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Come On You Rams

Paul Peschisolido
Paul Peschisolido

Player profile: Paul Peschisolido

The Derby County striker tells us about sharing car journeys with Jeff Kenna, who his best footy mates are and marital life with Karen Brady.

How did you get involved in football?

My parents were both Italian and emigrated to Canada at an early age. My dad always played football himself and amongst kids it's the biggest played sport in Canada - not ice hockey as most people think.

I got involved when I was about four, stuck with it and at the age of 15 was fortunate enough to be chosen for the Canadian World Cup Under-16 team. Canada was the host nation and I was able to play in that tournament.

Then the Canadian soccer league got started and I played for Toronto Blizzard while I was going to school for the first four or five years.

I stuck with the Canada programme and played for the full national team at the age of 16/17. Then I spent a year with Juventus - which didn't go very well.

Then at the age of 19 the national team coach, Tony Taylor, became the youth development officer at Birmingham City and he rung me and told me they were looking for a striker and he thought I'd do well there. So I went for a trial and here I am now!

Was England a big culture shock?

God yeah! But it was the football that kept me here. Watching on the telly in Canada, you're starved of football - there isn't any! But then you come here and there's fooball on and mad fans going crazy for it.

In Canada we were stuck with 2,000 people watching games and there's no press or media coverage. It was really exciting coming to England and seeing footballers treated like pop stars. I thought 'that's what I want - I want a piece of that!'

That made up for the fact I was stuck in a little dingey bedsit. It was kind of hard because back home I'd been spoilt. I had my own car at 16, lived at home with my parents looking after me and played for Toronto Blizzard, making pretty good money for a kid still going to school.

Coming here, I was in this bedsit and it was pretty dingey. But I was able to strive towards being one of these other footballers who were getting all the attention!

Does that make it all the more satisfying that you actually made it then?

Yes - and I think I was lucky too. I scored in my first reserve game and the manager said 'you'll do for me!'

If it hadn't gone that well, things might have been different but from the word go, it went relatively well for myself and I could see there was a possibility I'd make it.

So do you call England your home now or will it always be Canada?

Not really Canada. I call this home now. I speak to people back in Canada and they find it really difficult when I say 'home' about England. I'm obviously married to an English woman, as everyone knows, I've got two English kids and this is pretty much home for me now.

So you're not planning to return to Canada after retiring from football then?

Karen Brady
Paul's wife, Karen Brady

Well me and Karen have obviously spoken about going back but we take every year as it comes and I've become involved in other things in this country too so we'll see.

But with you and Karen both involved in football, you'll both be aware that things can suddenly change?

Absolutely. It's a funny old game, as they say, and you never know where you're gonna be next but looking at it logically, we'll probably stay in England.

What do you do to relax? Are you a golfer?

I enjoy golf but it's not really a game for me. The children take up most of my spare time. I enjoy taking my little boy golfing and my daughter goes to gymnastics. Me and Karen try to spend as much time with them as possible.

How old are the kids?

Sophia's eight and Paolo's six so good ages - really fun.

Is Paolo a family name?

Yeh, my name's Paolo. It's kinda difficult when you've got the name Peschisolido to match it up with something that's not authentic Italian sounding. Dave wouldn't go very well with Peschisolido! So we went for Paolo.

As Chief Executive of Birmingham City, does your wife (Karen Brady) find she doesn't get much spare time?

She makes time. Obviously the kids are the most important thing and she's got Birmingham as a pretty steady ship now.

She's got people in and the club is very stable so she can take days off here and there. We've got weekends and obviously because I've got a job where I finish relatively early in the day, I can be there with the kids.

Are the two of you movie fans?

Not really. The last film we saw was probably Shark Tale. All we do is take the kids! I don't think we've seen a film just for ourselves in quite a while. We do go to restaurants occasionally though - once every few weeks maybe.

And being Italian, you must appreciate good food?

Absolutely. And to be fair, Karen's a very good cook so that's quite nice.

So what sort of food do you like most?

I like Japanese. All four of us are keen on Japanese food so we go to a Japanese restaurant in Birmingham. There's a place in The Mailbox which we go to.

What music do you listen to?

I'm not really a music fan, I'm more of a Five Live kind of person! I listen to a mixture of music but I'm not someone who listens all that regularly.

What do you plan to do when you retire? Do you fancy going into the non-playing side of football?

To be honest, I've never really thought that I'd want to get involved in that side of things until the last couple of years when I've thought 'yeah, I could have a crack at that'.

But for the past few years now, I've got a property development company that I've spent some of my spare time on with another partner. I've got involved in that more and more so I'll probably pursue that.

What car do you drive?

I've got a Porsche 911. And a Mercedes Jeep. I treated myself when we stayed up last season and I love it. Good fun!

Now I understand you share the driving with Jeff Kenna but he's just got a Peugeot 307 - so I expect you do the majority of the driving?

Nah that's just his driving car! He's got the BMW X5 and he doesn't want to put the miles on it! It's nice having someone to travel up with. We live close together and share the drive - it's nice to have some companionship on the way up!

Do you have good mates at other clubs?

Yeah, I've kept in touch with quite a few of the Sheff Utd players. Robert Kozluk, who was at Derby, I'm quite close to him and Jack Lester, also from Sheffield. Paul Devlin, who's at Watford now, he was at United at the same time as me. There's a few.

You always seem to make an impact at new clubs.

Yeah I've been lucky in that the supporters have always taken to me and I've always been a crowd favourite. I've been very fortunate that that's the case because you see some people who go to clubs and don't settle in and the supporters get on their backs and make life difficult for them.

What's been your most memorable moment at Derby?

Definitely the coffee cup incident against Forest. It was incredible to play in front of your local rivals in front of a big crowd. I know how much it meant to everybody. How could you not remember that? It was so unique and so strange!

Any other moments?

Yeah I had a few at Sheffield. We had a season where we had two semi-finals - one against Arsenal and everyone talks about the header in that game with Seamen making that great save.

And of course against Forest in the play-off semi-final in the second bit of over-time with the game drawing, I came on as sub, went on a mazy run to score the winner. To get us to the Millennium Stadium for the final, that was pretty special.

I've had some good ones, there was a goal at Anfield one year which was one of the goals of the season - that was in the Worthington Cup.

So it sounds like you're quite satisfied?

I'm one of these who thinks you should look to the future in the life - you can't really change the past. But I wouldn't change anything in my life and I'm pleased with the way it's gone!

Interview by BBC Radio Derby's Charles Collins

last updated: 03/01/06
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