Roger Eli (Interview) – 16th April 2013

ROGER ELI INTERVIEW

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Roger Eli was born on the 11th September 1965 in Bradford, West Yorkshire.  He began his football career at Leeds United in 1983 where he made 2 appearances for the Whites before moving to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1986. Various moves followed to Cambridge United, Crewe Alexandra, York City and Bury before finally settling in Burnley.

Roger was tried in a number of positions but eventually established himself as a striker.  During the 1990-91 season, Eli made 15 starts and scored 10 goals as Burnley reached the Fourth Division Play Offs.

However it was during the following season that he really established himself and became a cult hero at Turf Moor. During the 1991-92 season, Eli scored 17 goals in league and cup competitions and became a vital part of the Burnley team, which won the Fourth Division title.

After finishing football because of injury, Roger has a successful office supplies business based in Bradford.  However he still puts on the boots to appear for a vintage clarets side, Burnley Veterans.

Roger and the rest of the Burnley Veterans squad will be representing the club in Europe this May, when they take part in the 36th Annual Football Tournament in Hamm, Germany.

Roger has also written a book about his career and time at Burnley called “Thanks for the Memories” which is still available.

Interview

1. Football Highlight – Signing for Leeds United and Winning the 1992 4th Division Title with Burnley Football Club, it meant so much to me to become part of the history of this great old club.

2. Football Lowlight – My first knee injury that stopped me making my debut at 17 with Leeds United, I was out for 6 months and it halted my early progress.  Then moving onto Wolverhampton Wanderers, a fantastic club with great support, but I should have stayed well clear of them at that time, as they were well and truly on their knees after the Batty brothers era.

3. Toughest Opponent – Quite a few, but I would say Billy Whitehurst and Kenny Burns they were fearsome characters. Garry Briggs at Blackpool should also get a mention.

4. Your Strength (As a Player) – Far too many to mention, no to be honest my versatility was a plus point.  I could adapt to play anywhere on the football field and I felt comfortable on the ball. I had plenty of pace which always helped.

5. Your Weakness (As a Player) – In some people eyes it was my versatility, but I believe it was not having a settled position within the team, until I played striker for the Clarets and started scoring the goals.  Also the amount of injuries that I picked up certainly was a weakness.

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Roger Eli (Burnley Veterans Striker)

6. Biggest Influence – Too many to mention, from school teachers to professional football managers.  They have all gone out of their way to support me.

7. Best Manager you have played for and why – Eddie Gray at Leeds United was very good, he was everything that a young player coming into football needed, he led by example.  Frank Casper was also very good, a player’s manager and a very good coach. Special mention to Jimmy Mullen as well, for the way he got the very best out of me on the football pitch a fantastic motivator.

8. Best moment whilst playing for Burnley FC – Far too many to mention.  However I would say the thrill of scoring a goal at Turf Moor, in front of the Burnley fans whilst they are bellowing your name out around the ground that’s just magical. Plus scoring a header past Peter Shilton in the FA Cup was fantastic too.

9. You now have a successful business what drives you to succeed – The fear of failure.

10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time – hopefully fit and healthy.

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