Graham's Blog

Micah Richards: Mancini, Mario and Me

Having witnessed Micah Richards’ incisive football analysis on television, I just knew I had to grab him for a Big Interview. I was not to be disappointed.

As a talented, hardworking defender, he didn’t have his troubles to seek – injuries interrupted and shortened his career. But Micah will always be remembered as a winner, having lifted the FA Cup and the Premier League trophy with Manchester City.

He was such good pals with Mario Balotelli at City that they both sported the same eccentric haircut, and while Micah is frank about his friend’s flaws, he also speaks about the often-unfair treatment he, and footballers in general, receive. He is similarly open about his transformative relationship with his Sky Blues boss Roberto Mancini, a man who players either loved or hated.

Micah’s descriptions of the remarkable 2011-12 league winning campaign which went down to the last seconds of the last day, are captivating, and the reason we do these Big Interviews.

Enjoy

Graham

Classic Big Interview: Neil Lennon

Here’s another chance to hear my interview with Neil Lennon from season two.
This conversation – recorded in front of a live audience at Greenock Town Hall – was set up by Line of Duty and Hollywood star Martin Compston to raise funds for Ardgowan Hospice.
Neil did that fantastic charity proud by giving us an eloquent, revealing, witty and highly entertaining interview. Want to hear about how Martin O’Neill signed him for Leicester City by summarising his contract on the back of a pizza box? Or the sheer will to succeed Neil had to demonstrate after his fledgling playing career was massively interrupted by back surgery? You’ll also hear about how Neil adapted O’Neill’s brilliant management techniques, and ended up masterminding a famous victory over the mighty Barcelona during his first stint as Celtic boss, a win that moved Rod Stewart to tears, and Elton John to telephone to congratulate him.
Brilliant stuff.

 

Scott Minto: How House Music helped me rock Wembley and how I got the Blues at Chelsea

Last season, our Socios at patreon.com/grahamhunter got an exclusive interview with Scott Minto. For the first time, here’s the full episode.
Part two focuses on Scott’s time as an accomplished full-back at Chelsea, where Glenn Hoddle brought a new era of professionalism to the club – not least ending biscuits as the staple of the pre-training diet. While at Stamford Bridge, Scott operated alongside incredible talents such as Dan Petrescu and Roberto Di Matteo. However, few surpassed Hoddle’s replacement, player-coach Ruud Gullit, in terms of sheer all-round ability. Scott describes Chelsea’s 1997 FA Cup winning run, and how applying sports psychology – before it was fashionable – and listening to a house music track prepared him for the Wembley final, which proved to be his last game for the club. He also explains how being substituted too often disillusioned him with life at the Blues.
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

Scott Minto: Holmes, Hurlock and jilting George’s Gunners

Last season, our Socios at patreon.com/grahamhunter got an exclusive interview with Scott Minto. For the first time, here’s the full episode.
I’m familiar with Scott’s analytical skills from working with him in television studios, but I had no idea how as a youngster he considered dumping football for becoming a real-life Sherlock Holmes. Scott laments the obscene wealth offered to young players nowadays, and also the demise of the apprenticeship system which toughened him up for top-division football. However, he has no idea what possessed him to put in a crazy tackle on ultimate tough guy Terry Hurlock during his Charlton debut. Scott also describes how close he came to signing for Arsenal, before jilting George Graham and the Gunners for city rivals Chelsea.
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

Ossie Ardiles: War and Peacemaker

In part two, Ossie Ardiles delves into that famous World Cup win in 1978. How legendary manager César Luis Menotti broke the mould in Argentinian coaching by letting his players fully express themselves – Ossie flourished under him. He tells us about how he nearly missed the final against the Netherlands and had to play through the pain barrier due to a foot injury. But it was even worse for the great Leopoldo Luque, who played not only while carrying an injury but who had lost his brother in a road accident during the tournament.

Ossie talks about how his happy time at Tottenham Hotspur suddenly went dark when the Falklands – or Malvinas – War broke out. His cousin was killed early in the conflict, and Ossie felt isolated, abused and rootless in London. But after an unhappy spell in Paris he came back to White Hart Lane and helped Spurs win the UEFA Cup. He also helped mend bridges between Britain and Argentina, and he’s been mending them ever since.

There’s thoughts on Diego versus Lionel, on Mario Kempes, Glenn Hoddle and José Mourinho’s chances at Spurs.

Just a brilliant, fascinating Big Interview.

Graham.