Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
Coming to me, Duplin, let's have a propaganda stroll, meander around this place we call home Mosiello to Malahide Castle, pop into St. Patrick's Cathedral, have a poke around Kroko for a skyline to ramble from the grandest national gallery to the locals little museum. Then roll with the rock stars that women molaim for Bittercreek collectability north side, south side, both so pretty Dublin is only massive. Discover more.
Visit Dublin to the OTB podcast network, the OTV Sports and listen to OTV Sports Radio 24/7. Plus all your favorite podcasts, including Ogola.
Are you complete the OTV sports app available to download now from your App Store, the All Star Bowl podcast on OTB Sports Radio, Ireland's first and only sports radio station.
It is time to turn back the clock a little bit on our tech chat. I'm delighted to say that we are joined this evening by Stelling, Petroff and Chris Sutton. You're both very welcome. How are you keeping.
Yes, a little bit tired of it. We've been here a long time. We were waiting for Neil Lennon to get locked and he may be a good manager, but just press the link, Neil.
It's not difficult to get a proper job. Let's let's start by talking about Martin O'Neill. It's something we were just chatting about. So it makes sense to bring this straight off the bus. Chris, you can lead us away here. The best manager you've ever played for when it comes to the psychology and getting players ready for games. I thought Kenny Dalglish was a was an exceptional manager of Blackburn Rovers, very similar to Martin.
But I think what what I mean, I heard Neill speaking earlier. Celtic are in this position now because of what Martin O'Neill did in the early years. He transformed the club. He understood the club, the values of the club, the people at the club. He got everybody onside. And when you think I think it was 21 points the gap the previous season to turn it round, which he did in such a short space of time to give the support, belief, the players belief was such an incredible feat.
And and I know there's been this criticism about Martin as a coach. Does he do enough coaching this, that and the other?
But I can honestly say that I think I can speak to the other players as well, Neal. And certainly and there wasn't ever once where we crossed the white line and didn't know what our role in the team was. I think, Martin, it certainly proved himself at Celtic. He did exceptionally well when he first went into management at Wickham. Getting them into the football league achieved great things Leicester City and was highly, highly sought after downsizing Leeds United to a Premier League club at that stage, wanted Martin to go there.
So it was a big deal, Celtic getting in north of the border. But but what he did was was nothing short of exceptional and go back and say, you know, it's why Celtic are where they are today.
The dominant force in Scotland still might bring you in here because Marconi obviously had a huge impact on your footballing career. Manage the two clubs, of course, your Celtic career. And how that dovetails with Martin O'Neill is very interesting as well, because you go to South and John Burns is the manager. Initially, after a period of time, once Martin O'Neill is in there, it does seem that you settle into Celtic life a little bit better once Markman's there.
You have just going back on what the boy said and the prices that paid to him and everything they talked about, about him as a person, as a manager as well, for me, this is a very special person, not just as a manager, as a human being as well, because, first of all, give me opportunity to become something something different. It made me a winner. He made me believe that I can achieve. And this is very important for when you are a young player.
And I was one of the young players. I mean, when Neil when Neil and Chris joined Celtic, they were very experienced players and I was just a young boy there. So for him to create such an environment for myself because I was the winning kind of team and he made me believe that I can go and achieve and be something something special. And he made me believe that I can I can develop in the right way and give me opportunity to develop in the right way, which I'm already done with Neil and Lester and obviously done with Chris.
When he came to Celtic, he made the movie not because before he came to us, I know he won the league with Blackburn, but it was set to become even bigger with. But you go along with that, Chris. Yeah, the other thing he made cylinder's he made him lose weight because when Stallion arrived, it felt like he was a chubby little right back.
I mean, it was Martin had a tremendous eye for a player. And all joking aside, credit to Stella for the way he knuckle down and and became the player, which he did at Celtic. But but Martin saw Stallion as a central midfielder and developed him. And if you look at some of the players, you know, Martin had inherited, I should say, at Celtic, the likes of Johan Mallaby, who is the central midfield player at the time, Martin saw him as a center back.
And what a tremendous servant he was to Celtic as a center back, really dependable.
It looked like it would be the end for the likes of Lubow Muravchik, who was such a such a player.
