Club legend faces the questions
IN the final instalment of our weekly feature before Santa’s visit, 'Big Dave' tells us how a girl made him cry, why he was stopped by police in Handsworth, all about his Baggies debut and plenty more of his first memories and moments.
So, Mooro, what was your first…
I remember my mom dropping me at nursery on the first day and closing the door behind. I was crying my eyes out. One girl obviously had had enough of my crying and she hit me over the head with a toy, which made me cry even more! I was trying to work out why my mom would leave me at such a wicked place. I couldn’t reach the door handle because it was really high so I couldn’t even run away. I cried all day until she picked me up.
Goal you remember scoring?
There was a really important one for Torquay against Preston North End in the Division Three play-off semi-final. The ball came over the top and I swivelled and hit it on the volley. It flew into the bottom corner. It was a great goal, I remember it to this day. It was a really special goal for me.
I brought down Dougie Freedman once at Barnet. He went scampering through on goal and I brought him down as the last man. I ran over to the ref to say that I was just a little bit late in the hope that he would let me off, but he wasn’t having it.
Norman Hurst Villa. They were in the Erdington and Small Heath League. We joined Holly Lane Colts after that. I was with Norman Hurst Villa from about 10 to 14, and then Holly Lane Colts from 14 to 16. I went to Torquay after that.
It was away at Watford. I signed from Portsmouth on the Thursday, travelled down with the team to Watford on the Friday and then was on the bench on the Saturday. I was rooming with Russell Hoult. Tony Butler got sent off and I went on for the last 30 minutes. We ended up winning the game 2-1. It was a great day. The following week I made my home debut and we beat Burnley 1-0. That was when the crowd christened me as 'Big Dave'.
Pair of boots?
A pair of black Hi-Tec’s. The tongue was massive. I remember getting a pair of Paul McGrath’s Adidas ones once. They were probably half a size too small for me at the time but I used to love wearing them because they were from a professional footballer.
Holiday with friends?
When I was at Bradford we went away to Spain in about 1999. We had a great time. All the lads were singing 'That’s Amore' by Dean Martin, but they changed the words to 'That’s Amooro'. Everyone in the bar was singing it.
Detention at school?
That would’ve come at James Watt Junior. The Head Teacher kept me behind for disrupting the class and he gave me a feeler of the cane. He didn’t do it properly but it still hurt on the palm of my hand.
Person to get on the wrong side of 'Big Dave'?
I’ve had a few people get on the wrong side of me actually, but I have dealt with them accordingly at the time. I’ve had problems with people far older than I was but due to my physical size and my competitive edge, I have been able to deal with it all. I have played against a few strikers who have come off a little worse for wear after facing me.
I used to love watching Michael Jordan play basketball. I used to watch a lot of him when I was growing up.
Time you were in trouble?
I remember just walking through Handsworth one day as a youngster and I saw a huge stick so I just picked it up. I was walking to the park when two police cars came right up beside me. They were wondering what I was doing what I was doing with this stick, but all the neighbours came running out the houses shouting at them to leave me alone. In the end the police just took the stick off me and let me walk on.
A black Labrador called Tim.
That would have been Dave Smith when I was an apprentice at Torquay United. My first professional manager was Ivan Golac and that was at Torquay too.
A high-top fade like in Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air when I was about 10.