Graham's Blog

Rainer Bonhof: Gerd Muller, King of the Penalty Box

Welcome to part two of The Big Interview with Rainer Bonhof, in which the World Cup winner reveals a secret about his nationality. Let’s just say that his grandfather wouldn’t have been pleased to have seen him help defeat Holland in the 1974 final!

We hear about Rainer’s time as Scotland Under-21 coach when he worked with talents like Shaun Maloney and Darren Fletcher – now Belgium assistant coach and Manchester United technical director respectively. We also chat about who should be the next Germany manager and why Gerd Müller’s greatness will never be surpassed.

Enjoy

Graham

Rainer Bonhof: How to Win the World Cup

Today we welcome our first German World Cup winner onto The Big Interview: Rainer Bonhof.

The elegant midfielder enjoyed his prime during a golden era for Borussia Mönchengladbach. We’ll hear about team-mates Berti ‘The Terrier’ Vogts and Günter Netzer, the side’s bona fide rock star.

It was also a golden era for West Germany, and Rainer made his breakthrough at the 1974 World Cup, scoring against Sweden and then setting up Gerd Müller’s winner in the final against the great Netherlands side starring Johan Cruyff.

Enjoy

Graham

Darren Anderton: Sheringham, Euro 96 and Eng-Arg 98

In part two of my chat with Darren Anderton, we hear about playing for England at Euro ’96, the indescribable feeling of that summer and the classy midfielder’s involvement in THAT Gazza goal against Scotland. There was the perfect performance against Holland at Wembley which was so sublime that Darren was able to take it all in, even hum along to the singing from the terraces. Compare that with the match against Argentina in France two years later, when an inept Danish referee ended England’s World Cup hopes.

Playing alongside Teddy Sheringham was a joy; he made you look a better footballer because of his brilliantly simple movement and assists. He was a leader, as hard as nails, and could score any goal. You’ll also hear about how Sir Alex Ferguson tried to woo Darren – but his loyalty to Spurs was too strong.

Enjoy

Graham

Darren Anderton: Fathers, Sons and Football

Darren Anderton’s late father Norman, a Motherwell man, was his biggest supporter and his best friend. In gratitude, Darren even tried out for Scotland, but his destiny would be with three lions on his shirt.

Darren was brought up a Southampton fan and played for their academy but was not asked to sign up. Therefore, Dad called up arch-rivals Portsmouth, who watched the lad and signed him as a schoolboy. Manager Alan Ball believed in him and Darren improved immensely.

Darren then played for an attacking Tottenham side alongside guys like Teddy Sheringham, Gheorghe Popescu, Nick Barmby, Jürgen Klinsmann and Vinny Samways. Under Ossie Ardiles but they were too attacking, too open, but Gerry Francis improved the shape. If only they’d have kept that team together, who knows what they could have achieved.

Enjoy

Graham

Paul Burgess: The man who makes the world’s best pitches

My chat with Paul Burgess was ground-breaking, if you’ll pardon the pun, for the Big Interview. Paul isn’t a player or a coach, but one of the world’s leading groundsmen.

In this bonus edition, we hear about how a humble work experience start at his home town’s Blackpool FC led to years spent in charge of the pitches at Arsenal and Real Madrid. Paul has never had a match postponed due to the surface under his watch.

You’ll hear about how Robert Pirès’ performances in season 2001/02 were the best Paul has ever seen, how he got the pitch to be Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles’ twelfth man, and the battle he endured to get buy-in to his cutting-edge techniques when he went to ply his trade at the Bernabéu.

Enjoy seeing football from a different angle in this special Big Interview.

Graham