He was a guy I'd never heard of down in England come to order, and he was aging at the time. And using what, Jim train, left foot, right foot can see a pass, make a pass score. Unbelievable goal. Do you think what is wrong with this guy? I thought he would be surplus to requirements under Martin because the issue with him was that he wouldn't run around. But but Martin always liked a maverick and saw something in Lubow which which was phenomenal.
And Lubow played some great football under Martin. Didier Agat was a thirty thousand pound signing. He was playing centerfield for Hibs, I think it was. And he did such a fantastic job for Martin in a wingback role at times played against Ronaldinho and never gave him a kick. Another one of the great memorable nights at Celtic Park. So Martin had an amazing talent for seeing players in a different way to to which other other managers did, too. And that was one of his great strengths.
And they also also sat before Milos Austalian. Does he also be resurrected?
My career from Chelsea will come to that in just a moment. But but still on the idea of you being a write back, is that true, that Martin was the man who transformed you into the midfielder?
Yes. Listen, you know, going to a different country, you know, learning the culture. Obviously, when I when I joined Celtic, I wasn't speaking in English and the English. So for me was very difficult. That was the other important point for me to learn the language and make sure that I integrate into the team because everybody knew I was talking about, you know, to today today's players, you know, more than players about how you need to treat them.
But for me, it's about getting to the environment, get into the team, to the atmosphere of the of the dressing room. That was very important for me. But the other point is being right back, it wasn't my best position. So I was really struggling. I was overweight. I wasn't speaking the language. So for me, it was very difficult and much and it was very straightforward. Me, he said to me one thing that I have to lose weight and you give me a chance.
And that was enough for me. But the other thing is, is not just we paying so much compliments about my Turnell, but I've managed to bring a lot of leadership into the team, you know, talking about New and Chris at the moment, because down the CO, you brought great, great leaders into the team with the mind that wanted to come to the team. They wanted to to be part of a winning team. And they showed me how to do it.
I mean, training with them every single single day, playing the games they wanted to be winning. They want to be achievers and they wanted to drug everybody in the right direction. And when you when you have players like like them around you, it's very easy. And for me, I only had to learn. I had to work hard and the opportunity came. And that was that was really important for me.
How intimidating was it to be in that dressing room at the Star Stadium and not having much English? Very intimidating. I mean, I had some, you know, some tactical conversation with John Bonson when you when you obviously understand the football language, but, you know, going to like felt the pressure, the pressure from the manager, from the players, from the dressing room, from the fans as a club. The DNA of the club is about winning.
And I wasn't comfortable with that because first of all, I was playing so right back. I was overweight. I wasn't comfortable with that position, but nobody really asked me. And if they asked me, I couldn't answer. So for me, it was a huge issue. And I could see. I could see I was I was getting away from the dressing room. I was getting away from the from my teammates. And that was a big, big concern for me, Neal.
It sometimes seems to me that that's the dressing room, given the amount of characters in there, such an amazingly talented squad with characters. And there are exceptional as well that half of Mark O'Neal's job was knowing when to let people off the leash and let those characters express themselves. Yeah, I mean, there's a six or seven or so, we're all around the same age myself, Chris, you watch and you know Paul Lambert and Alan Thompson, you know, we really sort of driven and CNN was.
You know, when we did three and, you know, it was quite intense and we got the best out of each other, we got after each other, but then we played, you know, he would sort of, you know, motivate you to do it and channel ratings. And, you know, in Europe, especially at Salt Lake Park, we were, you know, really, really difficult team to play against, really difficult team to beat and to give them the club, the gravitas that had been hard for a long, long time.
And it also give the supporters a huge amount of pride. It was such a strong just maybe could have had six or seven quite comfortably as as captain. And that proved to be the case over the four or five years he was in charge of Salt Lake. You know, various players were kept under the club. Tom Boyd, Paul, Lumberjacking, Mark Henrick, you want to come in at times. So you are really strong from dishonouring. But then we asked big expectations of each other every day.
Yeah. How does that dressing room compared to the other dressing rooms around that era in the 90s, identical twins in terms of those big names and characters, like it's not going to be boring with all those people around us, our dressing room. Certainly wasn't boring, I would have to say, probably on behalf of Elian as well, that I think we would have preferred the new mellow Neil Leonard because as a player, he'd never shut up.
