Hopefully the first in a series of Interviews with people who are involved in the game in some way. I am very lucky to have been able to ask Charlie Raglan of Chesterfield FC who are currently in League 1 in England. I was fortunate to know Charlie as he was growing up and taught him for a couple of years when he was at Wingate School in Tenerife. A great student who had outstanding football skills and is now making the most of these in his professional career.
DLBR: First of all tell me a little bit about yourself where your from etc……?
CR: Born in Wythenshawe, Manchester. Before the age of one however, I’d moved to Tenerife with my family obviously! Coming up to the age of starting school we returned to the Manchester area to start school. We’d only last a few years where I did start school and welcome the birth of my sister before we moved back to Tenerife. We were very happy in Tenerife however, at the age of 16, as a family came back to the same place in Manchester for the next stages of life. In Tenerife, those school years were great. I went to a great school, met some amazing people and had the opportunity to learn a different culture and language. Football quickly grew into being my passion; playing and watching at every chance. Upon leaving school and Tenerife I was lucky enough to come back to England to play football at a higher level. I signed a 2 year youth team scholarship with Port Vale FC in England’s League Two. I was there for 3 years and was proud to sign my first professional contract. At the end of my time there I spent 2 years playing for 3 different non league clubs before getting my second chance at professional football at the age of 21. The last of those clubs being FC United of Manchester – the breakaway team formed by anti-Malcolm Glazer supporters. It was a great experience and it was from there I signed for Chesterfield FC in League 1. I am now in my second season at the club and massively enjoying my time there.
DLBR: Which Football teams have you played for?
CR: I named a couple of clubs in the last question but in order it will be:
Tenerife before age of 16 – UD Guargacho, Juan Miguel, CD Marino.
England: Port Vale FC
Non league – Hinckley United, Nantwich Town, FC United of Manchester
Current – Chesterfield FC
DLBR: Describe your position, playing style and what you think are your strengths in the game?
CR: Like most youngsters I loved the attacking side of the game, getting rounds of applause for scoring or creating, I thought that’s what I’d always do. I loved playing in central midfield or even behind a striker when I was 15. But when I moved back to England in the professional game I found my opportunity came at right back. I was unsure but quickly learned and from there, the players I tried to copy changed from Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard to Gary Neville and Ashley Cole! I didn’t mind because I was getting picked for the reserves when a lot of my youth team mates weren’t! But even then, as I came to play at a higher level with and against better players I realised I wasn’t really suited to full back. I could do it, as I could also play in midfield. However, to get the best out of me, in every way it now seems I am most definitely a centre back. I don’t feel I was a natural centre back, I think now with how the game is perceived and how players are coached I feel I fit in quite well. I like to step in and use my range of passing, I can head the ball, and I’m not slow! I also enjoy the responsibility of having everyone in front of me and organising which is something I’m getting better at with experience. For me the centre backs I look up to are Rio Ferdinand and John Terry. But I could reel a whole list of names of players I could take something from. I just try to learn and improve everyday!
DLBR:Which team do you support and who were/are your sporting heroes and why?
CR: I supported and still support Manchester United. I was influenced quite quickly from my short spell at school in Manchester and mostly by Mums side of the family. So really, those players were my first heroes; Beckham, Giggs, Scholes.. As I got to know more about the game and play more myself – I looked up to anyone who was doing well and I thought I could be like. Ronaldinhos tricks to Henrys finishing. I tried to copy everything in all different situations you find on a football pitch!
DLBR:Your first pair of football boots that you remember wearing?
CR: My first pair of boots, my first pair that I remember and I have no idea why I got these ones, were one of the 1st Nike Tiempos. Early 2000s. The only players I can picture wearing them were Didi Hamman and Darren Fletcher!
DLBR:What do you look for in a pair of boots?
CR: I’d think I’d lie if I didn’t say I didn’t take into account what the top top players are wearing. I wear Nike Tiempos now but I have been through quite an array of makes and brands and styles. And the biggest factor for that was which player did I like at the time and what have they got on! Now I think because I wear them nearly every day, I do greatly look into the comfort and feel of the boot. Colour and cost also take a seat on the jury. I don’t see myself wearing anything too bright! For the last 5 years I have worn Nike. Mainly Tiempos, although I loved the last edition of the total 90.
DLBR: What boots are you currently wearing for matches?
CR: For matches now I wear the Nike Tiempo Legend V. Have done for the past 2 years.
DLBR: Do you use the same type of boots for training?
CR: I have a pair of studs and moulds – the same boot. I mainly use the moulds for training and the studs for matches. I have recently acquired a pair of Nike Magistas Opus. The new style (black with a light blue heel) at first I wasn’t sure on them but after a couple of weeks of training I am beginning to like the comfort and feel they give. Although, the quality of the boot - the actual material, especially where the leather meets the sole – it’s started to split.
DLBR: Before choosing your current boots did you try other brands and other types of boot before settling for a pair, if yes what did you try?
CR: Like I said I spent my younger days, right up until I was 19 trying all sorts from Total 90s, Adidas Predators, Adipures, Mercurial Vapors, Copa Mundials and even Puma Kings!
DLBR: Do you have a boot sponsor/supplier for your boots?
CR: I don’t, no. Not yet anyway!! haha
DLBR: Do you have favourite boot that you have used in previous seasons that you can no longer get?
CR: Have to be the Total 90s! Tiempos became the next best thing if I’m honest. How they evolved over the years – I don’t think they ever did a bad boot!
DLBR; How important is it for you that you have the ‘best’ boot available to you?
CR: It’s very important! My feet are what I use every day and the boots are what I wear everyday! You need to feel comfortable and confident that they won’t let you down in anyway and as vain as it may sound – that they look good!
DLBR: How much do you believe that all the technology companies put into the boots helps with performance?
CR: I know that they’re always trying to improve. I couldn’t tell you exactly the work that goes into making the boots better. However, technology has transformed football over recent years in every way so I suppose football boots were always going to be one of the market leaders. They’re lighter, comfier have better specifics so certain players get exactly what they need! The choice is frightening!
DLBR: Over the years as football boots have changed, what do you think is the best thing companies have done to improve the performance of the football boot?
CR: Maybe like I said, the options for different players. I quickly realised I wasn’t a Vapor/Mercurial type of player but there are tons of players they are perfect for! The boots are light, smooth and sharp! Every boot has got something different for the player.
DLBR: Is their anything about the newer models of football boots that you don’t like?
CR: Possibly the quality of the make like I touched on before; the splitting at the sole has happened a few times in different pairs. Otherwise maybe just the colours they do now. It’s hard to find a dark blue never mind a black boot!
DLBR: Finally, what advice would you give to younger people trying to make it in the world of football?
CR: I think going from my experiences you don’t have to be the best player. I once got told you have to love the game. Really love the game. Immerse yourself in the game as that gives you is a desire and hunger to not only play well but whatever the result is you have to want to improve and practice. Practising is a skill in itself, the best players practice more than they play games. Look for new things all the time and you do have to be selfish. A lot of people won’t understand the sacrifices, especially as young people. However, learning to say no and putting everything into it – you won’t go far wrong with that.
Thank you so so much to Charlie for answering these questions and good luck to him for the rest of the season. As a teacher its great to see former students go on and do so well for themselves. Charlie worked ever so hard on his skills from a very young age and if I remember rightly im sure he attended The Bobby Charlton Schools in the UK during the summer holidays etc... Just goes to show that with the correct attitude and a lot of effort you really can make it as a professional footballer.