DICKSON ETUHU TELL HIS STORY: Honestly, I Was More Interested In Athletics Than Football

 My earliest memories are hardly typical of a Premier league player. Though, I remember playing with alloy rim of a bicycle tyre, using stick to roll it along and steer it. Yeah, I was born in the ancient city of Kano in 8th June 1982. I don’t really remember it too well. It’s just little things like beating a tyre to roll it and selling things on the street. I also remember an incident were I fell inside the gutter, scrapping up my heels and cutting up my whole leg.

My family moved to England when I was seven. My sister had cancer and couldn’t get adequate medical treatment in Nigeria. My mother was travelling back and forth to London, and we moved over there to be near her during her latter days. Unfortunately, she passed away.

Life was hard for my family in London and there were times when I and my elder brother Kelvin couldn’t afford the bus fare to go to school. My Mum used to have four or five cleaning jobs. I realized that I had to grow up quick and be a man and help my Mum. She’s an amazing woman and I owe her so much. She worked really hard for us over the years.

It was hard at first when we settled at Peckam, because we had accent, and we stood out. We didn’t eat the food they ate; we ate Jollof rice, Eba, Pounded yam, Egusi soup and other Nigerian foods. But boys will be boys, and football is a universal language. We used to play all the time in Burgess Park and also in the grass area in my estate. All the time, after school until dinner we’d be playing football.

Honestly, I was more interested in athletics. I was playing on the same youth team as Sean Wright-Philips; I didn’t even used to go every week. I don’t know what made me go that Sunday, but a scout from Manchester City saw us playing and the rest, as they say, is history. I remember I used to go to training in flip flops and all the other kids used to have trainers. But I didn’t mind. I used to earn 60 pounds a week playing for Manchester City in 2000, and I would keep 20 for myself and send 40 pounds to my mum.

I signed for Preston North End in 2002 for 300, 000 pounds and Norwich City in 2006 for 450, 000 pounds. Then, my game began to improve and I caught the attention of Sunderland scouts and signed my first big deal 1.5 million pounds during the summer window of 2007. And by August 2008, I signed another 1.5 million pounds with Fulham. I still relish the experience I garnered at the Europa Cup finals on may 12th, 2010, though, we lost to Atletico Madrid. It is experience that has increased my boldness to play at the highest level.

My debut for the Super Eagles of Nigeria came in 2007. Putting on the Jersey of the Super Eagles was one of the proudest moments of my life because playing for your country is a great honor.

I’m a family man. I’m married to Chinyere – she’s not Nigerian originally, but was given the name by the midwife who gave birth to her. But she’s proper Naija now; and our son, Zacci. The day my son was born was definitely the best day of my life. I’m thinking about him now and smiling. I just like to spend time with my family. When I’m playing I like to spend time with my son, taking him to the park or zoo. He’s the real boss in the house. My ideal day is just to be surrounded by family. When my mum and my brother, and my wife’s family come over, and there’s food and music, those are the days I look forward to.

Yeah, I still go to Peckam to hang out with my friends there. I like to go to some naija restaurants there, like Obalende Suya. It’s where I grew up, and you can’t forget where you come from. Though, I still hang out with my friends in Fulham – like Mousa Dembele, Diomansy Kamara, and John Panstil. These guys are great men that keep me going.
Apart from my family and football, there are only a few other passion in my life. From a young age I’ve been crazy about cars. All sorts, modern and classic styles. I enjoy adding my personal edge. This goes for every car I ever owned as well as jewellery and clothes. When I get an idea in my head, I like to see it come to life.

I am also into new technology, I think it brings a lot of excitement to our world and definitely helps in our everyday lives. I want to try every latest gadget that is out there.

Above all however, I owe everything I am to the creator and I give him thanks everyday of my life. I try to live my life in a righteous way.

When I retire, I’m going to go back and live in Nigeria. I hadn’t been back in a long time before I started playing for Nigeria. But now that I go back with the team, I know that naija is where I want to live when I finish playing football as my career. I am looking at ways that I can help and will be putting together a foundation to help the children of Nigeria. Probably something to do with Education

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