I mean, really, he used to east of bulls around neck height and then shout at me. So and the opposition got on the ball. They say, get hold of it. And I'll say, any chance you give me a decent ball? And that that's the way it was. But we had a lot of a lot of really good characters. And and that was important in terms of driving us on and on the success which we had.
Yeah, that's one of the key things here, like gelling a dressing room is such a nebulous phrase, it's hard to sometimes pin down how to do it. When you walk into that dressing room, are you like, I can have the crack with these fellows, I can be made to that guy. And it was just a very easy thing. It strikes me that nothing was really forced in your relationships with those players. Well, I was really a popular character in the dressing room and used to run the dressing room, so I was never really an issue for me going into the morning.
I know a lot of the other lads used to get nervous, but not for me still.
You know, we heard from Neil earlier on talking about how Martin O'Neill has changed through the years and he was in his pump at Leicester and at Celtic. Did you feel he was in his pump at Aston Villa as well? Yes, of course, I mean, the opportunity to go to different different clubs at that time and only have only had two minutes for them to just talk to me about what he wants to achieve with Aston Villa, the project of Aston Villa.
And there was not much to talk about. I've said yes, and I've moved on. He was it was very determined to to achieve with Villa. He wanted to be to be back in England. He wants to be somebody that people talk about to have a team to compete. And he he managed to do that. I mean, obviously, going down to to England, I've found it really difficult to start as well. And to be honest, one day he told me he left me out for three months and he told me that he's going to he's going to loan me to a lower division club.
And I was like, I won't be able to do that. I'm going to play you. So, you know, it's about him saying, I do believe you. Are you struggling at the moment? If you show me that you can play, you will play in my team and you're going to fight with everybody else, like I want you to do like you've done a facility. And that was enough for me. And he knew that I was a competitor.
I knew that he has to challenge me to to become better. And he knew these players in you in your new increase in you, every single one at Celtic and in Aston Villa, if you look at it as Celtic, you build up his own team with the great characters, strong characters, Wiener's and even managed to do that, which we asked of you as well. So he does know how to create a winning team and I want to be part of it.
And that's why I have the incredible success with him at that period where he has you out of the team for a while until he was going to get you to a lower division club. It is an interesting one. It seems that this was a mechanic used by Marcantonio, quite a bit like the Nigerian soccer situation at Aston Villa is probably at the most high profile that the real postop between the two. I guess that's what happens when you have a manager who is able to psychologically motivate players.
So whether you're going to roll players up the wrong way sometimes to. Yes, of course, and enough we've seen a lot of players not being happy with him and how he managed, but he's the kind of man he's about Saturday about winning is about achieving and some players can deal with. And it's it's it's not it's not a big issue, is it? Just some players can can deal with the pressure. You know, new will tell you about Lester and obviously Celtic.
I can talk about going to Vilo and especially with Nigel. Nigel was was a very good player. But, you know, it was challenged all the time. And he had a very, very big competition there. And, you know, sometimes you have to you have to be up to the task and sometimes you wasn't. And, Martin, expect you to play and expect you to win. And if you don't do it on Saturday, then, you know, you have to you have to wait for longer because most of these things are winning for a long period of time.
Were you there today?
They had the 3:00 and. Oh, it's hilarious, I think about it in a beat him up. We still talk about it, but it was really funny. It was really funny, you know, getting that free stuff and, you know, fighting. But this is this is part of the winning the winning mentality and winning team is it happens all the time and stuff.
Sorry to interrupt for people who missed the story because it's from 2009, Mark, on the opening night of what actually happened on the on the ground that day. Study just two guys with a very strong opinion, they have a disagreement on the page, the square to each other and, you know, I think clopping my Nigel kind of went for it as well. And, you know, all the funny things about Martin is a very honest man. And I think he expected the apology and then get the apology.
And he just left him out of the team for a while. And, you know, Nigeria understood that he managed to fight his way back. It played after that as well. You know, it was about communication in and the conversation and then managed to straighten things up. And after that, everything was good. But at that time is two very competitive guys. And you see all the time in in in a winning teams. And we have this so many times as Celtic.
And I have the feeling it was great to see. And you know what is a lot of the media make a lot of things about it. I think us as a players, as people that want to achieve. I think we love that because we know that people want to win and they want to be part of the winning team and is something interesting that not many people understand.
