From Iraq to Chesterfield - Ex Spurs keeper Shwan Jalal drank with Bono, took on Real Madrid, was banished at Bury and now works under 'brilliant' John Sheridan

From growing up in Baghdad to shelving retirement plans to join Chesterfield, the last 35 years haven't been boring for Shwan Jalal.

Monday, 22nd July 2019, 11:03 am
Jalal in action last season

The Spireites goalkeeper opened up about his life, on and off the pitch, in an episode of the I Had Trials Once podcast with Gaz Seddon and Jordan Hulme.

Jalal told tales of his early life in Iraq, before his family fled to the UK and he fell in love with football.

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The episode focused on his time at Tottenham Hotspur, where he was a starstruck youngster, facing shots from Teddy Sheringham in training.

A Spurs Christmas do in Dublin saw a young Jalal drinking alongside U2 singer Bono.

He also spoke of six months working alongside former England international David James, playing against Real Madrid and the time he was 'banished to the youth team' by Bury boss David Flitcroft.

Jalal, a journalism student, revealed that he was planning to retire from the game before a change of heart brought him to the Proact.

"I was actually going to retire," he said.

"I really love golf, that's my real love.

"I was all set to go, then Chesterfield rang me up and offered me a two-year deal.

"I spoke to a lot of people and they all said you're a long time retired, job can wait.

"Then I've ended up at Chesterfield under Mad Dog, Martin Allen."

Ahead of his 19th season and with his 36th birthday around the corner, ex Bournemouth and Macclesfield stopper Jalal said there's no end in sight just yet.

"This is my 19th pre-season, I'm 36 next month, I never thought I'd still be doing it now.

"I've got this year (at Chesterfield)

"I feel good.

"I want to play as long as I can."

Jalal, who has worked with the likes of Eddie Howe, appears to be relishing life under Chesterfield boss John Sheridan and rates the squad that is being put together this summer.

"He's been brilliant, absolutely brilliant," he said of the Town gaffer.

"He treats the senior players with a lot of respect, knows they need to be looked after.

"We've got a really good group.

"Fingers crossed we hit the ground running."