20+ questions with Shaka Hislop

West Ham Unites goalkeeper Shaka Hislop

  • Shaka Hislop in full flight. Photograph by Ben Radford/ Allsport

Trinidad-born SHAKA HISLOP is dubbed a “Gentleman At The Goalpost” for English football team West Ham United. His six-foot-four presence turns heads wherever he goes. But it is his unassuming, quiet cool that wins him friends and admirers wherever he goes

When and where were you happiest? 

I was happiest at the births of my three children. I cut the cord on each occasion and have never been happier before or since.

What’s your favourite place? 

Home, wherever that may be.

Where in the world would you most like to visit? 

Mecca. I’m not overly religious but I believe it would still be a very moving experience.

Who’s your favourite person? 

My wife.

Which living person do you most admire? 

Nelson Mandela, for what he has given not only to his own, but to black people the world over.

Apart from world peace, what would you change in the world?

I would eradicate the poverty, sickness and abuse of the world’s children.

What don’t people know about you? 

If there is something that people don’t know about me it’s because I don’t want them to know. As much as you should know your own weaknesses, you should never reveal them.

What would you do if you knew you had only nine months to live? 

I would spend every waking moment with my kids and do whatever they wanted to do.

What do you do for relaxation? 

I read quite a bit, but mostly I enjoy doing absolutely nothing but look at the day go by.

What’s the best movie you’ve seen? 

Recently it was either Gladiator or The Hurricane.

What do you like about yourself? 

I like to think I am quite trustworthy.

What do you dislike most about your appearance? 

I’ve got big feet, big ears, a big nose, a big forehead . . . shall I go on?

What gift would you most like to have? 

To make children laugh. There is no sweeter sound in the world.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 

I don’t believe I have achieved anything of major significance in my life. My parents, for instance, have achieved a lot more than I have and probably ever will.

Where would you like to live? 

Trinidad!!! I have recently bought a piece of land towards that end.

When you are not in the Caribbean, what do you miss most? 

The people, the weather.

What do you admire most in women? 

The ability to be a mother, a friend, a lover, a role model and, in many circumstances, a provider, all at the same time, and yet still never stop being a lady.

What is your most treasured possession? 

Life.

What is your greatest extravagance? 

Sports cars. I have always dreamt of them and only recently bought my first.

If you could choose your next life, what would you come back as? 

A surgeon. They have the greatest grasp on the complexity of life.

What is your greatest regret? 

I’m quite happy with the way things have worked out.

What is your motto? 

What I’ve found myself saying to up-and-coming young footballers is “always be prepared to work a little harder than the next person, to be a little better than the next person.” I suppose it’s valid for more than just football.

What is your greatest fear? 

Your fears are closely related to your weaknesses, and as I said before, they are for me alone. You won’t catch me revealing them.

What is your birth sign? 

Pisces. Born on the 22 February 1969.