Chris, did we ever see slap strong athletic training or assault behind the scenes? How we appear to have lost Chris there for a moment and we put that one to you. You can pull back the curtain on Celltex. Was there ever any bit of aggro between players during that era? Because tempers flare on the pitch all the time. I'm sure it happened in training to. Yeah, at a few when I run into the Selvig and he didn't speak to me for a month after that, what happened?
A use of expletives during a game, and he hold me off at halftime, so we kept kicking me, but I did it instinctively for a month. We appear to be struggling with that connection as well. So this is the thing still I mean, if you slept in training here, there no issue on that front as clearly as it wasn't the Aston, the dressing room. But don't throw an expletive at Mark Neal's face or anything like that because he's going to take you off at halftime.
What were the sort of things that you witnessed on that set of training ground? Well, I only had a very interesting story with an incident with Martin, obviously one of the games I was the captain of the team and we were losing we were losing one nil. So I ran after sixty two minutes. So I ran down and said, Gaffer is not working. We know we're not having enough with we need to use some white players. Can we change a couple things.
And then we, we end up winning the winning the game. And after the game he didn't say anything. It was like it was great win. And I remember the following season was, again, we were losing. We chase him back and I ran again to him. And obviously I was telling him what we what we can do and how to do it. And he was like, brilliant that we didn't win the game. So we were walking into the dressing room and I'm like, OK, I kind of forgot that I've even run and told him what to do.
So in front of the team go, by the way, just to let you know. Still, you know, the manager is telling me what to do. You were wrong. It didn't work just to let you from now on, don't tell me what to do. And I'm like, oh, my, how did you got to get a pick me up? I've told him last season what to do. He told me to do it. We done it now.
And you know what, Martin? You want to show everyone, listen, I'm the boss, I'll make a decisions and you listen to me. And that's always been the case. And, you know, from that moment, I've learned no place, no way.
You have to say I want to say, is it true to say at one point before on the air, because we have got into the John Burns era with Sterling during that era, it was quite difficult for you because it was there a point where you decided to leave before Martin O'Neill or does that actually happen after Martin O'Neill gets there? Because clearly you speak with such admiration for the man. Obviously, the pre-season reformatting the material to cover was obviously I wasn't playing, I was playing as a write, but I wasn't playing very well.
So I had interest from a few German teams. So I was thinking to make the move or not to make the move, he wasn't working for me. What should I do? And, you know, sometimes the timing is everything I need to make the move. I managed to stay for the pre-season and the man gave me the opportunity and I took the opportunity. And I'm really, really glad that all of us took the opportunity because I've learned so much.
I managed to be part of an incredible team. I've played with some great teammates, World-Class players, and we've achieved so much as a team. And we have the special bond together, which is which is make it even more more special because we have a text for you tonight, stealin from Kevin McQuigg and Tyrone.
He says, Ask Stan, does he do any shifts in the chip van? This whether he learned the English language doing this while in Glasgow, is that true? Yeah, it was it was it's a very funny story, guys, and I'm really proud of it. A lot of people laugh about it, but I had to find my own ways to learn the language. I want to be part of that team. I want to. When I went there, I had a very special man and he's a he's a Mr.
Celtic is Tommy Burns. You guys remember him? He's you get me every day before training. After training. And you talk to me about how special the club is. What is the DNA of the club was the old from that means for everyone how I can develop as a player and to give me that, that is to say, I want to be part of this club, this club for a long, long time. And I had to do it in a different way.
It was interesting. It was very it was very exciting for me. It was very different. I had to I had to do it, guys, because I wanted to be part of that team and I had to learn the language very quickly. Obviously, my friend had the burger given. So for me, I had to learn different basics, how to how to make out there in the restaurant. You know, people talking about different things is made out of the dismay I do this the change, how how to explain it.
So for me was a different way of learning. But I've managed to do it and I'm really proud of it.
And is anybody coming up to the burger van and realizing that Stella and Petroff, the Celtic boy, is serving them food now? And they'll say, don't say that, but you know what, it's it's a great example for four young kids and young players that nothing is impossible. You can always find a way and you go through struggles and you just have to find your own way.
