No complaints - 11/12/2003
QPR are doing very well at the moment, and both fullbacks are playing their part. As a result Iím featuring in the team, but thatís not to say Iím not enjoying myself here. Itís been a good move for me, having played a few games and with enjoying training Iím still very happy.
I enjoyed Peter Beardsleyís Variety Club dinner last week, it was great to be back in the North East and to see some old friends. I was sitting next to Alan Shearer and John Beresford so we all had a good chat.
I was contacted by Ian Tucker, heís the programme editor for Maidstone United, and heís running a feature on Maidstone old boys. He sent me a few questions, and the answers are posted below:
1. You've recently joined QPR, how are things going there?
Very well, as Iíve mentioned on the website Iím not getting first team action at present, but Iím enjoying training and weíll see what happens when the contract runs out in a few weeks.
2. When you joined Maidstone United from Leytonstone & Ilford, what were your first impressions of the club?
I was very surprised how professionally run the club was. Iíd signed from Leytonstone and Ilford who were well run, but this was another level. We travelled everywhere first class, wore blazers, and had some excelelent training facilities. The Chairman was a Geordie Ė Jim Thompson Ė who loved his football and wanted the best for his club.
3. What were you best moments from your time at Maidstone United?
Probably scoring my first goal against Yeovil in the FA Cup. My debut was also memorable Ė although in losing 1-0 against Peterborough the result didnít go our way!
4. Were you surprised that after a year with the Stones, you made the rapid rise to the old first division?
Yes, there had been speculation about Liverpool, Newcastle and Spurs, but my move to Wimbledon exceeded expectations.
5. What were your highlights during your time at Wimbledon?
Not surprisingly there were a few! But scoring at Anfield with a free kick in the top corner of Bruce Grobelaarís net was a great feeling. I also won player of the year in my first season and won an England cap Ė not bad for a club that was seen to be unfashionable by those on the outside.
6. Your transfer to Newcastle made you the most expensive defender of that time, that must have been a proud moment for you?
I was proud to join such a big club, and for Kevin to rate me enough to pay such a fee. The first ten months at Newcastle were just unbelievable, the excitement was incredible and success on the pitch just took the club to another level. Living in the North East was brilliant, and the whole city ran a wave of euphoria when we topped the Premiership.
7. You played under some legendary names at Newcastle, was there one manager that made the greatest impression on you during your time at St. James'?
Bobby Ė in terms of a package of man management, tactics and training, he was the best of a very good bunch. Kevin excelled in man management, but I also rated Kenny Ė who brought me back into the team, and also Ruud Gullit was very good to me.
8. In your opinion, what stopped you earning more caps for England?
Gary Neville Ė Mr consistency. Iíd been vying with Rob Jones for the right back spot but then when Gary came along he established himself in the team.
9. What were your reasons for leaving Derby and were you worried about finding another club?
I wanted first team football, and additionally I was spending a lot of time travelling to training and for no end result. I love playing and had a few offers, QPR being the most attractive.
10. How much was the financial crisis in football to blame for Derby's decline?
Difficult to say, but it certainly didnít help. We were throwing 16 year oldís on the pitch and asking them to do menís jobs. It became a bit of a viscous circle as the managers had no money to bring players in and results began to slip Ė making further investment less likely.
11. As an Arsenal fan, would you have liked the chance to join the Gunners?
I would have loved it, but how can I complain about my career Ė Iíve no regrets.
12. How long do you think you will go on playing for?
I donít know, that depends on what offers I get!
13. Any plans to go into football management when your playing careers comes to an end?
Yes, definitely, I enjoy coaching and even at Wimbledon I was taking sessions. Iím doing my UEFA A licence and should finish that in the spring.
14. What were your thoughts when Maidstone United went into receivership and were you aware of its comeback?
I was totally shocked, it was unbelievable as the club had been run so very professionally. Looking back all I can say it that perhaps it we were living above our means?
15. And finally, how about a message for Maidstone United and its supporters?
I think there are a few similarities with Wimbledon, but Kent is a big place and only one other club in Gillingham competes for the attention of Kent fans. My message would be to keep believing and get behind the team. Maidstone is a tremendous club with potential. They gave me my chance and Iíll always be grateful to them Ė enjoy your football!!
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