Charlie Dean I'Anson
Interview by Carl Marsh - October 2014
you are the only English born professional footballer playing in Spain, so can you tell me about your playing history so far?
Of course, I started off at a team in England called Wealdstone when I was 5 or 6 years old, before my parents decided to move to Spain when I was 8 years old. I then started playing for a team called Benamiel; I played there for about 5 years which was great. Then I had about a year at Fuengirola down the road, and that year there was the big football tournament called The Selection of Malaga, and I played with Juanmi (who is in Malaga's first team now), and we played against Seville, Almeria, Real Betis... And we got to the final but lost 2-1. Suso was at Cadiz at the time and he scored a cracking free kick. So at this tournament, there was a Nottingham forest scout who asked my dad if I wanted to go on a trial with them, and I couldn’t believe it, and said yes but was still not sure it was going to happen. It was true though, as I got the phone call, and went there for a week and then went back to Spain, and they said they would ring. And they did call me 2 weeks later saying they wanted me back for another week. When it came to decision time, they sat me down and they said my height wasn’t the best to be a centre half. However, they would sign me on a Youth Training contract and I would be the 4th or 5th choice centre half, or they would convert me to a right back. I was in doubt about what to do, and they were very honest and kind; they then said they had a good relationship with Grimsby town, and that I could go on trial there. So I did, and signed for their Youth Training Team and then went on to sign a professional deal with them. Being there was great experience and it went really well, but I had a bad injury in a derby game against Lincoln, and from there, I was a bit out of the picture. When it was time to discuss a new contract, they wanted me to sign another deal but we couldn't come to an agreement, so I said if I could go back to Spain, so as to try my luck there, they said yes, as long as I was not in England. So that is what I did. I was without team for about a month and I was quite worried but I went on and then passed a trial at Elche, then signed with their "B" team, who were in the 3rd division. We had an unbelievable year and we got promoted by winning the league. I had another year with the "B" team, then got called up pre-season with the first team before the next season. I trained all year with the first team and we went up from the Segunda to La Liga. I played with "B" team in Segunda B and although I had a few injuries, I got my chance in La Liga at home against Espanyol, and a few appearances on the bench. I played another game against Granada and signed as a 2 year pro at Elche, and this year (2014), I went on loan at AD Alcorcon.
As a footballer, and one who has played in both the UK and Spain, which country do you prefer playing in, and not only for weather reasons? And do you miss the English League?
Obviously the weather plays a part but as I haven’t played in the higher leagues in England yet, and as I have in all the leagues in Spain so far, so for me Spain. I definitely do miss the atmosphere and fight which is in the English game though.
As you know, I promote reading via my interviews, so why is reading important to you Charlie?
To me, as professional footballer, and considering I have been doing this most of my life, I know how I was inspired by reading books growing up. For me they were mainly by my footballing heroes, as this is always what I wanted to do for a career. I also read a lot of magazines and newspapers, because you get to know what goes on in the world, and what people think and do. It's great to get more knowledge that way, than just watching the TV.
Could you tell me what you favourite book is, and why?
I can’t say that I have read lots of different types of books, as for me it’s been more about interviews in newspapers or magazines recently, but I would have to say it was David Beckam's, because it is so interesting, and I know it's a cliche coming from a footballer, but David really has done it all.
And have you read anything lately?
Yes, I started to read Sid Lowe’s latest book, and I am really getting into it.
And in your team, who is the person who reads the most books?
I couldn’t say because I don’t really know who read's the most but as the gaffer says, we all should never buy the newspapers, so I think he reads the most.
So then, who would be the least you would expect to read, and why?
(Laughing louder) There are a few that probably can’t read, but I would say Alberto Escassi, as a phone doesn’t exist for him, and with books, he wouldn't know even how to open one (Laughing even louder).
You are on loan at the moment with AD Alcorcon, who are in the Spanish Second Division, I guess in England that would be the Championship. So how different is the style of football, compared to when you were playing in the English League with Grimsby?
I haven’t played in the Championship but I have watched it a lot, and David, who is in our team, has played in both. There are more teams that compete in England, and whilst Spain has some very good teams, there are some that aren’t as competitive or strong as those in England. There are some teams here that are very technical though. So it's a fine balance I guess.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Hopefully playing in La Liga or in the Premiership, and if not, wherever it be, playing football still because it’s what I love to do.
If you were not a professional footballer, what do you think you would have done for a career?
A plasterer, following in the footsteps of my father, or something to do with sport and looking after kids.
Who is the best player you have played against so far?
It would probably be on my debut against Sergio Garcia of Espanyol, or possibly Arabi, when I played against Granada.
Can you tell me any funny football story that has happened to you or that you have witnessed?
Yes of course, as a youth trainee, we put a players car on the football pitch, we then put toilet roll all over it, cones from a building site around it, and finally, sauces all over it, and when he came back, he went crazy (laughing louder).
Playing for England or Spain, if both managers were on the phone, who would you choose?
Firstly, I wouldn’t believe it! And I think I would choose England because that is where I was born, and my parents are English but, you never know
until you get a call like that!
I always end on a literary type note so, in your own words as if writing it in a book, "If you could be an animal, what would it be, and why?"
My favourite animal is a dolphin, as since I was little, I always wanted to swim with them. And why? Well, I would I like to be one, so I can be lost in the beautiful sea!
Occupation: Professional Footballer