Isn't a curious that every member of your family has a different voice, that a baby can recognize their mother's voice from inside the womb, that identical twins have the exact same vocal chords but usually don't sound similar. And teenagers can sense the tone of their dad's voice when he says, I'll think about it even over WhatsApp, I'll think about it.
Let your family follow their curiosity with unlimited data when you bring everyone's plans together. On Vodafone's multi mobile, Rad's family plan to get a third plan for only 15 euro per month 12 month contract, 15 euro per month max be 10 megabits per second applies when you add right unlimited SIM only as a third plan with red family see Vodafone i.e. four full terms.
We want to talk a little bit about Henrik Larsson still, because this is the team that is held up as one of the more talented of what is a really talented squad during that era. Henrik Larsson, does he go down as the best teammate you've ever had personally in terms of pure talent? The best play I've played with, I mean, he was it was a complete player. He he knew everything about the way he wants to play to score goals, even though he scores.
He scored a goal for us from some games that we didn't expect to win. He'll pop up with something special. But, you know, a lot of people don't realize how hard you worked to to become a player. He was. And for me to play with him and against him, it was very painful time to play against him. Every time I play against him, he scored against me. So I'm not very happy playing with him. He understood everyone.
He knew when to open a space for me. Obviously, I was playing behind Chris, Chris, Henry, Ken and John. So he was it was brilliant. And I I've learned so much from him about my timing. My runs, when I had to make the run, went to play one, two, went to get into the box and he talk to you, he he'll guide you but is worked great as well. So that's why I'll pick him as one of the best.
And he was a complete player because that's a really interesting element of all of this that we can get. Chris is taking a little while about his chemistry with Henry Clarkson, but as a midfielder, your chemistry with your forwards is as important as anything else. Did it become telepathic between yourself and Henrik at any point, or was it just his talent that made him such an easy player to play with when he's in front of you? Yeah, it just made it easy for every single player that they played with up front.
Don't forget the big Joanny and Soccio injured all the time. So I had to play most of the time with Hendrick until that's it.
But no play with Hendrick.
It makes it easier for you to make sure that every single one of these is is to create space for you. When you when you try to link up with yours in the great position his body shape is in, that is in the right way. And he's ready to make it easier for you, which which for us was a pleasure to play with. And you don't see many, many players like Hendrick. You know, a lot of people questioned him regarding, you know, can you play in the big leagues?
Can you do an in a different you went to Barcelona. It was incredible. He went to Man United. He was outstanding. So he just showed the class. This is his dad and he always had it. And he managed to show it to the world.
At one thing that strikes me whenever we speak to somebody who's formerly played with saltshakers, how they speak about their peers and how to speak about their former teammates and they speak about them, it's a of silly. And I mean, like I do think that your team is incredibly special whenever we speak to people like yourself, that there was a serious bond there between the likes of yourself and Chris Neil and of course, with Henrik and that entire squad at that time.
Does it feel that way as a player, that when you look back, you think yourself? That was an amazing chemistry and amazing bond we all had in that dressing room. It's not special. I think it's very unique. I think we we have a very unique bond between each other. We love coming to training. We love playing. We love to be in the spotlights. We wanted to to be winners. And it's something that not many teams can can do that.
And, you know, it's very, very interesting to for you to say that. And we still keep in touch to the tune today. We we talk about things all the time. We talk about the good times because we did have incredible time together and we achieved so much as a team. Does thus maintain then later into your life when things start to get tough for you and your own personal life and with your own health, that your former teammates are there for you.
You say you've kept in touch with one another. That doesn't always happen with teammates. Quite often you leave the club, you go to Aston Villa, you fall out of touch. Is that is that something that gave you comfort at the time that you were still mates with these guys that you kept in touch, that bonds that existed at Celtic Park existed beyond your years playing for the club? Yeah, and it's a very interesting point from your saying that, you know, we kept in touch after playing careers because most every one of us don't play anymore.
And we we managed to keep in contact. We managed to speak. We managed to share together and to support each other because a few of the boys already been in in managerial jobs. They've done a great job like new is doing an incredible job. And to be able to speak to him, to share with them and, you know, to still still be in contact. It's it's very good. Same with Henrik. You know, when he when he went through these two spells in in Sweden and, you know, he had the tough time.
We all tried to give him as much support as we can when he is going through a tough time.
