A CATCH UP WITH...Derek Statham

England's finest left-back of his generation lifts the lid

NAME: Derek Statham
AGE: 57
Time at Albion: 1976-1987

First impressions:
I came to the Club as a kid in 1975 and immediately it felt like home. It was friendly, welcoming. I knew I was in a good place.

Best match:
There are a few that spring to mind: both Valencia games, the 5-3 win at Manchester United...but I'm going to go with my debut. I scored against Peter Shilton in my first-ever professional match and we won 2-0. Not many full-backs can boast about something like that.

Least favourite game:
There are two. Both FA Cup semi-finals. The first one in 1978 was bad enough but I was still young, I hoped to get another chance. But the 1982 semi against QPR was awful. We were huge favourites against a second division side and we totally bottled it - not one of us turned up for that game. It was just awful.

Team mate you'd most like to go for a drink with:
Bryan Robson, Cyrille Regis, Gary Owen and Ally Robertson all liked to go out. The one problem we had was Gary Owen though - because as soon as got to a pub, he'd run into the toilet to avoid buying a round. We soon worked him out and wouldn't order drinks until he got back.

Who did you share a room with - any annoying habits?
I roomed with a few but it was mainly Tony Godden (above). We got on well, looked after each other but the one thing about Tony is that he thought of himself as a good looking bloke so he'd spend ages in the bathroom doing his hair and putting his aftershave on. I had to wait till he was finished before I could go in.

A funny thing happened when...?
It would have to be when we went to China in 1978. We were absolutely bored senseless so typically we did things to amuse ourselves. Ally Robertson had this habit of throwing water at people and he managed to get me. I got my own back by doing it to him so then he decided to do it back. Anyway, we were both half naked and there was Ally chasing me around this hotel with his bucket of water. I took a turn into the hotel lobby, with a Ally Rob still running after me with a bucket of water. Next thing I know, I bump into some people...our chairman Sir Bert Millichip, manager Ron Atkinson and a delegation of Chinese government officials. They didn't look impressed. For some reason that was our one and only trip to China.

The strangest team-talk you've heard?
It was actually when I went to Australia with England. Before our first match at the Sydney Cricket Ground Bobby Robson went through the entire Australian side, addressing each of us about the player we'd directly be up against. He got to their right-winger, turned to me and said: "Derek, this lad is a 'Scottish' right-winger, he's fast, he's direct, he's got a great right-foot, he's a great dribbler, he's got great energy...Derek you'll be absolutely fine." I was there thinking that I was going to be up against some genius like Jim Baxter or Willie Johnston. As it happens, I don't remember who it was. I did ok, we drew 1-1.

Football now, what would you change?
Referees need more help. Offsides and penalties are often wrongly awarded, or not given - we have the technology, why don't we use it to help officials?

Three words to describe your Albion experience: Fun. Enjoyable. Memorable.