Graham's Blog

Brendan Rodgers: Brown and Morgan, a Tale of Two Captains

When Brendan Rodgers took the Celtic job he was advised to jettison Scott Brown. Instead, Brendan invited him to his London home where they chatted about what behaviour he expected from a captain, and also how he could incorporate ‘Broonie’ in a different role. Despite the relatively advanced stage in his career, Scott transformed his attitude and style of play, and coach and skipper lifted trophy after trophy in Glasgow.

When Brendan took over at Leicester, he again forged a crucial relationship with the incumbent captain, Wes Morgan, and there’s great stuff about Leicester and England talents James Maddison and Ben Chilwell. Brendan also reflects on why Philippe Coutinho was adored at Liverpool but failed to hit the ground running at Barcelona.

Finally, there’s a moving testament on how Brendan considers himself duty-bound to help preserve the legacy and vision of beloved Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who died in such tragic circumstances in 2018.

Brendan Rodgers: The other side of Luis Suarez

Brendan Rodgers possesses one of the sharpest analytical minds in football, but more than that he is a purist, a devotee of the beautiful game– as demonstrated by the verve with which his high-flying Leicester side plays. It was an honour for the Big Interview to engage with him and I hope our conversation will alleviate the effects of lockdown for our dear listeners.

As a rookie coach, Brendan had the foresight to regularly visit Spain to soak up the methods employed there – not least because the Spanish had a way of incorporating players of a shorter stature, something the Northern Irishman could relate to!

Brendan tells us about working with true greats: Samuel Eto’o was the ultimate winner, Luis Suárez was the ultimate team player. There’s also a tribute to John Terry, a ‘world-class’ central defender.

Classic Big Interview: Chris Sutton

Here’s another chance to hear my interview with Chris Sutton from season two.

Chris’ success as a striker in England and Scotland was rooted in a tough start. As a kid, an initial rejection by his local club Norwich just made him all the hungrier – and a second bite at the cherry with the Canaries plus his dad and his youth coach’s tough motivational approaches set him on the trajectory to a trophy-laden career.

At Norwich he once faced Alan Shearer while playing as a centre-half, and was on the end of a 7-1 schooling. But he so shone as a striker at Carrow Road that he would soon partner Shearer at Blackburn after a record transfer move. There, manager Kenny Dalglish had his players walking through walls for him all the way to a famous last-day league title win. Yet it was Chris’ incredibly successful relationship with the legendary Henrik Larsson at Celtic that was his most cherished, not least because it followed a very difficult period at Chelsea during which he had lost his confidence.

I guarantee you will love hearing this very different side to one of the game’s great characters.

Graham

Mark Schwarzer: European Heartbreaks, Clashes with McClaren and Fulham’s Juve Miracle

Last season, our Socios at patreon.com/grahamhunter got an exclusive interview with Mark Schwarzer. For the first time, here’s the full episode.

Mark had a love affair with the UEFA Cup/Europa League, reaching the final of each with Middlesbrough and Fulham respectively, and, sadly, losing both. But this remarkable man is disarmingly philosophical about both defeats. In part two Mark also describes the incredible encounter against Manchester City that clinched Boro’s UEFA place, in which he crucially saved a late Robbie Fowler penalty in a match in which fellow goalie David James wore an outfield shirt! Mark describes his fraught relationship with Boro boss Steve McClaren, being part of Fulham’s incredible comeback against Juventus and the euphoria of Australia qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.

If you would prefer not to wait 12 months to listen to these extra interviews, it’s time to become a Socio at patreon.com/grahamhunter

Mark Schwarzer: Kamara’s Big Break and keeping calm in the Calderon Cauldron

Last season, our Socios at patreon.com/grahamhunter got an exclusive interview with Mark Schwarzer. For the first time, here’s the full episode.

Mark – an Aussie with German parents – kept goal for Dresden in the unsettled aftermath of reunification, and then at Kaiserslautern, where he was disrespected and unappreciated. His big break in England came when he was trialling for Manchester City in a friendly against Bradford. Bantams manager Chris Kamara liked the cut of his jib and signed him up. Mark speaks about breaking a bone in his back while at Fulham in a match against Swansea – and then playing on! He also describes being thrown in at the deep end when Chelsea’s Petr Cech was injured in a Champions League semi-final at Atletico Madrid, and keeping the score at 0-0.

If you would prefer not to wait 12 months to listen to these extra interviews, it’s time to become a Socio at patreon.com/grahamhunter