To most of us, the idea of throwing on our glad rags and going out for a meal at a local restaurant isn?t usually something we would think twice about.
For Graeme Sharp however, it?s a whole different ball game (if you?ll excuse the pun). Over the years, Sharp, a man who is no stranger to the Wembley turf and who is the proud owner of a cabinet that is overflowing with trophies, has become used to being recognised by fans and even a relaxing dinner out with the family can turn into a sportsman?s dinner before he?s even tucked into his shepherd?s pie.
Considered one of Everton?s greatest legends, it is not surprising Graeme Sharp might get mobbed by fans wherever he goes. After a career that has spanned almost thirty years, the 47 year old who now lives in North Wales, says that football as a media production has most definitely become much more high profile since his hey day, piling more pressure on the young footballers of today.
?Nowadays footballers are not much like they used to be,? says Sharp. ?Now they just seem on par with film stars, the level of celebrity they receive is extraordinary. Times have certainly changed since my day ? for instance, 20 years ago, there weren?t camera phones available to take pictures of players at every opportunity and there wasn?t so much paparazzi attention focused on us.?
He remembers: ?The public certainly didn?t care about our personal lives. Back in our time, it was all about what happened on the football pitch on Saturday afternoon and that was it. ?
And Sharp did spend a lot of time on the football pitch. Born in Glasgow in 1960, he started his career at Dumbarton before playing 11 years at Goodison Park. He later moved to Oldham where he spent six years with the perennial overachievers, including a stint as the team?s manager.
As a young boy growing up, Sharp admits that he simply ?just wanted to play football.? ?It was all about a desire to play as well as you possibly could and it was the fact that you wanted to be the best that drove you on further and further.? His inclusion in Everton?s best ever eleven pays a testament to his hard work and achievements at Goodison Park.
These days however, Sharp believes that money and fame are taking more and more precedence in the world of football than just a simple love of the game. He says that although there are still some players who are following their dreams and have a genuine passion for the game, money is becoming a bigger issue within the sport: ?It?s getting to be very important to football I think. It?s in the Premier League and everyone is trying to strive for that. I?m not saying that players today are just after money because the majority do have an immense passion for football and I think it annoys them when it?s made out that they are in it for how rich they can get.?
He adds: ?All I?m saying is that, in my day, fame and fortune was something you didn?t really take on board but players today are subjected to it in such a huge way.?
Though the media focus on Sharp at the height of his career was intense, it wasn?t exactly on the scale of David Beckham. There were no advertising deals or sunglasses to endorse. His job was to play football. He kept his private life to himself and the only time he was seen was on the pitch every weekend. Nevertheless, Sharp admits he is glad that fame was a different concept in his day and says that it can be unfortunate for young players today to even go out to buy toilet paper for fear of encountering the paparazzi. ?They have to be more careful where they go these days,? he says. ?It can be quite intimidating when crowds of people come up to you wanting an autograph when you?ve just popped out for a paper. But the majority of football fans are usually civil, it?s quite rare to meet the antagonistic ones.?
Back in his home village of Northop Hall in Flintshire, Sharp is renowned for his friendly attitude towards fans who ask for a few minutes of his time, and he is happy to chat to them. And though he is no longer playing on the pitch, he keeps himself busy with his current weekly radio show on Century 105?s ?Legends? football phone-in alongside various other sporting greats. His down to earth and amicable nature is not what you would expect of a typical ?famous celebrity?. Sharp clearly does not court fame, nor does he shun the attention that his legendary past brings.
?I was just very fortunate to get paid for something I absolutely loved doing,? he laughs. ?If anyone manages to do that then they?ve done alright!?
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1 Posted 19/04/2008 at 19:18:35
Football nowadays is absolute garbage and there is a serious lack of personalties within the game.
Money and SKY have ruined football for me It?s just not the same anymore. I?ve had some great memories of going the match over the many years and met some funny characters but sadly the last decade or so I can honestly say I can count on 1 hand the memorable matches I?ve been to.
60s, 70s (not the whole decade) 80s, early to mid 90s were great times following Everton and some great laughs along the way.
2 Posted 20/04/2008 at 09:34:14
Sharpy to me is a star from the best period in the game. I am proud that my club achieved success in what i see as the best possible way and to hear the way Graeme and many of his colleagues at the time talk about my club and the team spirit and still hold it all in such high esteem is fantastic. I am delighted that the likes of Graeme are so happy to spend their own free time speaking to fans and would like to thank him for being a true great in every sense of the word.
3 Posted 20/04/2008 at 11:23:39
4 Posted 20/04/2008 at 17:08:32
5 Posted 20/04/2008 at 20:41:32
6 Posted 20/04/2008 at 20:49:06
7 Posted 20/04/2008 at 21:39:36
He hits it a long way, but his short game is ropey...
8 Posted 21/04/2008 at 08:29:52
I was a bit too young to see the late ’60s early ’70s legends, but considering the fortunes of the Blues over the past 20 years consider myself privileged to have witnessed the successful teams of the ’80s.
Today’s game is totally dominated by the Almighty Dollar! Just the way it is, no point in moaning about it! But the one thing that everyone involved in posting on this sight or any other blues fan site has is Hope and Belief that the next period of success is not that far away. It’s what make US different! COYB!
9 Posted 21/04/2008 at 09:36:52
Ant .... I bet his wedges are better than yours though!!
10 Posted 22/04/2008 at 11:07:11
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