The Big Interview with Graham Hunter

The Big Interview with Graham Hunter

United Kingdom

The biggest names in football, one-on-one with Graham Hunter. More at [grahamhunter.tv](http://grahamhunter.tv/)

Episodes

Steve McManaman: What Makes a Midfield (part two)  

SIGNING FOR Real Madrid would change everything for Steve McManaman. The move turned him into a league champion and Champions League winner, but it also transformed the way he played the game. In part two, McManaman talks about reinventing himself as a holding midfielder to better serve a team which included the likes of Luis Figo and Fernando Redondo - a player McManaman still considers a great, even though injury crippled the Argentine’s career. There is also an appreciation of the roles performed by Ronnie Whelan at Liverpool during the 80s, and Sergio Busquets in the current Barcelona side; fine support acts to some of the biggest stars in the game. Zinedine Zidane gets a mention, too, although not as you might expect. Listen to how this World Cup winner often looked lost during the early days of his Madrid career - before finding himself emphatically with a certain goal at Hampden - and why Claude Makelele was regarded as the most important player at the Bernabeu. When Makelele left it was the beginning of the end for that Madrid team, as McManaman explains. He knew that it was time to move on too, and he knows how to tell his story. I think you’ll agree. Enjoy Graham

Steve McManaman: El Socio del Todos  

The four years that Steve McManaman spent at Real Madrid can be summed up in two Champions League wins, two league titles, and one remark from none other than Johan Cruyff, who described the Merseyside Madridista as “el socio del todos” - a partner to everyone on the pitch. McManaman would have needed the help of an interpreter to translate such an endorsement during his early days in Spain, but the language barrier was to prove no impediment to the Englishman as he settled in immediately at the Bernabeu. He showed courage on the ball and in a social setting, mixing a cocktail of beers and crude hand gestures during a pre-season trip in Austria to ingratiate himself to his new team-mates. In part one, McManaman talks about his ambition to leave Liverpool and play abroad, the unexpected challenges of joining one of the biggest club teams in the world, and the second home he discovered in a dressing room which was supposed to be in turmoil. Enjoy!

The Big Interview on... Mavericks  

Don't be mis-sold by the picture, this is not a Big Interview with King Eric. But wouldn't that be wonderful? This is something new. The first in a series of clip shows where we look back over the first season of the podcast and find themes that a few of our guests talked about. This is about the mavericks. You'll hear Chris Waddle talk about what it takes to get fans out of their seats. Then several of our guests talk about two of the great icons of 90s football: Paul Gascoigne and Eric Cantona. There'll be another new guest on the podcast next week. But for now, I hope you enjoy this. There will be more coming soon.

Stiliyan Petrov: The Petrov Rules  

This second part of my interview with Stiliyan Petrov features a brilliant breakdown on the way Martin O’Neill has repeatedly made a team perform beyond the sum of its parts. At Aston Villa, Petrov felt both the warm sunlight and the shade cast by his old boss. He also talks brilliantly about his year-long campaign to win back the trust and affection of the Villa fans, and where that journey took him and the team he would eventually captain. Then we get on to Stiliyan’s battle with leukaemia. He regrets that having worked so hard to “be somebody” as he puts it, his children now see him represented more for his illness and recovery than for his achievements on the football pitch. However, he also knows his story can offer support to others, and that he is in a position to materially affect the fight against cancer in this country. I had never met Stiliyan before this interview and I found him an inspiration. His description of what he went through, and how it gave him a new perspective on life, is unforgettable. Stiliyan has a foundation through which he continues to take the fight to leukaemia. To learn more, and become involved in supporting Stiliyan through awareness and action, go to www.thestiliyanpetrovfoundation.com

Stiliyan Petrov: National Service  

Part one of this interview with Stiliyan Petrov – which is one of my favourites in this entire series – covers a lot of ground, from picking up rifle shell cases from the snow, to the dangers of not being close enough to Henrik Larsson when he wins a header. Not all of you may know that Stiliyan took an enforced break in the early years of his career as a pro to serve the Bulgarian army for 18 months. He tells it here, and connects the lessons he learned during that time with the footballer and the man he would become. At Celtic, he had to adapt to a new country and a new language. How he improved his English is a story matched by very few of the guests we have had on the podcast. So grab yourself a burger, and enjoy the first part of a fascinating interview with a remarkable man.

Zabaleta: 'We Are Safe!' The shout that won the league for City  

Pablo Zabaleta recalls the touchline shout from a member of the QPR coaching staff that defused Manchester City's dogged opponents on the final day of the 2011/2012 Premier League season, setting the table for Sergio Aguero's iconic title-winning goal. No 'we are safe!' - no 'Aguero-ooo!' Listen to the full interview on iTunes, Acast, at grahamhunter.tv or wherever you get podcasts.