How does the support manifest itself? Are you in conversation with each other regularly? Yeah, we just talk about football terms, you know, we talk about, you know, how difficult is the the the management job at the moment and some of us will go into a later, you know, just sharing and making sure that we support him with everything we can. Sometimes you call regarding players, sometimes you call regarding different opinions, different views, and you just try to be as honest as you can to help as much as you can.
So it's just that by setting yourself for the time being, once again, we might just go back to those post years of static then and I guess coming back to South Park in twenty thirteen, you got to say an incredible reception that it is 2013 and if memory serves me correctly like they can you try some of that data that when you get that incredible ovation from your former supporters, is there a realization at this point that your connection with the club probably will never be lost?
Yeah, it was very emotional. It was very emotional for me because I went through a very crude treatment for three years. That was the first time that I faced people I had to keep away from everyone. Guys, I have to to be in total isolation, which for me was very difficult. I wasn't looking myself as well. So when Celtic approached me regarding to do the game, I was very sceptical about it. I didn't know how to take it or not because for me it was very difficult.
And I was I was probably forty five kilos over my my workout. The weight I was playing didn't look like myself at all. People haven't seen me for a long time, so I didn't know what to expect. It was very nervous for me. But I'll tell you one step outside out on the page. When I saw sixty thousand, you know, I said to myself, I won't cry, I'll be strong, but I couldn't help. So it was very emotional.
It was it was great for the family because my family went through a lot. You know, I had to they had to put their life to save my life. They had to sacrifice so much for three years just to make sure I was OK. So for them to get out there and to to be to be given such a support, it was it was great to see. And it was it was it was I was very, very honoured guys that I've played for such a special and incredible club.
Was that tough for you during that period? Happy to see the sacrifices that your family had to make, because that is something that we probably don't appreciate on the outside, that we see this as a one man crusade and his battle to to get healthy again. But what action is there is a whole family, a whole network of people around him. And I'm sure you're paying attention to that as well and how that affects the people close to you and your life.
Yeah, and don't forget, I was always being in the spotlight since I was playing my family, always being around me, I would have been the the main man in the family. Everybody was about to do my playing career. And all of a sudden, guys, I was helpless. I couldn't I couldn't do anything. I had to be in the hospital all the time. But I still had to put up brave masks, you know, as a as a good competitor.
As as always, I want to want to to be the strong, strong man. I had to put out that fake mask and show them that I'm still the dad. I'm still the husband. You know, I'm still the man who looks after the family. So for me, it was very difficult. So in that moment, I realized, you know, my family will have a great appreciation. Now they will see that I'm still back, I'm still there, and I can still put my boots and play eleven a side football because I wasn't able to to do 20 minutes front because I was that that week.
So for me, it was it was it was a special moment, Neil.
You know, it was incredibly emotional. But also a group of players and ferocious individuals, because you think that for the grace of God go, I remember myself and Ronnie MacDonald and.
He was a club doctor and dancing stallion and in the London hospital. And obviously we were, you know, heartbroken and very concerned about him. But you can see that the outcome of what a strong person he is, you know, he was playing at the Emirates on a Saturday and day, six days later, his diagnosis, you know, horrible illness. And he's come through with flying colors. We're very proud of him, especially to see him looking so well.
And, you know, the end when he's walking around the pitch with Paulina's wife and the kids and really got to me the biggest lump in my throat, you know, and it was very, very emotional for myself personally and for all of those guys who were so close together.
And yet you talk about a special bond, have a very, very special bond. And it is quite unique. And, you know, these guys you know, I speak to Chris on a regular basis, Sistan, and again, you know, still in touch with the likes of Jackie Henrick You Handling's Messersmith here. So, yeah, it's a great, great group of players, but also a great group of men. That's the thing, it's when your backs are against the wall, that's probably when you start to see the real characters and Alderson's what those men are actually made of.
Yeah, I mean, you know, a few of the boys have a real traumatic experiences over the last 10, 15 years, you know, John Hudson had a huge battle with cancer and again, came through it. And he has raised so much money for cancer charities. And then, you know, again, I'm very proud of what he's done, John. He's magnificent, you know, character, great lad, great player. But, you know, a joy to be around.
