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In part two of my engrossing chat with Jan Age Fjortoft we hear about how the Norwegian lost three Austrian Cup finals when playing for Rapid Vienna. There’s great stuff about scoring during the last minute of the 1998-99 season to keep Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga. And we speak about Norway’s attacking geniuses Martin Odegaard and especia…
 
You might remember Jan Age Fjortoft from the 1990s as a formidable striker for the likes of Swindon, Middlesbrough and Sheffield United, but nowadays this erudite man grabs the likes of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp for post-match television interviews. The Norwegian gives us fascinating insights into the art of interviewing, tellin…
 
Here’s another chance to hear my second Big Interview with Kevin Bridges from season four. We hear about Celtic fan Kevin’s adoration for Henrik Larsson, what it felt like to get his phone number and how he can’t rewatch the 2003 UEFA Cup Final because of Henke’s despair at winning just a runners-up medal. As well as being one of the world’s funnie…
 
In part two of my fascinating conversation with Mark Hateley, we hear how his success with Portsmouth and England led to a transfer to the mighty AC Milan. Coach Nils Liedholm was an incredible influence as Mark improved and scored a famous winner in the first victory over Inter in six years – after which he was a hit with the Ultras forevermore. G…
 
Here comes a peculiar Clasico - Real Madrid v Barcelona ... in Saudi Arabia. Here's what I think about the circumstances around the Supercopa clash and then, as I wrote for ESPNFC, a little something about the connections between the two men in charge, and the power balance between these two titanic rivals. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt…
 
Mark Hateley’s new autobiography Hitting The Mark brilliantly defines the extraordinary career of a truly great British centre-forward. In part one of an in-depth, fascinating Big Interview, Mark tells us how trying to better his late father Tony – himself a successful striker – was his major motivation as he relentlessly drove himself to improve. …
 
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 years. This episode focuses on Pep Guardiola. Rio Ferdinand reflects on Manchester United’s two Champions League final defeats to Pep’s Barcelona and is bighearted enough to wax lyrical about …
 
Welcome to part two of our annual Oscars show, where our listeners - as well as Graham and Pete - decide who wins categories including lifetime achievement and best original song. It's the only review of 2021 that comes with red carpet, evening wear and tapas. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
Welcome to our annual Oscars show, where our listeners - as well as Graham and Pete - decide who wins categories including best performer in a lead role and best director (of football). It's the only review of 2021 that comes with red carpet, evening wear and tapas. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
Scot Gemmill is currently a very successful manager of the Scotland under-21 team. In part two of this absorbing Big Interview, you’ll hear how he hadn’t planned a transition from playing to coaching, and got there through his own initiative, effort and a little slice of luck. He expanded his coaching brain by observing how it was done at Barcelona…
 
Being the son of Scotland and Nottingham Forest legend Archie was normality for Scot Gemmill when growing up, but having Brian Clough critiquing your performance for a Sunday youth side was downright surreal in anyone’s book. Despite his initial self-doubt, Gemmill jnr. went on to play for Cloughie at Forest and nowadays he realises the spell the g…
 
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 years. This episode focuses on Paul Scholes. Michael Carrick describes how when he arrived at Manchester United he was slated for passing to midfield colleague Paul too often – but why wouldn’…
 
In part two of my extraordinary conversation with Graeme Le Saux, we hear about dressing-room bigotry and bullying, and the seismic culture change that needs to occur at a club in order to smash the conspiracy of fearful silence that sustains it. If Graeme felt like an outsider at Chelsea, at Blackburn Rovers he was part of a band of brothers whose…
 
Hola! Here's my latest column for ESPN, for your listening pleasure. With four of Spain’s teams in danger of getting knocked out of the Champions League there's lots for Simeone, Emery and Lopetegui to learn from Rayo Vallecano and Iraola. Enjoy G See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
Graeme Le Saux spent numerous family holidays in Mallorca, but he couldn’t have guessed that one day he would become a non-executive director at the island’s – now La Liga – football club. Real got promoted after a thrilling play-off with Deportivo and now the challenge is to keep improving while staying in the top flight. Graeme was an elegant lef…
 
Here’s another chance to hear my interview with Thierry Henry from season four. You’ll hear about how Barcelona’s talented players adapted to the visionary Pep Guardiola’s methods. The 2009 6-2 victory at the Bernabéu – in which Thierry scored a double and then went off injured –felt like the moment things fully clicked, and the Frenchman recovered…
 
