A CATCH UP WITH....Kevin Donovan

The Wembley hero reveals all

NAME: Kevin Donovan
AGE: 44
Time at Albion: 1992-1997

First impressions:
It was actually my parents who came up first - they were invited to a game, while I was still with Huddersfield. The club had an interest and wanted to show my parents around. They got back and my dad said 'You have to sign for this club'. Once I got down I saw the size of the ground, the traditions, referances to great players from the past.

Best match:
Obviously people mention the Swansea play-off game, but there are two others that spring to mind. Wembley in 1993 was brilliant - I'd never played there before and to score was just unbelievable. And then there was the 3-2 win over Wolves the following season, when I scored the winner and reminded Andy Thompson of the score...

Least favourite game:
We played Halifax in the FA Cup, which was a big deal for me as I was from there and I had loads of friends and family going. I even knew a couple of their players. And then we went and lost. From there we went straight to Fiorentina for an Anglo-Italian Cup game. From Halifax to was a surreal couple of days.

Team-mate you'd most like to go for a drink with:
We had a few good lads. Occasionally we played golf and we had some decent golfers. But definitely not Daryl Burgess. He had all the gear but couldn't play to save his life. He still can't. And then there was Stuart Naylor. I've heard of people being carried out of clubs, but he was actually carried into Liberty's on one occasion as he was a bit worse for wear. We knew the bouncers well and they helped us carry him in. 

Who did you share a room with - any annoying habits.
Hammy took me under his wing and used to keep getting calls, from his family and friends. And then when he'd finished talking to them, he would try to tell me stories and anecdotes...but they were so boring that I'd fall asleep. He would stay up and watch Sex In The City. He was a big fan.

A funny thing happened when....?
We had a presentation night at Penns Hall in Sutton Coldfield. Anyway, we'd all been out for the day so some of us were struggling a bit by the evening. In the main foyer of the hotel they had this huge glass cabinet, which had a lock across the front of it. Somehow Gary Robson managed to find a key to open this cabinet - so he climbed inside and asked us to lock it. He was stood in there, like a statue, for the best part of an hour. Some people didn't even notice him.

Strangest team-talk you've heard?
So it was my first home game. I'm still in awe at being given a team talk by Ossie Ardiles and Keith Burkinshaw when eventually we're told: 'right lads the tots are ready?' And we walked into the doctor's room to find 20 plastic cups full of whiskey shots. I'd never seen anything like it. I had my tot and then got offered another. I spent the first 15 minutes of that game seeing double. I scored a goal that day so, naturally, it was a tradition I had to uphold after that.

Football now, what would you change?
Interaction between players and fans isn't the same. I've still got close friends who I met as a player and in touch to this day. It's a shame there isn't more of that now. I'd also like to see the FA Cup given more prominence. It's a brilliant competition that has been devalued.

Three words to describe your Albion experience: Fans. Team-mates. Memories.