Bradley Dack became the latest Rovers player to step up to the plate in our 'Football Origins' feature...
We sat down with the attacking ace to discuss his career so far, his firsts, his favourites and much more.
First Football Memory
Going to a game with my dad. My dad used to play football on a Saturday for a team called Wagners and I’ve got vague memories of going to watch him play, when I was about five or six maybe, and I kept on trying to grab the flag from one of his mates who was running the line! And I remember they kept on telling me that I wasn’t allowed to touch it – that was my first football memory.
Team You Supported Growing Up
Manchester United. Most people from London supported Man United at that age, in the 90s, because they were so good. I loved David Beckham as well. My dad’s a Spurs fan, so he tried to get me to support Spurs, but once I started watching the telly and United were on every week, it was Man United.
First Game You Attended
I think the first professional game I ever saw I’m sure Rovers were involved! It was Charlton against Rovers at The Valley, but I don’t really remember much about the game. So the first one I always say I remember was at the old Wembley – England versus Ukraine. They won 2-0, Robbie Fowler and Tony Adams scored, and it was the game before they lost 1-0 to Germany. We missed the start, because there was delays on the tube, so we missed the national anthems.
First Football Shirt You Owned
I think it was a Tottenham one with Pony on the front. That was my dad trying to make me a Tottenham fan. I had the whole kit! So that was my first shirt and I’ve still got it!
First Pair of Football Boots
I had a pair of Nike boots, but they’re hard to explain. I’ve actually tried to Google them to find them, but you can’t find them anywhere! They were black with a brown stripe down the side. Andy Cole used to wear them and that was the first pair of boots I wore. My mum and dad have kept them, along with all my shirts and all my boots. There’s about three suitcases worth in the loft at my mum’s house. We actually got them all out a couple of years ago … there’s hundreds of shirts and every pair of boots! The boots I wear now I just pass them on to my dad or my mates, so it’s nice to do that for them.
It changed over the years. David Beckham was my idol. Then that turned into Wayne Rooney. I actually loved Andy Cole as well. I had videos of Andy Cole, because he obviously used to score loads of goals. But overall, Steven Gerrard was the player I looked up to the most. I loved the way he played and that was hard for me to say that as a United fan, but I used to love watching him.
First Junior Team
A team called Teviot Rangers in Plumstead, round the corner. I played for their Under-7s. Because they were just down the road, I said to my dad ‘can I go and train?’, so he took me down there and the first session I remember I hated it and didn’t want to go back! But he persuaded me to go back and I ended up loving it! I remember the first game we played. We played against a team called Fleetdown, who played in orange. Back then we used to play two games on a Sunday and I remember the first game I ever played, I scored five and we won 5-0! And their manager said to my dad ‘can he not play the next game’, so he didn’t play me for the second game. We only stayed there a couple of months and I ended up going to another team, Thamesmead Town, but for the older age group, so that’s who I class as my first real club.
Age You Were Scouted
I was seven. I got scouted by Wimbledon – the old Wimbledon. A guy called Tony Craig, who gave my dad a card. He took me down for training at Coldharbour Leisure Centre in South London. I trained there for a year and then at the end of that year, the Academy started the next season, so there was trials from all the centres that Wimbledon had set up and I was the only one from South London to actually get into the Academy. Most of the boys were from Surrey. And that was tough for my mum and dad I think because we trained over in Esher, which from South London is a long way. It’s around the M25 and it used to take us about an hour and 20 minutes to get there, so we did that for a year and then Wimbledon folded and became MK Dons, and they asked us to go up there, but it was too far at that age, so I had a few clubs who asked me to come and play for them, all London clubs – Charlton, West Ham, Chelsea, Arsenal, Millwall, Fulham – and then we chose Charlton because it was the closest one to home.
It was the 2012-13 season, which sounds not long ago now, but it was quite a long time ago. It was eight years ago. It was a League Cup game. The season started that year with a League Cup game on a Tuesday night and it was Bristol City away at Ashton Gate. They were in the Championship at the time and we were in League Two with Gillingham. And I came on for the last 25 minutes and we won 2-1, so it was a good debut.
Best Memory in Football
I think getting promoted from League One. That whole season is probably my best memory. It was just great to be involved in it, at a massive club like Rovers. It was brilliant. On a personal note, I always found it nice to receive the awards for League One Player of the Year, the two times I’ve done it, and getting into the EFL Teams of the Year. Those are good memories.
Best Advice Ever Received
My dad – ‘don’t get too high on the highs and don’t get too low on the lows’. And I try to stick by that.