Watching Real Madrid - and in particular how their coach, Carlo Ancelotti, handles his veteran midfield trio of Casemiro, Modric and Kroos - I saw one side of a theological divide. Call it hawks versus doves; Robin Williams versus the Marx Brothers; systems versus players. Here is why I think the Madrid ideology cannot navigate a critical run of ga…
 
For such an intelligent football man, you might be surprised to learn how Brad Friedel was once in the grip of crippling superstitions. Oddly, when he crossed the white line, the nerves disappeared. Also in part two, you’ll hear about the one man Brad feared facing most of all: Alan Shearer. And there’s great stuff about how goalkeepers must never …
 
Today, I'm presenting to you an episode of Between The Lines, a podcast that tells the stories behind great sports writing, produced by Martin and Neil at BackPage, my producers and the publishers of the books I wrote on Barcelona under Pep Guardiola and the Spain team that won a hat-trick of tournaments. In this episode, Neil and Martin talk to Ma…
 
Brad Friedel fell in love with English football long before he arrived on UK shores to grace the No.1 jerseys of Liverpool, Blackburn, Villa and Spurs. A trip to Wembley during a childhood family tour of Europe gave him the bug. He was hardened by his Ohio upbringing, which set him in good stead for coping with the glorious craziness of Galatasaray…
 
Here's my latest for ESPNFC - on Xavi's first game in charge of his beloved Barcelona, against their city rivals, Espanyol. The two teams are level on points, which means Espanyol have a sniff of finishing ahead of their neigbours for the first time since World War Two concluded. And they have, in Vicente Moreno, a coach who, like Xavi, has a very …
 
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 years. This episode focuses on Luka Modric. Former Tottenham colleague Robbie Keane admired the unassuming Luka’s particular courage: his willingness to take the ball under any circumstances. …
 
As Spain prepare for a World Cup duel with Sweden, here are my thoughts on a player who is absent from the mission: the evergreen Iago Aspas, a player who continues to deliver in the biggest games in La Liga. This is the audio version of the column I write every week at ESPNFC. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
Olivier Giroud believes he was destined to play for Arsenal and current club AC Milan because he followed the fortunes of both as a kid. Also in part two, we hear about Olivier’s brother Romain who was a real talent but who didn’t make it in the professional game. And, of course, there’s France’s 2018 World Cup triumph, delivered, Olivier says, by …
 
Olivier Giroud is a World Cup winner whose will to succeed was undergirded by his deep religious faith; it’s no coincidence that his brilliant new autobiography is called Always Believe. In part one of our conversation you’ll hear about the euphoria that broke out after Olivier set up the winning goal against Lille in 2012 which all but clinched Mo…
 
Here’s another chance to hear my interview with Owen Hargreaves from season four. As a youngster at Bayern Munich, Stefan Effenberg would kick Owen in training, but it toughened him, taught him to be ultra-competitive. When he went up against the likes of Luis Figo at Real Madrid in the 2001 Champions League semi-final, he soon felt worthy of the t…
 
Here is my column for ESPNFC on the sacking, last night, of Ronald Koeman, by FC Barcelona, following a giant-killing defeat at the hands of Rayo Vallecano, the latest in a series of results that made this outcome automatic. All of the information I have - some of which you'll hear here - tell me Xavi is the man to replace him, returning to the clu…
 
Paolo Sousa played through the pain barrier for his entire career, but it didn’t stop him winning back-to-back Champions Leagues at Marcello Lippi’s Juventus and then Ottmar Hitzfeld’s Borussia Dortmund. He had come to feel unwanted at Juve, and it was surely karma that it was the Italian club that Borussia defeated in the 1997 final. Also in part …
 
Paulo Sousa was one of the most elegant midfielders of his generation. The Poland head coach is also one of the beautiful game’s deepest thinkers. In part one of our chat, you’ll hear about how he would visualise techniques and game scenarios before playing. Nobody told him to do this – it was an instinctive process, and one that has now been forma…
 
