'My son and I bond over football'

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'My son and I bond  over football'

Football has been a part of Graham Stuart’s life for as long as he can remember. He grew up playing football in school and college and was a professional player for some of London’s leading teams till he retired a few years ago.

The Ambassador for Everton Football Club in Liverpool, Graham travels across the world, nurturing young minds and giving them a tip or two about what it takes to be a professional footballer. Graham, who was in the city recently for the Premier League Fanpark event, chats with Nina C George about his love for the sport and his experience in India.

How did your love for football begin?

I grew up in a small town in London. I remember playing football during break time at school and I would return home only to play football, till my mother called me in for supper. Such was my craze for the game and it lasted till the last day I actively played the sport. My 16-year-old son Joseph has taken after me in this regard.

What do you and Joseph bond over?

My son and I bond over football. Most of our conversation revolves around sports and of course, food.

Do you both experiment with Indian food?

Joseph, like me, loves Indian food. He enjoys a plate of ‘Chicken tikka masala’ and ‘Tandoori mixed grill’. I recently tried ‘Lamb biryani’ so I have recommended that to him. I like my curries to be spicy. The spiciest curry that I have eaten so far is ‘Chicken Madras’ which is a dish that we get in one of the Indian restaurants in England.

Your advice to young footballers.

I always tell the young footballers to work very hard and practise even harder. I also caution them to eat the right kind of food and work on building their strength and stamina.

How do you interpret the sport on a personal level?

It’s our national game just like cricket is ingrained in mindsets of the people of India. The sport now keeps me occupied on a daily basis and keeps my mind active.

Your thoughts on the football scene in India.
The football scene here is growing and the players here are quite open to learning.

How do you connect with Bengaluru?

I was in Mumbai a couple of years ago for the ‘Premiere League Live’ and the culture between the two cities is very similar. I can see a huge passion and appetite for football here.

What are your thoughts about Bengaluru?

The traffic jams here are quite similar to the ones we have back home in London.

 Would you like to come back to India?

I wouldn’t miss any chance to come back to India. I am happy to come to India only for the food.

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