MICHAEL Chopra has revealed that his desire to finally claim the first winners’ medal of his career helped persuade him to make his surprise move to Alloa Athletic.
The former Newcastle United, Cardiff City, Sunderland and Ipswich Town striker, who has racked up over £9 million in transfer fees during his career, has joined Alloa until the end of the season.
Chopra made his debut as a stoppage time substitute in the 2-2 draw against Rangers at Ibrox on Tuesday night which lifted the Clackmannanshire club out of the bottom two in the Championship.
The 31-year-old has scored 115 goals in 396 club career appearances and experienced Champions League football as a youngster at Newcastle. But Chopra has yet to claim silverware, his most recent disappointment coming in December when he was part of the Kerala Blasters side which lost out in the inaugural Indian Super League final in front of over 36,000 fans in Mumbai.
After returning from his spell in India, where he was a team-mate of former Scotland internationals Stephen Pearson and Jamie McAllister, Chopra was assessing his options when the call came from Alloa’s football consultant and head scout Lee Ebdon.
It was the Petrofac Training Cup final at McDiarmid Park on 5 April, when Alloa will face fellow Championship strugglers Livingston for the trophy, which played a part in sealing the deal.
I was playing with Shearer, Owen and Kluivert. They made me the player I amMichael Chopra
“This isn’t a financial thing for me because I could have got more money from one of the offers I had in England,” said Chopra.
“But I just want to play and get some goals. When this was all outlined to me, I jumped at the chance to come up. It’s a challenge for me but if I can help keep Alloa in the Championship then it will have been well worth it. I’m also desperate to play in the Petrofac Training Cup final because I’ve never won anything in the game and it would be brilliant if we won that.
“People ask me if I even knew of Alloa but I did and I actually watched them beat Rangers 3-2 in the Petrofac semi-finals on the telly earlier in the season!
“I loved it at Ibrox the other night when I got a couple of minutes. I spoke to lots of people at the game and I can’t believe Alloa are where they are in the league. I’ve never played up here but I thought the standard was good and the fitness levels unbelievable when you consider we’re a part-time club.
“Once I finished in India my main objective was to get back and I’ve been looking around what leagues I could play in. The last week I’ve been training at Port Vale and then I got a phone call on Monday asking if I would like to come to Alloa and I jumped at the chance.
“You look at the fixtures and the results Alloa have had against the big teams. They’ve beaten Rangers and been unlucky in games against Hibs and Hearts.
“If you look at their recent results in the last few weeks they have only been losing by one goal and they’ve been unlucky, so they obviously have a good team spirit and have people who want to work hard. With me coming in, it’s down to myself to try and help the other players out and try and score a goal or two, just to take the pressure off them.
“I remember when I was at Newcastle and I was a young boy, I was playing with guys like Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and Patrick Kluivert and they gave me the best experience possible. They made me the player I am today and I’ll be looking to try and help all the young boys at Alloa and pass my experience on to them as best as I can.”