HIS LIFE and career may cover much of the country but Chris Kamara will always feel something of a homecoming call when it comes to Swindon.

Now known now as one of the most high-profile pundits and presenters on Sky Sports, Kamara still spends his weekends travelling far and wide to report from Premier League grounds.

Born in Middlesbrough, Kamara’s playing career began 300 miles south at Portsmouth, via a stint in the Royal Navy.

In total, the now 60-year-old appeared for nine different clubs, encompassing the south coast, Yorkshire, London and the Midlands, but played more games for Swindon than any other club – 298 in total.

Kamara enjoyed two spells at the County Ground, initially for four seasons in the late 1970s and early 1980s before re-signing in 1985 to join the iconic side built by Lou Macari that climbed from Division Four to Division Two in successive years before finally leaving for good in 1988.

Although he would later enjoy stints in the Premier League with both Sheffield Wednesday and hometown club Boro, he still remembers Swindon as a place that helped shape him – both off the field as well as on it.

“I have happy memories here. I met my wife (Anne) here and my two boys were born here. As much as they like to think they are Yorkshiremen, they were born in Princes Alexandra Hospital (in Wroughton),” said Kamara.

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Kamara, who met up with Town legend Don Rogers (left, with comedian Darren Farley) as the EFL Cup returned to Swindon last month, is a regular football pundit and presenter on Sky Sports

“My mother-in-law is still here and my brother-in-law, so I get to come to Swindon every now and again.

“We have one or two properties around the area that we need maintaining from time to time, so Swindon holds a lot in my heart.

“We had two promotions in my second stint here and I think that team we were unlucky not to get to the First Division in the season after I left to go to Stoke.

“Lou did things differently. He surrounded himself with good players and we had a style of play where we could only play in the final third but it suited us. Teams couldn’t cope with it and we had Jimmy Quinn up front banging in the goals. We had a good team.”

Kamara was back at the County Ground last month to help rekindle memories of Town’s historic League Cup triumph at Wembley back in 1969 as part of the EFL’s build up to this season’s Carabao Cup final, won by Manchester City.

Midway through his first stint at the club, Kamara was part of the side that came as close as any Town team to matching the achievement of their iconic predecessors when they made it to the semi-finals of the same competition in 1980.

Bobby Smith’s third-tier Town troops beat top-flight opponents Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 at home in the first leg but then suffered a sickening 3-1 defeat at Molineux in controversial circumstances.

“We were so unfortunate because Wolves should have been down to 10 men,” said Kamara.

“Alan Mayes got hit by the goalkeeper (Paul Bradshaw). He came out of his goal, didn’t get anywhere near the ball and he clattered Alan and broke his two front teeth and his nose but didn’t get sent off.

“I know everyone looks at situations and says ‘You were unlucky’ but that was a turning point in the game and we ended up losing.

“We were unlucky, I don’t think there was any doubt, but Wolves had some good players – Kenny Hibbitt, Willie Carr, Andy Gray and Emlyn Hughes was their skipper.

“I suppose there was no shame in going out to them. We were the underdogs anyway, but it would have been nice to follow what the boys in ‘69 did.”

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Kamara made nearly 300 appearances in two playing spells at the County Ground

Kamara’s days at Town coincided with that of one of the club’s most famous sons – Swindon’s all-time record appearance maker, John Trollope.

After a few seasons as team-mates, Kamara was still in the Swindon squad when Trollope was appointed manager in 1981, and says the contribution the now 74-year-old and another hero of 1969 – Don Rogers – made to the club during their careers should never be forgotten.

“John is still playing today, isn’t he? That’s how fit he keeps himself,” joked Kamara.

“John was my manager as well as a team-mate and what a servant to this football club John has been. One club men are a rarity and he is certainly held in fondness.

“In terms of legends you’d probably mention Don and John in the same sentence. They should be held in the highest esteem at the football club.”

As well as famous names from Swindon’s past, Kamara has also crossed paths with a prominent member of the club’s present.

He spent the final season of his playing career alongside Town chairman Lee Power at Bradford City and hopes his former team-mate can go on to create his own piece of history at the County Ground.

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Kamara made nearly 300 appearances for Town in two spells

“Lee Power is someone I know very well. I played with him at Bradford and never thought in a million years that one day he would be chairman of a football club but it just goes to show how well he has done,” said Kamara.

“I know some of the supporters are not totally enamoured with what goes on at the club but that is the same with every club and one thing I do know is that Lee wouldn’t put his money into a club if he didn’t want it to be a success.

“There are ups and downs but you are going to get that with a club like Swindon. He is trying to make it successful so hopefully this year is one for them.”