Pablo Zabaleta: Messi, Manchester and Martin Tyler  

I FIRST interviewed Pablo Zabaleta at his tiny flat in the Manchester suburb of Didsbury years ago. A lot has happened since then. The Argentine has now made over 300 appearances for the club which he joined just before Sheikh Mansoor’s takeover in 2008. He also scored the forgotten goal of English football. 2012. Final game of the season. Edin Dzeko equalises against QPR in the 93rd minute. Then, “Aguerooooo” seals the title with the famous last minute strike. Pablo opened the scoring that day and told me that at half-time, with the score 1-0, he thought he’d be the “hero of the day, the hero of the city!” He is fascinating on those final few moments of the 2012 season, revealing how the injury-time news that QPR were safe changed everything in City’s favour and helped Aguero to claim his place in history. We cover a lot in this conversation, starting in 2005 at the Under-20 World Cup, which Argentina won. Zabaleta was captain and a little Argentinean kid called Leo Messi had joined up with the squad the previous month. We play Pablo this video of him scoring in the semi-final against Brazil and reflect on the achievements of that golden generation of players, including Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Messi. Pablo also speaks emotionally about Dani Jarque, his former teammate at Espanyol, Dani Jarque, who died of heart failure in 2009. Andres Iniesta paid tribute to Jarque in the 2010 World Cup final after scoring the winning goal, when he took off his Spain top to reveal the message: “Dani Jarque: Siempre Con Nosotros” (Dani Jarque: Always With Us). Pablo talks about how the role of right-back has changed under current manager Pep Guardiola and his motivation to remain “part of the club even if they can spend £50-60m on a right-back”. Enjoy Graham

Matt Le Tissier: Survival Games  

Matt Le Tissier and Glenn Hoddle were both footballers of extraordinary technique but, in part two of this interview, Matt tells us how Glenn was the only manager he ever swore at during in his career. We hear about the intoxicating effects of relegation battles and the huge responsibility Matt felt for keeping the club in the top league. Ronnie Ekelund, Mauricio Pocchetino and Gareth Bale also pop up. Enjoy Graham

Matt Le Tissier: Local Hero  

Matt Le Tissier was the ultimate Local Hero (great film, btw). He signed for Southampton at 16 and stayed for his whole career. His exquisite talents would have allowed him to grace a higher stage, but trophies and money were never his motivation. In part one, Matt talks about his End Blyton-esque childhood on Guernsey, his passion for cricket, the art of penalty-taking and scoring the last-ever goal at the Dell. Guys like Matt are a reminder of why we all love football so much. And I hope you enjoy this conversation with a legend of the British game as much as I did. Graham This episode was made possible by Nordoff Robins. We met Matt before Nordoff Robins’ annual football fundraising dinner in London. It’ s a charity we’ d like you to think about. Nordoff Robins offer music therapy to help children with a wide range of acute difficulties. As always, this podcast is free, but if you think this chat is worth £1 or more, please go to www.nordoff-robins.org.uk and hit ‘ donate’

Ramon Calderon: Making the Deal (Part Two)  

As president of Real Madrid – and as an influencer while out of that office – Ramon Calderon was inside some historic deals: Cristiano Ronaldo to Madrid being chief amongst them. In this, the second part of my interview with him, you’ll hear the story of that transfer, and also a whole bunch of other decisions, made by him and by Florentino Perez, the man he succeeded and who would return to power at the Bernabeu, with Ramon Calderon as a frequent critic. You’re going to hear very nice things said about David Beckham. You’re going to hear about Predrag Mijatovic and the need to delegate. You’re going to hear about how two goals in the last 20 minutes of a football match can restore one’s faith in a higher power. I hope you like it.

Ramon Calderon: The DNA of Real Madrid (part one)  

In his pristine legal office in downtown Madrid, Ramon Calderon comes off as a perfectly-mannered, spritely and talkative elder Real Madrid fan. Reason enough to mine the stories you are about to hear. But his status as not only a lifelong supporter, but also a board member and former president of that great club make him the perfect guide into the legend of Madrid. This is a guy that saw Alfredo Di Stefano play and later got to know him as a man. And for this, part one of the interview, we’re going to focus more or less on his time as a supporter in the 1960s and 70s. There is a glimpse of what’s to come in the way he breaks down the model Madrid use to turn superstar players into vast reservoirs of cash, but even that is rooted in the incredible vision of Santiago Bernabeu, the man behind Madrid. Enjoy!

