Graham's Blog

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

John Hartson: How I Silenced the Kop

In part two, John Hartson describes his happy days at West Ham – before everything went sour after an infamous incident with Eyal Berkovic. It took a special kind of guy to come back from that low-point.

John once set up Craig Bellamy to score the winner against Italy with a pass worthy of Xavi. It gave Wales one of their greatest-ever nights in football.

John made the best of his abilities and has fond memories of everywhere he played. But if you forced him to choose, he’s pick playing alongside the likes of Henrik Larsson at Celtic as the highpoint of his career. He describes missing a penalty against Rangers in a cup final defeat at the weekend, and then redeeming himself in midweek with a memorable strike at Liverpool, as the Hoops went on a famous run to the 2003 UEFA Cup final.

Enjoy.

Graham

John Hartson: Knock ’em over, pick ’em back up

John Hartson broke up my Spanish detention with a brilliant remotely-recorded Big Interview.

Big Bad John was the kind of centre-forward who defenders hated marking. If they were smaller than him, he would just knock ’em over, then pick ’em back up. So John was shocked when Valencia’s Roberto ‘The Mouse’ Ayala gave him his hardest shift in a Celtic jersey.

There’s great stuff here about John’s time as an old-school apprentice at Luton, when he looked after his hero Mick Harford’s boots, and there’s chat about losing a European final with Arsenal in agonising circumstances. But he never blamed David Seaman for his horrible mistake.

Thanks, big man.

Graham

Classic Big Interview: Matt Le Tissier

Here’s another chance to hear my interview with Matt Le Tissier from season two.

Matt was such a naturally gifted performer that he could have joined any team he chose. Instead, he was that rarity in the modern game: a one-club player. Matt describes the utter joy he took in lighting up Southampton’s old ground The Dell with his stunning tricks and goals – this interview is about football elevated to an art form. Listen as he describes netting the last-ever goal at The Dell, a goal that he just knew he was going to score. You’ll also hear about that special season when he enjoyed a telepathic relationship with Danish genius Ronnie Ekelund, his strained relationship with Glenn Hoddle – the only manager he ever swore at, and the grim, but ultimately triumphant campaigns against relegation in which he led by his example of sheer will to win.

I guarantee, you will love this interview as much as I did.

Graham