Hola! Hope you enjoyed yesterday's Clasico, which finished Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2. Myself and Pete Jenson answers your questions covering Alaba's goal, Depay, Modric, Ansu, Koeman's future and whether it is time to make the call to Xavi Hernandez. Enjoy See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
Here's part two of this month's Q&A, with a focus on the upcoming Clasico. What does the rest of Spanish football make of the global fascination with Barcelona and Real Madrid? And how will a faltering Barcelona cope with Vinicius as the Real Madrid forward develops game-by-game into a world-class talent? Pete Jenson and Graham Hunter have the answ…
 
Here are Graham, Pete Jenson and our beloved socios, asking and answering all around this coming Sunday's Clasico - in this first part, we connect the Champions League performances of Barcelona and Real Madrid to the possible outcome of the weekend's La Liga meeting. And the focus falls on two of the hottest properties in Spain: Ansu Fati, whose si…
 
Here’s another chance to hear my interview with Alan Smith from season four. Alan was part of an Arsenal side which won England’s top division twice, and he won the golden boot twice, but a crisis of confidence blighted the end of his career, even when he scored the winner against Parma in the 1994 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final. The Gunners’ succ…
 
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 years. This episode focuses on Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders tells us how Jurgen and his coaches instil the players’ inner voice in training. Jurgen’s charges can adap…
 
In part two of my fascinating conversation with Michael Laudrup, we continue talking about Swansea’s 2013 League Cup triumph. They won the final against Bradford 5-0 but Michael never liked humiliating teams or individuals. We hear about a masterclass dealt out in Naples by one Diego Armando Maradona when Michael was playing for Juventus. Michael a…
 
As a player and a manager, Michael Laudrup was pure footballing nobility, so much so that they made him a knight of the Danish realm. Michael is one of that rare species who can articulate his playing genius. Crucial to his development was playing under Johan Cruyff at Barcelona, who was a genius at conveying his message in simple terms. There’s gr…
 
Here’s another chance to hear my interview with Christian Fuchs from season four. Back then, Christian was still at Leicester, where he had won the Premier League against all the odds. Nigel Pearson signed him for the Foxes from Schalke – and was then promptly sacked. But the left-back fitted in with Claudio Ranieri’s plans. Ranieri made every play…
 
In part two of my fascinating interview with Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass, we hear about how everyone goes on about ‘pressing’, but no side can truly pull it off for ninety minutes. You’ll get the skinny on some of the great coaches Stephen has worked under or alongside: Roy Aitken at Aberdeen, Ruud Gullit at Newcastle, Gianluca Vialli at Watford, T…
 
Stephen Glass might have been brought up as a Dundee United fan, but he gave everything as a player and gives everything as a manager to my beloved Aberdeen. Once, he even helped relegate United while wearing a red jersey. Stephen learned his trade from coaches who had played during the Dandies’ golden age, but boy, it was a tough apprenticeship. S…
 
In part two of my riveting Big Interview with Aston Villa manager Dean Smith we hear about how he establishes the right culture by leading by example. He thrives on developing players, and consistency is his byword. All of this laid the groundwork for the incredible 7-2 destruction of then Premier League champions Liverpool in October 2020. Thanks,…
 
Dean Smith is a dyed-in-the-wool fan living the dream. As a youngster, the Aston Villa manager watched his club’s glory days from the Holte End when the European Cup was clinched and talents like Brian Little, Gary Shaw, Gordon ‘Sid’ Cowans, Andy Gray and Didier Six plied their trade. But the man he has just sold for £100million – Jack Grealish – r…
 
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 years. This episode focuses on Jose Mourinho. Benni McCarthy’s tough time at Celta Vigo ended when Jose brought him to Porto. Benni saw the Portuguese as a father figure, and would have run th…
 
It was quite a transfer window in La Liga, but when we asked our socios for questions, there was one move they all wanted to know more about. Here is Graham and Pete Jenson with a 360-degree look at the deal that took Antoine Griezmann back from Barcelona to Atletico Madrid. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
In part two of my absorbing conversation with Vinny Samways, we speak about the midfielder’s earlier days at his beloved Tottenham, not least his time spent under manager and club legend Ossie Ardiles, who Vinny considered to be ahead of his time. Vinny was the kind of player Ossie wanted the play to flow through, his ‘pivote’. There was even a cal…
 
Vinny Samways is a man I admire. At the age of 28, the classy midfielder gave up the English top flight and stepped into the unknown. He signed for Canary Islands club Las Palmas, then in Spain’s second tier. It was a struggle to adapt at first, not least because of the number of yellow and red cards Vinny received, but in his fourth season there h…
 
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