Graham's Blog

Sir Alex Ferguson: 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 Sir Alex Ferguson.

Rio Ferdinand once vented his rage at Sir Alex and was fortunate not to be sold. But he never doubted his genius. Yet there was a flaw to that genius, exposed when he left Manchester United too open in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League final defeats to Barcelona. Rio found the latter defeat particularly embarrassing.

Terry Gibson tells us about how Sir Alex’s arrival at Manchester United was the new broom Old Trafford needed after the lax regime of Ron Atkinson. Terry’s face didn’t fit, but luckily Wimbledon came calling.

Alex McLeish relates how his former Aberdeen boss tried to poach him for Manchester United, while Darren Fletcher provides an amazing insight into a Fergie team talk. He could be unpredictable, but ultimately exuded a calmness which affected his players and filled them with belief.

Lastly, fellow manager Gianluca Vialli speaks of what an inspiration Sir Alex was, and shares with us two golden nuggets of advice he always remembered.

Enjoy

Graeme

Uwe Rösler: The Cult Hero of Maine Road

The English game suited Uwe Rösler, and in part two we hear about how he loved the spacious Maine Road pitch and how the home fans made him feel invincible.

Paul Walsh was a great guy to be around and he was also the perfect partner up front. There was also Steve McMahon, Peter Beagrie, Niall Quinn, Nicky Summerbee, Nigel Clough, and, of course, Georgi Kinkladze – the maestro. If you made the run, he would find you with a pass.

You’ll hear about what it’s like to score a brilliant goal in a Manchester derby at Old Trafford. There was also the agony of relegation, when City played out a draw against Liverpool, not realising that a point wouldn’t be enough to save them.

We chat about Pep Guardiola’s Bayern and City revolutions, and we hear about Uwe’s current managerial role at Fortuna Düsseldorf, where promotion to the Bundesliga is the target.

Thanks, Uwe

Graham

Uwe Rösler: From Stasi Survivor to City Slicker

Uwe Rösler was just eleven years old when he went to live at Lokomotive Leipzig’s academy. The experience was seminal, but what he didn’t expect was a terrifying visit from the Stasi, who wanted to him to spy on his team-mates. When Uwe heard that the Wall had come down he knew that nothing would be the same again.

Eventually he would move to Manchester City where the striker, despite not having a word of English, was made incredibly welcome by the players. On the field, he made an instant impact and gave everything, and the Maine Road crowd just loved him for it.

This is an absolutely fascinating Big Interview.

Graham

Classic Big Interview: Jurgen Klopp

Here’s another chance to hear my interview with Jurgen Klopp from season three.

It was spring 2018 when we chatted, just before Liverpool faced Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-final. Little did we know then that Jurgen’s Reds would annihilate City and reach the final, win it the following year and, of course, clinch their long-awaited league title in 2020.

Jurgen is my type of guy – a noisy, honest, heart-on-the-sleeve, larger-than-life character. He gives everything for whichever club he serves and he spoke about how he gets inside his players’ heads and changes their attitudes. Jurgen believes that everyone wants to be the best they can be, and he works to draw out their full potential.

There’s great chat about Borussia Dortmund’s run to Jurgen’s first Champions League final in 2013, and he explains how football is unique because not only do you suffer with others, you also celebrate in a single instant with tens of thousands and potentially millions of people watching on TV.

What a guy.

Graham.

Jason McAteer: From Kaka to Keane

In part two, there’s more on Jason McAteer’s Mini Metro. It once got him and some team-mates into bother when they unwittingly caused a security alert at a nuclear plant.

Jason didn’t like Roy Keane at first – as players on different sides of the Liverpool/Manchester United rivalry, he wasn’t likely to. But Roy’s perfectionism and will to win in the Ireland camp made Jason come to respect and love him.

Jason’s best pal Alan Stubbs was meant to move to Kenny Dalglish’s Blackburn with him, but he couldn’t resist a late bid from his beloved Liverpool. It meant that the deal fell through for Stubbsy, but there were no hard feelings.

Love ya Jason

Graham