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Star Chopra to promote Southall FC

Virendra Sharma MP with Michael Chopra

Southall FC roped in footballing goal scoring star, Michael Chopra as brand Ambassador…reports Asian Lite, Britain’s Best newspaper for British Asians

Virendra Sharma MP with Michael Chopra
Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing/ Southall, with Michael Chopra

Southall FC announced the enrolement of footy star as brand ambassador at a function organised at the Southall Town Hall.

The event was attended by dignitaries such as Mr Virendra Sharma – MP for Ealing/ Southall and many influential local community members. This move by the football club is yet another indication of the constant progressive development in reinstating Southall Football Club as a predominant Non-League community club striving to further integrate with its own people.

“Rocky” Michael Chopra is an English professional footballer who plays as a striker for Scottish Championship club Alloa Athletic. With an Indian father, he was also the first player of Indian parentage to play and score in the Premier League.

A product of the Newcastle United youth system, he has represented England at the under-16, under-17, under19 and under-20 levels. In 2006, he scored what was then the fastest goal by a substitute in Premier League history, scoring after being on the pitch for 15 seconds.

Mr Chopra has spent time on loan at Watford, Nottingham Forest, and Barnsley. He was then sold to Cardiff City in June 2006, and won a place on the PFA Team of the Year for his performances in the 2006–07 season. He then moved to Premier League side Sunderland in July 2007, before returning to Cardiff on a loan deal that was made permanent in July 2009. He was once again named on the PFA Team of the Year for the 2009–10 campaign, before being sold on to Ipswich Town in June 2011. He joined Blackpool on a free transfer in July 2013, before moving to the Indian Super League with Kerala Blasters for the inaugural 2014 season. On 17 March 2015, Chopra was signed for Alloa Athletic.

At the Unveiling ceremony, Mr Chopra was introduced to the West London audience and was interviewed by the charming Southall FC first team manager Mr Emanuel Asare. It is inspirational to think that such a high profile personality wants to give something back and is wants to assist in the clubs aims of unearthing, nurturing and inspiring young local talent.

Having somewhat struggled to get large numbers of the South Asian Community to engage with the football club in its various soccer camps, Youth and Adult playing structures, largely due to lack of parental support, Michael Chopra was asked about the parental support he received when growing up in Newcastle and trying to make it in the game, as Asian’s culturally have placed a huge emphasis on education rather than sport.

“I was were lucky in this aspect as both my parents encouraged me and came to every match I played in. They realised that there are equal opportunities in sports and academics – so I never faced any such issues.

After telling the audience about his jubilation and relief when attaining a professional contract at Newcastle after all his years of hard work and dedication,  Michael was asked “What does being an Ambassador for Southall FC mean to you? “

Mr Chopra said: “I truly support the efforts being made by Southall FC to not just develop the sport at the grass root level, but also their vision to encourage children from different ethnic backgrounds to get involved with football. I also am looking forward to working with Southall FC in promoting the sport in India”.

Mr Chopra has recently returned from India after being made part of the first draft of players to participate in the new Indian Soccer league. His Agent Ajay Mahan (who attended the forum) was very influential in making this happen with his vast contacts over in India. Michael stated about his experience “The sport of football has huge potential in India. It is one of the fastest growing sport there and with the launch of the Soccer League and the high profile support it has gathered, the fan base following is bound to increase. Also, I wish to start my own coaching academies in India and it would be my endeavour to identify players and be a leading academy that acts as a feeder to the soccer league.

Mr Chopra also expressed his desire to play for India and participate in the World Cup qualifying campaign, but to do so will come at a cost of his British Citizenship… Michael told the audience that he would be renouncing his British Citizenship and apply for an Indian passport.  Truly massive decision but one that illustrates Michael passion

When asked by Mr Asare about his Best experiences as a player, Mr Chopra responded by stating that signing his professional contract for Newcastle United, The club he had grown up around and loved. “It was my home club and something I had aspired to get ever since my childhood”.

Mr Chopra stated that his lowest point had to be, when Cardiff City lost to Blackpool in the Championship Playoff final in – an estimated game worth £130 million to the winners and another chance to play in the prestigious Premiership league was gone.

Mr. Chana Gill, Director- Southall FC said “It is a privilege to have a player of Michael Chopra’s calibre on-board as the ambassador for Southall FC. He epitomises our vision for our young players. It confirms our believes that if given the right support and coaching environment, children from any ethnic background can be a part of and contribute to this sport at its highest level of performance.”