Danny Graham's the first to step up to the plate in our new 'Football Origins' feature...
We sat down with the striker to discuss his career so far, his firsts, his favourites and much more.
This piece was in the matchday programme against Charlton Athletic.
First Football Memory?
My first football memory was Euro 96 and the famous Gazza goal against Scotland in a 2-0 win.
Team You Supported Growing Up?
When I was younger I supported Newcastle as a boy. I’ll probably get a bit of stick for that now, having played for Sunderland, but Newcastle was my team growing up.
First Game You Attended?
My first ever game was Newcastle v Leeds, a 1-1 draw at St. James’ Park and Andy Cole scored for Newcastle. Don’t ask me who scored for Leeds though!
First Football Shirt You Owned?
It was obviously a Newcastle United shirt. I remember getting it as a young boy and having a broad smile on my face.
First Pair of Football Boots?
I’m probably too old to remember that to be perfectly honest!
That’s an easy one! My favourite player growing up was Alan Shearer. He’s obviously a Newcastle United legend and also a Blackburn Rovers legend.
First Junior Team?
The first junior team I played for was a team called Ayton Shevies in Washington, up in the North East. And in my first game I managed to score four, so I’ll always remember that one!
Age You Were Scouted?
I was scouted quite late actually. I was 17 years old, playing in the Northern League for Chester-le-Street and the Middlesbrough scout came along to some of our games and I ended up getting a trial after that.
First Professional Deal?
It all happened quite quickly, coming from the Northern League. I signed a YTS form at Middlesbrough and then a year later I signed a pro deal, which was amazing. I still remember the phone call I got whilst sitting in the house with my mum and dad, telling me the deal was ready to sign. It was everything I’d dreamt of really.
My professional debut was Manchester United away, in a 1-1 draw. Stewart Downing actually scored for Middlesbrough that day. I was buzzing to make my Premier League debut and with it being at Manchester United was extra special.
Best Memory in Football?
Playing wise, I would say the promotion we had after the difficulties of the previous season. As a fan, I’d say going to Newcastle v Barcelona and Faustino Asprilla scoring a hat-trick. It was a special atmosphere and a great day.
Best Advice Ever Received?
Always hit the target! In all seriousness, the best bit of advice I’ve ever had was never give up on your dream and that’s something I’ve always stuck with.
Your Advice For Young Players?
Always try and turn your knockbacks into a positive. As a young lad, I had plenty of trials around different clubs and they never seemed to work out, but I had that never-say-die attitude and thankfully it paid off. So never give up!