obviously my mum and dad, and I was very close with my granddad. During the school holidays, I used to spend maybe six weeks down in Derby with him and he used to spoil me, so I have great memories of being there.

Your room, your football boots and your car – which do you clean first?

Probably my boots to be honest! We have car cleaners here (at the Senior Training Centre) now. When I said I wish I was better at DIY, I also wish I was better at cleaning my car! My room – pah! I am getting better though, at hanging things up and that. 

Could you survive in the wild on your own?

Probably not. I’d rather save other people first before me, that’s the sort of person I am.

What kind of people do you dislike?

I don’t dislike anyone. Selfish people are probably the worst or anyone who does anything mean to your family, but I try to get along with everyone really.

What makes you angry?

Obviously I don’t like losing – that’s probably my main one. My little three-year-old boy asking me the same question about 500 times in the space of a minute is quite annoying as well! 

How many close friends do you have?

I’ve probably got four really close mates. They were my best men and my ushers at my wedding and are godparents to my kids, so they’ll know who they are if they read this.

What is the funniest thing that you have seen recently?

There’s a lot of clips going round on Instagram that are funny and I do like my comedy films, so probably something off Only Fools and Horses. I’ve probably seen them 100 times, but I still watch them when they’re on.

What is the worst/best decision you have ever made?

My worst one was maybe going to Sunderland, because it didn’t work out too well for me there and there were other clubs interested in me and maybe if I’d waited or just thought about it a bit more. It’s a great club and there’s good people there, but I wish I’d have played a lot more games for them and I might have done that somewhere else. My best decision is probably not getting bored of training every day when I was younger. I used to love it. Other things happen – your mates start going out – but probably my best decision was that I was strong enough to decide that this is what I want to do and that’s what I’m doing now and it’s great. 

What has been your most bizarre life experience?

Probably watching my missus give birth! I know it’s a little bit crude, but I wasn’t quite prepared for it! Even though people tell you what it’s like, to be actually in there at the time … she did well getting me in for the second one, let’s put it that way!

What are three things that you would like to do before you die?

I’d like to go on a safari. Maybe see a bit more of the world, because we only do get a certain amount of time off. Football isn’t that long a career, so when I finish, I’d like to see a bit more. And just watch my kids grow up, hopefully as polite kids who do really well.  

What team(s) do you support outside of football?

Leeds United is my team and I was honoured to play for them. It’s a massive club and I loved my time there. My kids do have a Blackburn kit to come to games in, but they also have a Leeds away kit! Outside of football, when the tennis is on I like watching Andy Murray and I hope he does well.

Are you an animal person? Do you have any pets?

Yes, I used to have a boxer dog and a bulldog, but I don’t have any at the moment.

What last kept you awake at night?

The wind! A mixture of the wind and kids! I live just outside Harrogate and when it gets really windy, it comes through the house a bit, but it’s a lovely house and I love living there.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

Moving. I’m actually moving house and Jason Steele is buying it off me. It’s been a really lovely family house, with the kids and it’s got a lot of memories in there, but we’re moving to make our lives easier really, so that’s probably the hardest decision I’ve made at the moment.  

What film, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, do you have to watch when it’s on?

I like The Full Monty. I just love the northern humour and every time it’s on, it still gets a laugh out of me. I think it’s a great film.

Tell me about the last time a team-mate got angry with you. What happened?

Probably every day in training! That’s just the way it is here, we’re all very competitive people. I do a lot of talking on the pitch and try to help the other lads, but because I’m that vocal, I get the odd expletive thrown at me, but that’s just the way it is! 

What business would you love to start?

I look after my money and I’ve got a few properties. I’m just setting myself up for when I do finish and I hope some of the younger lads here are doing that as well.

Did you have any other jobs when you were younger?

Just when I moved into the hostel when I was at Leeds, my job was cleaning the boots and the physio room, every morning without fail. At the time, when I was doing that, it was full of unbelievable players at Leeds – (Rio) Ferdinand, (Jonathan) Woodgate, (Lucas) Radebe, Robbie Keane, (Mark) Viduka – so I used to sneak in there as they were all coming in and try to hide in the corner and listen to all their stories! It was good times. 

Could you find your way around a foreign country using just a map?

No. My sense of direction isn’t great. I’d rather jump in a taxi and say ‘can you take me here please?’.

What are you most proud of?  

I love it when the kids and my family come and watch me play. And then I’ll take them out for a meal after. Also Christmas Days at my house, when everyone comes round. We have 15 or 16 people there and we put a spread on for them and it’s a good feeling.  

What is your idea of fun? If given a chance to skip training for a day, how would you spend your day off?

Anything really. Take the wife out, meet up with mates, play pool. I just like to have a laugh – with my mates or with my family.

What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

Probably a flower. Don’t ask! I think somebody told me you could eat a flower, when I was younger. I think it was a rose. So I ate the whole thing and didn’t feel too good after. I think it’s just the petals you’re supposed to eat, but I think I can remember eating the stalk and everything!  

If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be and why?

Probably driving to training, with the traffic down the A59 and the back-roads. I’ve travelled everywhere to training, so it’s not too much of a pain, but I’d probably say that.  

What's the one thing you can't live without?

A nice cup of tea after my food.

Would you rather...

... skip Christmas for a year or skip your birthday for a year?


… live without your computer/laptop or your television for the rest of your life?


… be able to fly whenever you want or be invisible?


… have a beautiful house and ugly car or ugly house and beautiful car?

Beautiful house, ugly car.

... visit the world 1,000 years into the past or 1,000 years into the future?


... be rich and ugly or poor and good looking?

Poor and good looking!

… go sky diving or deep-sea diving?

Scuba diving.

… have a chef or a cleaner?


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