And then Jackie McNamara had a real unfortunate incident last year in an aneurysm and he's considered ill, said so grateful to see them all back to full health. And it hurts you, you know, because my friends are want to transfer more than 20 odd years. And when we get together, all it's like we've never been away. It's almost like we saw each other yesterday. We were CNN, you know, two days ago. When we get together again, we just pick up where we left off.
Yeah, I can imagine. I should say this is all where Sports Champions League final preview in association with Pepsi, Max and Doritos. It's back. Get ready. Hashtag nuchal is back. Your comments have been floating in over at the last little while. There's one here for you, Neil. Ask yourself out of the gay thing at home. Yeah, of course you do. Yeah, the game has evolved over the last 15, 20 years. It's very much more.
So possession be asking very tactical know, obviously are, you know, the front runners and I've been for the last sort of six, seven years the dominant team in the country, Melkert Nyama. We took unbelievable spell at the turn of the millennium, but haven't quite reached the heights again. And I always follow, you know, how they're getting on, whether it be in the National League or in the in the country championships and hope to see them when they're back at Drupa, challenging for the for the summer.
I'm sure it'll happen sooner rather than later. And then there's a question here for the whole panel at the boys from surveiled up Corporon in twenty three is my all time favorite memory, watching the matches on the TV in my Alan Thompson jersey. So my wisdom for you guys is what is your favorite memory slash match from that season? A cop. This is from Patty Kelly in Clonmel. We'll put that one to you, Neil, first off. And there's so many Herlitz beaten Liverpool around, Phil was incredible, but.
The final whistle of a vista were, you know, for the first time in the competition, we were actually forbids the people of us, you know, any other round. We were the underdog. And I didn't know you were going the European fan with it was incredible. So coming back to the airport and important to do a flashback from from Rome, all their fans were at the stadium. Those thousands of fans at the airport devastated parts of the airport and the atmosphere walking to the airport terminal was just incredible.
I could have walked on air that night. And so for the next two or three days, it was just a brilliant feeling of so much to look forward to and include changes on the sun and beat them as well. And an infamous game where, you know, everybody at beach balls and inflatables and blew up crocodiles and dachas see for days, which is some of the best in my life still.
Can I ask you about that, that final that you have a cup final against Porto that here because it's got so many stories told about us, not least what happens with Jose Mourinho at halftime and some of the trouble that was causing on the night. What do you remember from that evening yourself? I remember we did we know that was that was the it goes and it was it was incredible journey for us. And before I jump into the final, I want to mention as well, and he said the Boston the game.
I want to say that my favorite one was the Bloodborne, the second game when they were talking about men's versus boys. And you know what I saw? You know, Neal and Chris and Allen Thompson and Johnny Carson, obviously, that played in England and then wanted to show that we know we're not boys and the intensity of the training. And the week before the game, it was incredible. I've never seen something like that. I felt that any anybody who comes against us will beat.
And this is just something special, especially when that team is the competitiveness. It's about people come down here because we had so many special players that they're ready. They were ready to perform, they're ready to go and fight. And this was the game that I'll say was very important. But going back to the final is it was a great memory. The only downfall is we couldn't win it and we'd done everything we can. We've played against a very, very strong team and we didn't.
We were very proud of our staff. Only the phone was not weeding and dust. That's something that we still talk about that we regret, but it's part of our life. But we managed to be there. We managed to take so many fans with us and we created a very memorable day for everyone.
Chris, on your back, you joined us at the life of a memory of 2003 UEFA Cup final. You'll be delighted to hear and talk to us about your memories of that night. And I guess that the half time things in particular now are the final event.
I don't know. I've said I think we've spoken about it many times. I think from a from a playing point of view, you have to say you get to a major final and the run was brilliant and supported in civil, was fantastic. Going to the stadium, wonderful memories, a sea of green and white scarves and flags, all brilliant. But you get to make your final you want to win the final. And unfortunately, we didn't do that.
I think that in fairness, I think they were a good team, but they got up to some some unsavoury antics, which I've never really sat right. I think with certainly with the Celtic support and US players on that particular day. But as I say, you get there, you want to win the final. And for us, we came up short in that respect.
When you look back and this is this anything you can look at positively at all. Obviously, at the time, it's impossible to look back on a final defeat with any sort of rose tinted glasses whatsoever as time has gone on. I'm sure the journey of that year, the teams he did beat on way on the way to the final, probably make one of the more enjoyable experiences you had.
