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Famous football fanatics: Ian Botham's love for Scunthorpe

By Tom McGowan, CNN
Ian Botham tells CNN about his passion for football.
Ian Botham tells CNN about his passion for football.
  • Ian Botham follows English league side Scunthorpe United
  • A talented all round sportsman, Botham played a handful of games for Scunthorpe
  • The cricket legend believes that football is now a global game, and as a result some clubs are losing their identity

(CNN) -- Ian Botham is a legendary England cricketer and during his incredible career, he also managed to play for English league side Scunthorpe United. Botham told Football Fanzone about his love for "The Iron."

Is it true that you are a Scunthorpe fan?

I've gone a bit more grassroots and back to where I played, and that's Scunthorpe. I love to see Scunthorpe United, that is the first result I always look for.

You managed to play a few games for Scunthorpe United, how did you manage to fit football around cricket?

Well at that stage I used to try and fit the cricket around the football. I enjoyed it, basically it was to keep me fit. I trained with them a lot and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I ended up playing a few games and I have great memories and still have some great friends from that period.

Were you ever conflicted between football and cricket growing up and how did you make a decision on which to pursue?

I had a choice to make at the age of 15 and I think for once I did the right thing; I listened to my father and went to cricket.

How did you manage to follow football when you were on tours with the England cricket team?

"It was an amazing experience to play at Stamford Bridge... I think I set-up the winner for Jimmy Greaves.
--Ian Botham

We got it like everyone else. We had the press with us on the road, the BBC or Reuters. Whoever it was we could always get it off them.

Who were your football heroes growing up?

I was lucky enough to play in a side with most of my heroes when [former Chelsea player] Ron Harris had his testimonial. I played with the [Chelsea] side that won the FA Cup. There was Marvin Hinton, David Webb, Peter Osgood, Ian Hutchinson, the whole side. It was an amazing experience to play at Stamford Bridge against what was then the current Chelsea side. I think I set-up the winner for Jimmy Greaves.

Fact Box
A legendary cricketer, Ian Botham holds the record for the most wickets taken in Test matches for England with 383.

Now retired from the game, Botham is involved in fundraising acitivities and is famous for his charity walks.

Which would you choose: Lifting the Ashes again for England, or leading Scunthorpe United to European Champions League glory?

I think with Scunthorpe it would be a major miracle! It would be the Ashes. That's my game, that's what it's about, England against Australia.