March 8 2014 Latest news:
By Tom Moore
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Millwall defender Danny Shittu will be leading his side out at Wembley, but it hasn’t been plain sailing for the 32-year-old.
The centre back has played more club games this season, with 38, than he did in his previous four.
While many professional footballers insist they watch football in their spare time, Shittu insists that that is not his style.
“I never watch football, I just play it really,” he said. “I came to this country when I was eight years old.
“I’ve been on athletics, volleyball, business, college – not really football. when I’m at home I don’t watch it but for certain big games.
“A couple of my friends supported Liverpool. Back in the days of John Barnes and Robbie Fowler.
“I used to support them but not like a passionate supporter. It sounds a bit surprising. I don’t watch much now.
“When you play so much you train as much as possible. My four kids take most of my time really. I’ll watch certain big games but I’m not an avid fan really.”
While that might seem strange for a footballer to say, Shittu insists he loves what he is doing with Millwall but there are other things on his agenda.
He explained: “I look forward to when I play on Saturdays and that excitement comes back when I get onto that pitch and I enjoy what I do.
“I get the moments when I switch off and switch back on. It’s a job but I love it. I love training and being with the lads but I try and switch off as much as possible.
“I do many other things. I think it’s important to switch off. Football is a big part of my life but I do do many other things like business, family, business, business…”
The 32-year-old, who is lionised by Millwall supporters, admitted that he has put his business ventures to one side but that has not always been the case at previous clubs.
“I’ve always been a wheeler-dealer you know,” the defender explained. “I used to buy and sell everything.
“If you ask a lot of the players back in the Charlton days when I started off and in the QPR days.
“I used to enjoy playing football and then doing business. I used to just buy a lot of things off eBay and Gumtree. I would then sell it on.
“I remember when I played for the Nigeria team and we were here before the World Cup and the iPads came out – I remember buying 30 of them and selling it to the players.
“They all pay me in dollars and I was giving it to them and converting the rate. These are the kind of things I love and I like doing business but I enjoy doing football.
“It’s not business if I’m not making a profit. I was charging them a slightly higher exchange rate as well because they paid me in dollars and when we play for Nigeria, we get paid in dollars.
“At the same time I saved them money as well – that was good yeah.”
Most memorably for Shittu, he managed to bring in plenty of extra cash when he was at west London outfit, QPR.
He admitted: “Back in the QPR days, I was selling water coolers so all the lads would buy water coolers off me but they had to buy the water off me as well.
“I was making a killing from the water coolers but I was making a lot of money from the water. I was selling it to everybody.
“Everybody knows that you get paid a significant amount of money. I think I just like it because I’m doing something I enjoy and give me the platform to meet people that buy the stuff I like as well.”
However, his sales pitch at the Millwall training ground has not been as successful but he is enjoying supporters buying t-shirts with his face on them and his ‘famous’ catchphrase, ‘That’s what we do.’
“I think the only thing I’m trying to sell are my t-shirts,” he explained. “I’ve not been able to sell them anything.
“This season, I’ve had to put my head down and forget about the things I do to get the best out of myself.
“You’ve got to concentrate. You’ve got to rest a lot. I haven’t been able to sort the business out. While we’re in the cup, the gaffer has got the best out of everybody.”
Shittu, who has seven siblings, admits he enjoys the buzz of business and admitted that he used to be able to get money off his family in his younger days.
“I think when it comes to business, it’s not about the money, it’s a buzz for me,” he explained.
“I love computers and I love business. I got all my older brothers and sisters to chip in £50 each and buy me something like turntables when I was a DJ. I used to find a way to get money out of people to get it for me.
“It’s more about enjoying it more than the money. We’re concentrating so much on winning then I’ll think about doing business.
“When I’m 14-15 it’s a lot of money. I’m the second youngest so I was able to get a lot from the older ones.”