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Alan Latchley.Alan Latchley

Alan talks about past glories, and those qualities he would bring to the job of managing the England football team.

Is this the embodiment of Private Eye's Ron Knee character?


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Alan Latchley

Clive AndersonCLIVE ANDERSON: Well now, when it comes to football, one man has for many years been the most noticeable, the most controversial, and occasionally the most successful manager this country has ever produced. His pithy words and abrasive style make as famous off the pitch as he is on. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Alan Latchley.




Clive Anderson TalksbackCA: Ok Alan, jolly good, now it's great to get you. It's obviously very topical to get you, as you are being, you know, pipped or tipped for the for the England job.

ALAN LATCHLEY: Oh, it's too early to talk about the England job now.

CA: OK, well if I'll come back to that in about five minutes, if I may. Because I want, just to talk about your early career. You were one of the youngest managers, when you were originally appointed in the football league, weren't you?

Scunthorpe FCAL: Yes, I was appointed manager when I was sixteen and a half.

CA: Yes.

AL: At little outskirts of Scunthorpe, close to where I was born.

CA: You're from, very much from Scunthorpe.

A Scunny man.AL: I'm from Scunthorpe, yes. I'm a Scunny man through and through.

CA: Football is very much your life.

AL: It's in me blood, Clive. It's in me blood. I mean without football I'd be nothing.

CA: Yes.

AL: And, err, I love football. Football is, is, she's a cruel mistress. She's, she's more than a mistress. She's a wife, she's a mother, she's a daughter, she's and errant child. She's a… she's a… she can make you laugh, she make you cry. She can bring tears me eyes. She can bring blood to me shoulders. She can bring -

Football is about nothingCA: Yes, bring the kettle to the boil.

AL: She can bring the kettle to the boil. 'Cause football is about nothing, unless it's about something and what it is about -

CA: Yes, yes.

AL: Is football. Excuse me.

CA: Now, at Scunthorpe -

AL: Scunthorpe, yes.

Is this Ron Knee?CA: You were manager there -

AL: I was manager till sixteen and a half.

CA: Yeah, briefly and what did you think you bring to, you brought to Scunthorpe?

AL: I brought heart, and I brought defiance. I brought all those qualities that make this country what it is today -

CA: Yes.

A certain feelingAL: A certain, a certain feeling, a certain love, a certain heart, a certain toughness. Mental toughness and physical toughness and, and, and some, something so beautiful, I can scarcely express it. You see when I was manager, briefly, when I was young, I didn't know much. I knew nothing. I'd come straight up from the moors, and I was put in charge of a thriving club. So what did I do? I was just a lad! What did I do? I'll tell you what I did Clive. I read a book.

CA: Yes.

AL: "How to manage".

Whose book?CA: Yes, and whose book was that?

AL: That was me dad's book, "How I managed". It was not about football, but about life in general.

CA: Yes, but what do you say you have to do to get a team going? What is it? What is the quality?

The three m'sAL: [PAUSE] Belief. Motivation. Motivation, motivation, motivation! The three M's. That's what football is about. It's all about motivation.

CA: Motivation, I follow that.

AL: You've got to get those boys on the pitch, motivated. It's no good saying go out and buy some ice cream, go to the pictures. You've got to tell them what they're doing. You've got to motivate them onto the pitch. Push them out with forks if you need to, but get them out onto the pitch. And then when the game's over, get them in again.

CA: Now, you went to Hartlepool, and you had this system of getting them angry. Was that -

Rage.AL: Well, you know rage is very much an adrenaline inducing factor in all sports.

CA: Yes.

AL: I mean Linford Christie wasn't in a good mood when he won the hundred metres, was he?

CA: Well, he was afterwards.

AL: Yes, but you've got to be in a rage to bring out the best in yourself. And what I do to my players, one of the tactics, this was an early tactic, is to kidnap their wives. Or girlfriends! Girlfriends or wives. I'd send them all on a bus up to Grimsby, with no ticket back, and, errm, the lads went mad. They were -

One game against Rotherham.CA: Yes.

AL: There was one game against Rotherham, my whole team was sent off, almost as soon as they got on.

CA: Yes. Right. The other sort of weird thing you used to use. I'll not say 'weird', but -

AL: Odd.

CA: Odd.

Quirky!AL: Quirky! Quirky.

CA: Quirky.

AL: Quirky.

CA: Your father was something to do with the circus. Now how did that come into -

Ten-man defensive unit.AL: Yes, The Great Escapini my father was, he used to a vanishing act. He would lock himself up in a suitcase, usually in a hotel room, as soon as the bill arrived. And, err, and he would escape from the suitcase. And with that background I formed the Escapini Defence.

CA: Right.

AL: Which consisted of a ten-man defensive unit -

CA: Yes.

The Escapini defence.AL: I had them stood on each other's shoulders in the goal mouth, their back, back to the opposing team -

CA: I see.

AL: And they'd just sit there and we'd rely on rebounds.

CA: Oh right. And you only lasted, what a couple of weeks at Hartlepool?

AL: Two weeks at Hartlepool. Well, I'm a Scunny man, and they don't like Scunny people at Hartlepool.

CA: No, no. And, err, along with many other managers, you went along to Manchester City.

Man CityAL: Man City, yes. That's where I introduced the concept of equal playing facilities. Namely, that if you had skilful players on your team, that was no excuse for them playing better than the others. 'Cause it makes the other ones feel, you know -

CA: Inferior.

AL: Inferior. Which lets face it, I wouldn't say this if I had a team with me now, but some of them are worse than the others. And my tactic was to get them all down to exactly the same level.

CA: And what about going for the England manager's job? Now what, you're a friend of Graham Taylor's [note from Anne T'ing - Graham Taylor was the one time manager of the England football team] I know.

I won't speak ill of the man.AL: I'm a friend of Graham, and I won't speak ill of the man.

CA: No.

AL: He did a cracking job. When you look at the potential he had there, and his ability to turn it into those results, you have to realise that you are dealing with somebody unusual.

CA: Yes, yes. You say you won't speak ill of him, but you have spoken ill of him on TV programmes, and every other football manager. What, so what is it that you think you could bring to the England job, that your rivals couldn't?

AL: I would bring heart, and motivation.

CA: Motivation.

Dare to fail.AL: And let us work our way up from the bottom, and stay there if we can.

CA: Now, I know apart from your football activities, and I know you keep well in touch with football, but you do have, what is it? Management seminars that you run? To apply your methods to other industries.

AL: Ah, yes I have a course called "Dare To Fail".

CA: Yes.

AL: In which people who are ambitious, people who've had some degree of success in life, can come along and see what it's like to be at the bottom of the pile, and learn how to get there with pride and dignity in tact.

Not allowed to smoke, drink or sleep.CA: Yes.

AL: And it's with a slide presentation, and it's a very nice week you spend in the country, locked up, you're not allowed to smoke, drink or sleep.

CA: Right.

AL: And it's a way of just teaching people.

CA: So, "Dare To Fail" is the slogan?

Toss it in the air.AL: Well, the other side of failure, Clive, is success.

CA: Yes, I follow that. Would you say that your career has largely been a failure?

AL: Or a success. Depends on how you look at the coin. Just toss it in the air, and let it fall, you know not where.

CA: Yes.

Mad eyes.AL: But I can look at myself in the mirror in the morning, and say, "There is a man".

CA: Thank you, very much, Alan Latchley.




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