Graham's Blog

Cristiano Ronaldo: Big Interview Icon

Welcome to our Big Interview Icons series where we shine a light on a legend whose name has lit up some of the conversations I’ve had with my guests over the last six years of The Big Interview. This episode focuses on Cristiano Ronaldo.

We start with Quinton Fortune talking about the rough footballing environment at Manchester United where Ronnie was regularly ribbed – but it only drove him on to work even harder.

Then there’s former Real Madrid assistant manager Paul Clement’s tale of Ronnie calming him down in the tunnel story before the 2014 Champions League final against Atletico in Lisbon.

Ramón Calderón talks about signing the genius from Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson had stated he’d rather sell Real a virus, but Ramon insists that if a top player wants to leave, you can’t stop him.

Lastly Ryan Fraser talks about playing against Ronnie when Madrid came to Bournemouth to dole out a friendly thrashing. When he put a free-kick in top corner even Ryan was applauding!

Enjoy.

Graham

Classic Big Interview: Andy Robertson

Here’s another chance to hear my interview with Andy Robertson from season three.

We caught up with Andy in early 2018, just after he had played a pivotal role for Liverpool in an incredible 4-3 victory over Manchester City. That really was the moment Andy arrived at Anfield and looking back you can see how the green shoots for Liverpool’s long-awaited title win grew visible that day. There’s great stuff about what it’s like to play for Jurgen Klopp, what it felt like to be signed by Liverpool and how Kenny Dalglish is still such a huge, positive presence at the club.

There’s also chat about why Celtic legend Henrik Larsson was Andy’s boyhood hero and about the ecstasy and relief that came with winning a play-off final with Hull.

Enjoy

Graham

Pep Lijnders: Porto’s Fountain of Youth

Pep Lijnders was in such demand as a coach that Porto took him from PSV Eindhoven at the tender age of 24. The move was a footballing culture shock – Porto’s winning mentality blew Pep away. Their scouting network is second to none, however, this risks impacting the academy. Therefore, Pep and his colleagues had to strive to create their own new generation of stars, and they certainly succeeded.

Pep believes that a successful academy creates a father/son relationship between the young player and his club. He will give you that bit more once he makes the first team, and inspire another hundred boys at the academy.

Thanks, Pep, that was one of the best.

Graham.

Pep Lijnders: Klopp and the Reds’ Revolution

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders provided me with simply one of the most insightful Big Interviews ever.

You will hear how Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool coaches speak in training as if they are instilling the players’ inner voice. The emphasis placed on how to press when they don’t have possession is phenomenal, and it needs perfect positioning and the players’ total buy-in. Liverpool overcome the adversity of missing stars by defiantly sticking to their philosophy, a ‘collective idea’ that is drilled into the squad. Captain fantastic Jordan Henderson is the team’s motor, the on-field leader and the link between the players and the management team.

Mesmerising stuff.

Graham.

Charlie Adam: When King Kenny Came Calling

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

In part two we hear about Charlie’s legendary shooting ability as he describes a free-kick goal in a Wembley play-off final victory for Blackpool against Cardiff. He considers the goal fated because he had hit a carbon copy in training the day before.

Charlie scored against Liverpool and the Anfield club decided to sign him. He endured a battle with Blackpool to gain his release, but it was worth it in the end. Charlie’s dad wept when he signed for his personal hero Kenny Dalglish. At Liverpool, Charlie proved the doubters wrong by demonstrating that he was most certainly good enough to play at that level. He pays tribute to Liverpool legends Luis Suárez and Steven Gerrard, describes what it was like to be man-marked by Phil Jones, and how the Old Firm atmosphere is second to none.

Great stuff from a great guy.

Graham