‘English Maradona’ partied with 12-year-old Samuel L. Jackson
McDonalds, Mizuno and Paul Smith were all chasing former child prodigy Sonny Pike when he was just 14 years old.
The North London Englishman was advertised as ‘The English Maradona’ when he had just moved from primary to secondary school. Various multinational companies were looking to offer him sponsorship deals while huge clubs such as Tottenham and Ajax were, needless to say, monitoring his progress.
Unfortunately, Pike’s dreams of becoming a world star all fell apart as the overwhelming fame got in his way and disrupted his progress. And the now 38-year-old offered breathtaking insight into the chaotic scenes of his childhood as he portrayed a Paul Smith party with Pulp Fiction and Star Wars star Samuel L. Jackson.
“After coming back from Ajax when I was just 12,” Pike told the Under The Cosh podcast, when asked when his first sponsorship deal came around. “Within a few months it all started – the first sponsorship deal I had was a local window company, who just gave me money to get a kit.
“Then I ended up with Mizuno – I was doing a lot of things like catalogs and things like that. Giafranco Zola was there, I did a commercial with him and I met Jamie Redknapp a few times because he was with Mizuno.
“I was doing catalogs and filming things with them and everything, and then I ended up being sponsored by Paul Smith. I was invited to his flagship store in Covent Garden and invited to his parties.
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“My mum loved it as she was throwing a party there with Paul Smith and Samuel L Jackon.” Despite his early fame and sponsorship deals, Pike was never able to become a professional footballer.
While performing ‘keepie-uppies’ and performing tricks in front of 80,000 fans at Old Wembley Stadium, he never had the opportunity to return to the pitch as a player.
Apart from being a taxi driver, Pike has also founded his own one-on-one coaching business where he helps educate and guide the next generation of young football players, so they don’t suffer the same fate as him.