ShooKnown for his success on a motorbike, Carl Fogarty was part of ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here’ at the end of last year, and was, to his own surprise, eventually crowned ‘king of the jungle.’
The four-time World Superbike Champion beat off competition from the likes of Jake Quickenden, Melanie Sykes and football’s own funny man, Jimmy Bullard, to win the 14th series of the popular show.
A Blackburn Rovers fan, it has been another season of consolidation for the team from Lancashire who finished ninth in the Championship while exiting the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage against Liverpool.
Shoot’s JAMES BEAVIS spoke to Carl about his time in the jungle, and what it’s like being a Rovers fan.
You were crowned the King of the Jungle. How did you feel and did you ever expect it?
“I didn’t expect it. I was shocked to be honest. I was very emotional as well. For me when I said I’d do it I thought I’d be the first one out because I know what I’m like and I wasn’t sure whether I’d get on with the others in there. But it turned out that I’m more of a people person than I thought I was. When it got to the final three I thought I’d finished third and when it got to me and Jake I thought all the young girls would vote for him, but I won it by quite a long way when all of the figures were released! It’s a hell of an experience to go through in there, and your diet changes instantly. You have to do all of the challenges and eat stuff that you’ve never eaten before. It was amazing to have that support from the public because that’s what it comes down to in the end. It was nice to be popular for being you.”
We saw your great friendship with Jimmy Bullard. How good was it having him in there?
“It was good for me. We both come from a sporting background but I didn’t know him before, only of him. I’d seen him on Soccer AM a few times so I knew he’d be a bit of a fun character but we knew who each other were when we saw each other so that was good. When I first got there I was in a separate camp and I was with four people who were from the same music and TV background. When I got into the other camp I recognised Mel and Jimmy and I knew who Kendra was funnily enough. They were my kind of people and a bit more banter type people. I had a good laugh with him and he’s an absolute fruitcake! There were signs of him cracking up a bit in there though and maybe the public saw that as well. He struggled with the food and the boredom, probably more than I did. I thought he was going to win the thing!”
You’re a four-time World Superbike Champion. What do you miss most about racing?
“Winning! The closest I’ve got to feeling that since was when I came out of the jungle, being on that top step again as it were. There’s no better feeling than winning races and world championships.”
Have you got any exciting projects lined up?
“There’s talk of a few things and lots of ideas but nothing’s concrete yet. If something sounds really interesting then I’d definitely be up for it for sure but I’m not too worried because I’ve been very, very busy. I’m endorsing a few more products and it’s come at a good time for me really because I’m at an age where I’m older and I have more patience with people and I enjoy their company more than I have before. I was a bit of a self-centered person before when I used to race. The person I was when I was racing wasn’t the easiest to be with.”
You’re a Blackburn Rovers fan. Do you get to go to many games?
“The last one I went to was the FA Cup quarter-final against Liverpool. I go occasionally and normally around three or four times a year.”
So how did you get into football?
“I don’t know really. I played football at school, although I was more interested in getting on my motorbike and flying round the field. If I’m honest I lost touch with football a lot really in the 80s and I couldn’t tell you who won what. I could tell you every team that won the FA Cup in the 70s but not the 80s. But then when Sky Sports took it on you could watch a lot more games because when I was a kid it was just Match of the Day. The way they bring it to the viewers, on TV, they do a hell of a job. They made me a household name and they’ve done the same with football really. I got back into it at the start of the Premier League and that was the best seasons that Blackburn had, and probably will ever have.”
What are your earliest memories of supporting Blackburn?
“I lived on Livesey Branch Road which is right across the road from the ground. I’d occasionally go and it seemed like quite a walk when I was a kid. I remember being in there watching the games but at the same time not really being interested in a funny sort of way. It was probably about 1975. It was weird because when you went to school you would support either Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool or Everton in this area, because they were always in the first division, so I was always a United fan back then too.”
How would you sum up the 2014-15 season?
“It’s gone as I thought it would go really. I said at the start of the season that we’d finish eighth or ninth and that has been proved right. We’ve just come up a little bit short really. The Championship is such a hard league to get out of and if you can win four games in a row then you’ll move right up the league and if you lose four you’ll be down the bottom – that’s how close it is. You can’t predict anything that’s going to happen!”
What’s your opinion on Rovers’ owners, the Venkys?
“It was mayhem a few years ago with the manager not being wanted and the protests against the owners but things have settled down a little bit now with them. I still feel there’s a lack of atmosphere there because of the current owners. When Jack (Walker) had the place he was Blackburn through and through and that could relate through to the fans. When you have owners now that don’t come across as too interested or from Blackburn, there isn’t really any atmosphere unless we have a big cup game like the Liverpool one, or if we’re playing Burnley. The fans love the club but not the owners.”
Jordan Rhodes has been heavily linked with a move away. What do you think will happen?
“He’s been linked with a move a few times now but it’s never happened so I don’t know really. If he went I wouldn’t be surprised and if he stayed I wouldn’t be surprised. We paid a lot of money for him and he’s done a decent job but I think there’s more chance of Rudy Gestede going because he seems like quite a handful.”
What’s your opinion of the manager, Gary Bowyer?
“I think he’s done a decent job actually. I think he’s alright because it’s always hard for a manager when you aren’t really that well known or had any success to judge him to how good he really is. There’s a lot of big clubs in that division so it’s going to be hard for them to get out of it but Burnley did it with next to money so that’s not to say it isn’t possible.”
What’s been your biggest high as a fan?
“Probably when we won the League Cup in 2002 against Tottenham. I enjoyed that trip down to Cardiff. In the 90s I wasn’t a massive fan and because I was world champion in 1994 and 1995, I felt like I was getting more coverage in the national press than the local press because of Rovers’ success at the time. Looking back now I’m a bit regretful but I was annoyed that they were getting all the publicity and I wasn’t. The highlights were when I got more involved and that was when I went to watch them win the cup in 2002.”
And your lowest moment?
“Definitely getting relegated. It’s happened twice in the last 15 years.”
Who are your favourite players from your time supporting Blackburn?
“I feel like I’ve got to say Alan Shearer really. I’m not a massive fan of him but I don’t know why really. He scored goals, which is all you can ask for, but that’s all he did. He was lazy, he couldn’t go past people but he just scored goals. Him and Chris Sutton were the main reason we won the title. I loved David Batty and then there was Stuart Ripley and Colin Hendry. Going back, Simon Garner was a bit of a favourite too.”
If you were the manager what changes would you make in the summer?
“Sack them all (laughs)! It’s not too far off of being right but we’ve lacked a bit of concentration at times. Maybe I’d look at strengthening the midfield because David Dunn was the one that made things happen but he’s gone now. We need to replace him.”
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