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink: The Trouble with Holland  

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was born in Surinam, learned football in Holland and spent most of his career in England, with a short stay in Spain at Atleti. Few are better placed to discuss the differences in football cultures... and Jimmy doesn't hold back. He has a strong take on the issues within English football, but it is his home nation of Holland that he singles out for the most criticism. Why do the Dutch keep coming up short? Jimmy also talks Chelsea, Middlesbrough, Gudjohnsen and Valeron. Enjoy Graham

Phil Neville: Spanish Lessons  

The first time I chatted to Phil Neville was in the Hilton gym in Manchester, which overlooks the Cervantes Institute. Gesturing to the building below, Phil mentioned on that occasion that he would love to learn Spanish. Years later. the opportunity to coach at Valencia gave him the chance to fulfil that ambition. Phil breaks down how he learned the language and soaked in the football culture of the nation. He is fascinating on the differences between coaching in Spain and Britain and the legacy left by his brother. Gary, at the club. Enjoy! Graham

Phil Neville: Out of the Comfort Zone (part one)  

Phil Neville always wanted to be a cricketer and his talent matched his ambition. He was one of the best schoolboy cricketers of his generation, having served an apprenticeship in the Lancashire leagues where he faced bouncers from world-class West Indian bowlers. Then he walked out at Wembley to represent England youths at football in front of 80,000 fans. His decision was made. Cricket’s loss has been football’s gain. We spend time talking about both sports, exploring how his experiences in cricket helped form his football mentality, and even shaped his outlook in life. In an era where the professional game is awash with money, Neville’s insistence on installing work ethic and morals in young footballers has never been more relevant. Sit back and enjoy Phil Neville in full flow! Graham

Thomas Hitzlsperger: Playing Against Prejudice  

In part two of my interview with Thomas Hitzlsperger, the former Germany midfielder talks about his decision to take on some big issues outside football. This began in 2007, at the peak of his playing career, when he blogged about racism in football for a German site - the first story he wrote about concerned the racist abuse aimed at a Celtic player during a trial game Thomas played for the Scottish club before he joined Aston Villa. He also talks in length about his decision to come out as the most high-profile gay footballer. It's fascinating to hear him talk about how such a personal decision eventually influences a debate within wider football culture and impacts on individual lives in a way I don't believe he was expecting. Thanks for listening, und danke, Hammer.

Thomas Hitzlsperger: From Bayern to Brum  

He helped me with a German perspective on the final of Euro 2008 when I was writing my book on Spain's trophy treble, but you're about to find out how much I didn't know about Thomas Hitzlsperger. In part one, today, how The Hammer was forged, and the incredible story of how he left FC Hollywood era Bayern Munich to join Aston Villa. No permission slips were signed. Enjoy this. Part two on Saturday.

Coming soon: Thomas Hitzlsperger  

On Thursday you'll be able to listen to part one of The Big Interview with Thomas Hitzlsperger. As a brief preview, here's part of the incredible story of how he left Bavaria for Brum. Part two will follow up on Saturday.

Gianluca Vialli: Turin to Chelsea  

I first met Luca Vialli in 1995 when my sports editor at the Scottish Daily Mail sent me to find out the secrets of how Juventus destroyed Rangers in the European Cup that season. The Turin side won 4-0 at Ibrox and important lessons were there to be learned. We talk about that first meeting between us in this, part two, of the podcast. I found a man who, like the club he represented, burned with intensity. He reflects on the culture of fitness and desire which drove Juventus to Champions League success in 1996, and what it means to represent the club. Ironically, Luca had the chance to join Rangers when he left Juve in 1996, but instead ended up at Chelsea. He talks passionately about his time with the London club, both as a player and manager – and how former teammate Conte is the man to restore the club’s reputation on the world stage. Listen out for anecdotes on Ranieri, Di Canio, Lippi and Ferguson. Enjoy! Graham

Gianluca Vialli: Sampdoria's Scudetto  

Gianluca Vialli was my favourite player of the 90s. Power, pace, skill and an abundance of charisma, I watched his career with growing interest before I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing him in his pomp at Juventus. That first encounter and his memorable spell at the Stadio Delle Alpi will be covered in part two. For now, Luca goes into depth about his unforgettable spell with Sampdoria at the start of his career – where he won Serie A for the only time in the club’s history, picked up the European Cup Winners’ Cup against Anderlecht and lost to Cruyff’s Barcelona ‘Dream Team’ in the 1992 European Cup final. We touch on the impact of Gazzetta Football Italia, how he and Lorenzo Amoruso are lighting up TV sets in Italy with their reality football show and the amazing work he is doing through his charitable foundation. Sit back and enjoy! Graham

Paul Clement: Diary of a Champions League Final  

This is the second part of my interview with Paul Clement and – if you have got here quickly – it’s part of your preparation for the Champions League final. It’s rare that we get somebody breaking down what matchday is like at that extraordinary level of sport, but that’s what you have here. The tactical presentation that gave Paul palpatations; the reason they can’t leave the hotel as a team; the Ronaldo effect in the tunnel before the game; the staggered nature of the celebrations – and why, at Madrid, they never last too long.

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