And yeah, I think in terms of positive memories being part of that whole team, that whole run, because, of course, you know, the supporters will remember we got knocked out of the Champions League against Basel. They were good Basel team. I know they actually scored in the last minute. Well, I'd say it wasn't that bad a mess, but, you know, we were inches away of qualifying for the for the Champions League. That wasn't to be.
And it was all very, very flat in the dressing after that game, as you can match, as we felt we were making progress in European football the previous season and then to embark on that run and and I think to beat the English teams. And of course, I'm English myself. But that was that was extra special because there was always Neidl when we played the English clubs that that we were representing Celtic, a Scottish club, and the view from down south.
And it still goes on today about how people don't view the Scottish League. So I think and of course, playing against Blackburn Rovers, my old club and the Men Against Boys game, that was that was special, those two legs, because we didn't play well at Celtic Park and Blackburn played exceptionally well. And I think we were all pointed with our performance. But we didn't need Graham to nest to tell us that.
We didn't need Gary Flitcraft, a player who I played with Blackburn to to tell us that it was men against boys, but that I would say that wasn't necessarily a motivation for us players to go down to Blackburn and put it right, because we were just disappointed with our own performance. I think it was stupidity on their behalf, the fact that they both made those comments because we knew we were a good team, we knew that we didn't perform well on that particular night.
And however well they performed at Celtic Park, they lost the game. And we went down to Blackburn and and and gave them a really good hiding. And, you know, that was my former club. I had five good years. I love. A club really like the fan base, but that was an exceptionally sweet victory for us that evening. Chris, one last tax to put to you before we wrap up this section of the conversation. Is it true that Bobo Baldy was the guy you simply do not cross in the dressing room?
Well, I think I think myself and I could, but still in in that in that boat as well, because I save stallion's life instantly, it will tell you that. Good, because stallion's a lovely bloke and we all know that. But he was actually similar to Neil and that he could be quite chippy and and bouba had stylin by the neck one day. And I was sat next to Alan Thompson and we're both looking at each other thinking, what do we do here?
And I got up bravely and tried to shove Bobo. Bobo didn't move, turn round, pick me up and threw me into the locker. And an Alan Thompson was cowering inside the lock. The door broke, but that's what I did. Do you still end at night? Yeah, you did.
You actually saved my life. Thank you, Chris.
Why did you have you buy the next album? It was like this.
Hold on now, guys. Listen, we're all very demanding from each other. And we didn't shy to you know, Lenny was talking about the hydro hair dryer before and we expected two people to challenge as we expected to challenge each other. We were very honest to each other when somebody is underperforming. And I just I just thought the boy was underperforming. I have a few lines. He was keep telling me to shut up. I was keep going back.
And Lenny walked in. He had to go and bobble ten minutes. It was escalated very quickly. I'm not going to lie to guys. I was I was scared. I was I was reaching for the scissors. I was going to stab him if you if you want to hold me any longer. But you know the fairness. You let me let me off. We have a couple couple arguments with Bobo. But you know what? We are great friends and that will make us successful because we wanted to to go and win.
And we wasn't shy to tell each other the truth in the dressing room. And it was something special. And Chris did try to to save my life, but he was hiding in the locker before he actually came out of it. So it was it was very exciting. It was very, very great story for us to tell after all this year. And, you know, Paul, who is a great guy, I'll tell you what, guys, don't mess up with Bobo very quickly.
Neil, what's your recollection of that? So how how can both of them get you by the by the next day in training? Because Stan didn't know where to keep quiet for you. Robertson had to get involved and sort of push them away and he ended up in the shower room. Jim Henry, who was like a seventh karate expert, couldn't get off at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. in the end. And it was just he was rubbish on that than me and Stan give him two bottles.
And he didn't like it, but it was part and parcel of what went on the just knowing sometimes. And it was all forgotten about the next day.
We're talking about 20 years later, the Ulster Bull podcast on OTB Sports Radio, Ireland's first and only sports radio station. That was an OTB podcast, Network Presentations. Your cousins talking about the new lottery up, huh? You can pick your numbers by just shaking your phone. No, apparently. And maybe then you think when if someone's going to win it, why not me? Shake, pick and play with the new app, the National Lottery. It could be you play responsibly, play for fun.