Graham's Blog

La Liga Live At The Sugar Club, Dublin: Part Two

WELCOME back for the second part of the La Liga event I recorded live with Mr Sid Lowe at the Sugar Club in Dublin earlier this year.

On the night, we opened up the floor to questions tweeted to us from members of the audience, with Sid and I talking about unforgettable characters from the Spanish game like Laurie Cunningham and the madcap Joaquin.

We discuss Lionel Messi – how could we not? – and how he is now playing his best football ever, while we also talk about Cristiano Ronaldo and his obsession with becoming known as the greatest of all time.

We also take questions about Diego Simeone and why it has still to fall into place for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.


This was organised by Con Artist promotions, who have put on some truly fantastic live football talks across Ireland and the UK. The next event is being held tonight at Union Chapel, London, where James Richardson, James Horncastle and Paolo Bandini will mark the 25th anniversary celebration of Gazzetta Football Italia.

Information about this and future Con Artist events can be found on Facebook and Twitter.


La Liga Live At The Sugar Club, Dublin: Part One

YOU are about to listen to a La Liga event which I recorded live with Sid Lowe at the Sugar Club in Dublin earlier this year.

Together, we share our appreciation of rondos and the role they play in the technical development of footballers in Spain, something which teams in England continue to be ignorant of.


We also chat about Luis Enrique and, in particular, his relationship with the Spanish media during his time as manager of FC Barcelona, and I give my opinion on the direction that Barca are going in. Sid and I also discuss another character who has since left the Spanish game, Monchi, and explain why he was so incredibly important to the success of Sevilla during his long reign as sporting director.

This event was a lot of fun, and I want to say a big thank you to Con Artist promotions for staging the gig. Con Artist puts on some fantastic live football talks across Ireland and the UK – with past events like The Blizzard, Football Weekly Live and many more.

In fact, there’s an event at Union Chapel in London on Monday, June 19 that I think you’ll be very interested in – a 25th anniversary celebration of Gazzetta Football Italia, where James Richardson, James Horncastle and Paolo Bandini will relive their favourite moments from this era d’oro of Italian football.

Win a South Africa shirt signed by Benni McCarthy!

SO, after speaking to Benni McCarthy, the former Bafana Bafana striker kindly signed a shirt for us. And you have the chance to win it! Here’s what you have to do…

Just scroll down and put your email address into the ‘Subscribe’ box directly underneath this post. That means you’ll be on the Big Interview mailing list (if you’re on the mailing list already you don’t need to do anything).

At 7pm today (Monday, June 7), we’ll email you a Benni-related question. Hit ‘reply’ to Monday’s email with your answer, and we’ll announce a winner later in the week.

And if you don’t win, don’t worry. You’ll now be on our mailing list and will have the chance to win more goodies in the future, submit questions to our guests and get the latest podcasts sent directly to your inbox.

Good luck!


Benni McCarthy: Gun Shots And Gangster League

Here it is: your Benni bonus, as promised. And you can believe me when I say that this one is a very, very special treat.

He takes us back to his childhood in Hanover Park, a suburb of Cape Town dominated by crime. That is where it all began for Benni… and where it could all have ended, with Benni recalling the rampant gang culture and violence he grew up around.

Make no mistake, this was was a dangerous place to live – and he tells the story of how his best friend, 11-year-old Reginald, was shot and killed while they played football together in the street.

Benni reveals that, at first, he thought a good education – and not football – was his best chance of escape, but his sporting talent soon took over and he became a star in a newly-created Gangster League, playing “shoe-shine piano” football. Don’t worry, you’ll discover what that means.

From his origin story, he ends this spectacular Big Interview by looking to the future, offering a glimpse of what Benni McCarthy the football manager will be like. And it is surely “when” and not “if” he is put in charge of a club.

I’m sure you’ll agree after listening to these podcasts.


Benni McCarthy: Fame, Fortune And A Final Farewell

WELCOME back for Part Two of this fabulous Big Interview with Benni McCarthy: fascinating story teller, wonderful footballer, Champions League winner.

When we left Benni at the end of Part One, he was telling the story of how he got his hands on the cup with the big ears in 2004, with his Porto side progressing from a group which contained Marseille, Partizan Belgrade and Real Madrid. Who’s next? Manchester United in the last 16.

Benni had always dreamed of playing for United and he left his mark against them in 2004, scoring twice in a stunning first leg victory. He describes both of those goals in glorious detail, as well as explaining why it was him – and not Deco – who took the injury time free-kick which put the tie to bed at Old Trafford.


From there, Benni retraces his steps to the final, where Porto cruised to victory against Monaco. In fact, he will reveal that the competition was fiercer on the bench, where Benni was among the substitutes all fighting to get on and play a part in the game.

Benni more than plays his part in this Big Interview by telling the story of Porto’s historic triumph so well.