Naveed Khan speaks exclusively to Peter Reid on Manchester City, living with administration, England, experiences abroad, and a lot more besides…
Naveed Khan: What do you make of the start to the Premier League season?
Peter Reid: As ever it’s been exciting. Manchester United getting beat 2-1 against Southampton and getting back and getting a result [Manchester United won 3-2]. I was at the first game, Manchester City playing Southampton and that was an excellent game and then I was at Goodison [Park] watching Everton against Manchester United. I think it’s been really exciting, plenty of goals but I’m not sure about the defending! I don’t know if the ball has been moving about a bit. But in terms of entertainment value it’s been absolutely outstanding.
NK: Your former club Manchester City won the league year. How do you think they will get on this season defending their title and in the Champions League?
PR: They’ve got a tough group in Champions League, like last year. They will have gathered a lot of experience from the Champions League last year, so hopefully they get second place in that group. The league title, they will go close again. They’ve got a real strong squad. The thing I like about them, [is that] they’ve got the best young goalkeeper possibly in the world. Joe Hart is an excellent keeper and I think that will help them. They’ve brought in a couple of new players who will take time to nit in but it will be tight again. They only won it by goal difference in the end, so it will be tight again. But Manchester City will be there or there abouts.
NK: Manchester City now are very different to when you were the manager, do you think the culture of the club remains today?
PR: Yes, the heart and soul are still there. When I go there, there are still a lot of people working there from when I was there. All the old players are looked after, even though it’s changed from Maine Road to the Etihad Stadium, the soul of the club is still there which I think is good. It has a great history and great tradition and it’s still got that.
NK: Looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, you had an experience at Plymouth [having suffered a long period in administration]. How was that as an experience, as it is something more and more football clubs are facing as a reality?
PR: 10 years ago I was at Leeds United when they had financial problems. The Plymouth one, the club were in administration, nearly going into liquidation, was a very, very difficult task. Players and staff were not getting paid and being made redundant. The human side of it comes in, with people struggling to pay mortgages. That was really difficult. From my point of view, the best part of it is Plymouth Argyle are now secure financially and hopefully will go on from strength to strength.
NK: You also had experience in Thailand [as the national side manager], where you said you learnt a lot out. What were the main things you picked up?
PR: Just different culture. They have a culture where they respect their elders. So if you have a young player who I wanted to be captain, he said [gesturing] “No, he is the next in line and next oldest down”. [I had to] To break that down. I am not knocking cultures. On the football field everyone is the same, it’s a team, so it was hard. I really enjoyed working with them on the pitch because football is universal in terms of technique and putting on sessions, but that certainly helped me dealing with different cultures and the way different people think about the game and the way as a team format it is a little but different. It was good in terms of man management and managing players.
NK: Is it an experience that you would recommend to players and managers to go and play abroad in places like Thailand?
PR: Eastern Asia and the Arab states; it is important to tap into different cultures. Like anything, if you can get that knowledge or experience or education where you are not blinkered with European football can only help you.
NK: Speaking of European football, England are starting their qualifying group for the World Cup today [England beat Moldova 5-0]. How do you think the squad is shaping up and what should be the expectation around the national side?
PR: Well we should look to qualify out of the group, it is like anything else. We need the experienced players in there to nurture the young ones. I do hope when [Jack] Wilshire gets fit, [Tom] Cleverley, Adam Johnson and some of these younger players, if we can integrate them into the team with the experience as well, I think that is vitally important and they will be well organised. First and foremost qualify and integrate these young players into the squad.
NK: Looking at the Football League, who are the young players and young managers that people should look out for?
PR: It’s difficult as when you are in the Football League the Premier League is what you look to. [Raheem] Sterling was at QPR in the Football League and Liverpool signed him and Gareth Barry at Brighton went to Aston Villa. Joe Mason is a good player at Cardiff, he was at Plymouth. In terms of managers, Karl Robinson at MK Dons has done really well. Chris Hughton got a chance and is a good manager. They are out there, we just have to give them a chance.
NK: Looking at your career, who was the best player you played with and best player you played against?
PR: So many great players; [Bryan] Robson, [Ray] Wilkins, [Glenn] Hoddle, John Barnes, Chris Waddle who I played with. The best player I ever played against was George Best. I played against him when he was at Fulham. He was the best, bar none.
NK: That’s quite definitive!
PR: Left foot, right foot, head it, pace, tackles, score goals, make goals.
NK: Everyone wants a player like that.
PR: The best.
NK: As a manager, who was your best signing and best player you managed?
PR: Always difficult signings, as they are all different positions so I couldn’t categorise one. Players who looked after the dressing room & have charisma, Niall Quinn. He looked after the dressing room besides being an outstanding player. [Thomas] Sorensen and [Kevin] Phillips and there were so many decent players that I signed, I find it difficult to chose one.
NK: Why does Footy Matter to you?
PR: Best game in the world.
NK: As simple as that?
PR: There is no other answer
Peter Reid was talking at one of Carlsberg’s ultimate legend’s experiences at the Twelve Pins pub, London. Carlsberg is Official Beer of the England football team and could be bringing future events to a pub near you. To find out more go to www.carlsberg.co.uk
Follow Peter Reid on Twitter: @reid6peter
Tags: England, Interview, Joe Hart, Manchester City, Peter Reid, Plymouth Argyle