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Basingstoke plays a big part in The Sergio Torres Story
FROM sleeping in the boardroom at the Camrose to playing in front of more than 70,000 people at Old Trafford, former Basingstoke Town midfielder Sergio Torres certainly has an interesting story to tell.
And so it is fitting that the Argentinean, who rose to prominence at Town before going on to play for Wycombe Wanderers, Peterborough United and Crawley Town, has now written a book charting his remarkable journey.
The Sergio Torres Story explains how the 32-year-old went from working in a brick factory in his homeland to playing against Manchester United at Old Trafford – a rise Basingstoke played a big part in.
Sergio arrived in this country 10 years ago. He spoke practically no English and had very little money – but he refused to give up on his dream.
After an unsuccessful trial at Brighton, Sergio dropped into non-league – and it was at this point that Basingstoke entered his life.
He and fellow countryman Cristian Levis accepted the chance to have a trial at the Camrose. They made their debuts against Braintree Town two days later, Torres winning the man-of-the-match award and Levis scoring one of the goals in a 3-0 victory.
Torres said: “It was amazing when I came to Basingstoke. I love the club because it gave me so much.
“I was happy just to be playing and to have a club. I had three months out and just wanted the chance to show what I could do.”
Sergio’s determination to succeed in football certainly cannot be questioned. He showed during his 18-month spell at Town that he was willing to do whatever it took.
When stuck for a place to stay, Sergio and his compatriot agreed to sleep in the boardroom at the Camrose.
“It suited us because we didn’t have to pay anything – and we were never late for training or games,” he said. “We lived in the boardroom for three months on fold-up beds.
“It was funny because when there were games, we had to hide the beds in the corner and clean everything up. It was a great time and we were saving money because we didn’t have to pay any rent.”
When in need of money, Sergio decided to take a job at a Boots warehouse in Daneshill.
“I had to work in Boots because I could not earn enough just playing football,” he explained. “We had to cycle for half-an-hour to get there and we started at 6am, so in the winter we could be wet and cold by the time we got there.”
On the pitch, Sergio quickly established himself as Town’s star player, scoring 10 goals in 69 games before he got what he had always wanted – a contract with a professional team in the shape of Wycombe.
He said: “The day I signed a professional contract was the best day of my life. I was 24 and had finally made it.
“I’ve been playing football full-time for eight years now and I have loved every minute of it.”
The highlight of his career came in February 2011, when Sergio was a member of the Crawley Town team that gave Manchester United a fright in the FA Cup, losing by a single goal at Old Trafford.
However, he has never forgotten his time at Basingstoke – and has even hinted that he would like to one day return and play for the club that gave him his big break.
“I have said to Jason Bristow that in a few years, I would like to return to where everything started,” said Sergio. “We’ll see how it goes over the next couple of years, and then I would like to go back.”
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