Graham's Blog

Brian Laudrup: Denmark 1992 – Football’s Greatest Fairy Tale Part Two

In part two of my uplifting interview with Brian Laudrup, we get into the detail of Denmark’s Euro ’92 fairy tale.

A disappointing draw with England was followed by defeat to hosts Sweden and the Danes prepared to pack their bags. But a star-studded France team underestimated Laudrup and Co, who clinched a semi-final place against the Netherlands. The Dutch were the competition’s most fancied side, featuring talents such as Rijkaard, Bergkamp and Van Basten. Yet Denmark won a penalty shoot-out to face Germany in the final in Gothenburg where Peter Schmeichel was a hero between the sticks and John Jensen scored an unlikely beauty. Perhaps Destiny also played her part for the Danes that summer.

The lesson, friends, is to never stop believing.

Graham

Brian Laudrup: Denmark 1992 – Football’s Greatest Fairy Tale Part One

Brian Laudrup was part of the Denmark side who were last-minute additions to Euro ’92. They would have been happy to have taken a point… but they only went on to win the tournament!

Brian and his brother Michael weren’t keen on coach Richard Moller Nielsen’s ideas and both quit the national side. But Brian and Neilsen managed to sort things out only three months before the Euro finals began. When Yugoslavia were disqualified and Denmark invited to take their place just eight days prior to their first game, Brian didn’t think he was recovered enough from a recent injury. But he soon warmed to the idea of proving that Denmark weren’t the ugly ducklings everyone thought they were.

Enjoy,

Graham

John McGinn: Hero of the Holte End

In part two of my chat with John McGinn, we pick up just after hearing about how the midfielder’s beloved Celtic’s inexplicable dithering meant that Villa swooped for his signature. He relates the thrill of beating rivals West Brom in a penalty shootout to set up a play-off victory over Derby.

John also describes Scotland’s showdown in Serbia to clinch a place at the Euros. A simple but powerful team-talk from Steve Clarke had set the players up psychologically. John, who had been substituted, describes the agony of watching the penalty shootout from the stand. He needn’t have worried, because glory awaited.

Enjoy,

Graham

John McGinn: The Fire Inside

It was a real pleasure catching up with Scotland and Aston Villa midfield maestro John McGinn.

John is a graduate of the academy at St Mirren where he was taught technique by progressive coaches – and also learned how to dodge fireworks! Let’s just say that training took place in Ferguslie Park, the more… boisterous end of Paisley. Hibernian came calling and John describes the Scottish Cup triumph of 2016 over Rangers, replete with a pitch invasion and a stirring rendition of the anthemic Sunshine on Leith.

Enjoy,

Graham

Q&A Extra: Madrid’s Three-peat Part 2

Welcome back to my chat with Pete Jenson and Neil White in which we consider if Real Madrid’s Three-peat side are underrated.

As we heard in part one, certainly Real’s run-up to the first final was underwhelming and they had to take city rivals Atlético to penalties. But the 4-1 thrashing of Juve and then the beating of Liverpool surely deserve more credit. After all, this is a team which featured the likes of Isco, Benzema, Casemiro, Modric and Kroos, as well as talisman Cristiano Ronaldo. Having Ronaldo was like having a goal start, and it is a distinct possibility that he himself was underrated and misunderstood. Just ask any of his team-mates.