My Favourite Shirt - Part Twenty
Part Twenty of My Favourite Shirt has reporter and commentator, Derek Clark, answering questions about his 2002-2003 Senegal Home Shirt as well as other questions about that Senegal team, his podcast and football.
Derek with his cherished 2002-2003 Senegal Home Shirt
Why is this your favourite shirt? It's a strange one really, it all stems back to 2002 when my friends and I conducted a World Cup sweepstake in my secondary school. It was a proper well organised event and we staged the draw like it was the actual World Cup draw itself. Anyway, my friend pulled out Senegal as his team and wanted me to find him their shirt so he could go all out and support them. I couldn't find the shirt anywhere in the UK but managed to track it down in a French online store so I bought two as I decided I'd support them also. I guess it's a favourite of mine because it encapsulated a summer where we'd watch pretty much every single game of that tournament, often skipping school to do so. Not to mention Senegal's remarkable run to the quarter finals which really endeared them to us.
Does it bring back any memories of that Senegal team, the 2002 World Cup or of anything else to you? Yes absolutely! Who can forget their 1-0 win over France in the opening game? I remember bunking off school to watch the game in my friends house with our Senegal jersey's on going crazy when Papa Bouba Diop tucked the ball away. We'd get up ridiculously early to watch some of the games as they were in Japan and South Korea but we didn't care as we loved watching them and any other game that was on. I was gutted when they lost a golden goal to Turkey in the quarter finals as I truly felt they could've gone on to the semi finals at least, it was a crazy World Cup that year and it's certainly a case of what might have been for that Senegalese side.
Any players from that team who stood out for you or anyone you tried to model your game on on the 5-a-side pitch? I loved that team, they had so much character about them. From Tony Sylva in goal, who seemed to come out about 50 yards to gather cross balls and make mental saves. Big Papa Bouba Diop or Paps Boobs Deeps as we called him, was a midfield powerhouse and who can forget the talisman El Hadji Diouf. I know he's not everyone's cup of tea but I loved him, he had an air of arrogance about him but he could back it up. I remember him playing keepy ups in front of the Uruguay bench during a game which infuriated them so much it sparked a mini riot on the pitch. In a way, I liked to model myself on him when playing 5's, I just loved his playing style and 'me against the world' attitude he seemed to have.
How do you feel that shirts from the then compare to the shirts of today? Shirts nowadays all feel very samey, the Adidas and Nike shirts all appear to take the same template and are boring for me. For example, the Senegal shirt I'm wearing is made by Le Coq Sportif, you very rarely see shirts from them anymore but the ones they do produce are classics in my opinion. I love shirts from my time as a youngster, I just feel there was more imagination and thought that went into them, yes many are garish but I like that and that's why you're seeing this rise in popularity of people buying old football shirts.
You host a podcast called Talkin Fitbaw. Could you let the readers know more about it and when it usually airs? Yes, I had been meaning to start the podcast for a while but I finally got round to launching it in the summer. It's basically a weekly interview with some of the more colourful and interesting characters in the game, whether that be players, managers, coaches, writers or agents. I love learning about ex-pro's careers and this was the main reason for launching the podcast. We've had some cracking guests on so far and the audience numbers are growing week on week so that's pleasing. It airs every Wednesday and you can find us on Apple, Spotify, Soundcloud and Podbean.
What else do you do? I'm a football reporter and commentator, covering matches throughout England for the likes of talkSPORT, RTE, Sky News Radio Sport and others. I think I was always destined to follow this career path as I used to commentate as a youngster when playing football and once you realise you're never going to make it as a player then I thought the next best thing would be to report on the game.
What was the first game that you went to and what was the score? My memory is a little hazy but I think it was back in 1992, Dumbarton 0 Rangers 5 in the Scottish League Cup. I don't remember much as I was only 6 years old but I do remember going to some Rangers games later on in that season and also remember watching their heroic run in the Champions League on TV that season when they came really close to reaching the final.
Click here to read the other My Favourite Shirts Q&A's.
Interested in telling the world about your favourite shirt? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be sent the questions and asked to upload an image of you wearing or holding the shirt in your reply. You don't have that shirt? Not to worry! A pictutre of the shirt will suffice.