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Chris Kamara Tells A Surreal Tale About A Terrifying Flight To Play Shels In Dublin

Mikey Traynor
By Mikey Traynor
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This week Balls.ie was fortunate enough to invite the one and only Chris Kamara over to Dublin for an event at The Old Storehouse in Temple Bar.

Kammy was on top form as he left the crowd in stitches with stories from his playing days as well as his work with Sky Sports, and on The Balls.ie Football Show we played the interview portion of the evening which began with a story about his first ever trip to Dublin.

Having just signed for Leeds United, Kamara was set to make his debut in a friendly against Shelbourne in Tolka Park which was arranged to raise funds for the Yorkshire club, but once they got to Bradford airport it looks as though the weather would prevent them from making the trip.

Incredibly, a work from the club's managing director was all that was needed for the airport staff to allow the flight to take off, and Kammy described what sounds like one of the scariest short journeys imaginable.

The first time I ever came to Dublin was to play Shelbourne for Leeds United, I made my debut. I'd signed two days before, and it was one of those where at that particular time, Leeds needed the money... Still do! So they needed the money at that particular time and the wind speeds in Bradford airport were 80-odd miles an hour.

Now you're only allowed to leave the runway on an aeroplane if they are less than 65 miles an hour, but Bill Fotherby who was the managing director of Leeds, convinced the airport staff to let us go because that's how desperate they were for money at that particular time.

So, the plane went down the runway like I go home on a Saturday night... Swaying from side to side, and the plane took off and going over the North Sea, it was dropping, it was probably only about 20 feet at a time, but you can imagine your stomach and your insides were going everytime it dropped.

The lads had decided, we'll play the game against Shelbourne tomorrow night but we're not going back on that plane. But thankfully the winds dropped and we went back on the plane, we had a good result against Shelbourne that night, and Leeds survived at that particular time.

As crazy as it is to imagine a club as big as Leeds needed to pop over and play Shels to get enough money to keep going, that's how it went down.


Kammy also told us that himself and Vinnie Jones were sat beside each other on that flight and the whole squad were looking over to them as the 'hard men' for reassurance, which they offered by keeping cool despite absolutely bricking it the entire time.

Making his Leeds debut was a big deal for Kamara, as he cited Johnny Giles in the great Leeds sides of the 70s as one of his heroes when he was growing up as a football fan.

As his beloved Middlesbrough were in the third division and thus not on Match Of The Day, he enjoyed watching Leeds and was left in awe by what Giles could do with the ball, although he named someone else as his favourite ever Irish player.


Leeds were the team of the 70s. I quite liked this fella in the centre of midfield called Johnny Giles because he was magnificent.

You know, Billy Bremner was a colossus, but Johnny could put a pass where Billy could only dream about putting a pass. Loved him to bits.

Obviously, my all time favourite Irish player is Georgie Best. We all remember how he used to drop the shoulder and stick it in from any angle...

The man can really tell a story, and it's safe to say that written text doesn't do his sense of humour justice, so have a listen to The Balls.ie Football Show for the full effect.

It was a pleasure to have him over, and it was great to see the FAI send over an Irish jersey for him to take home.

You can subscribe to The Balls.ie Football Show on iTunes here.

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