Alan, I know it's annoying for you but, we've got to ask you
the obvious question first because everybody's talking about
it - Liverpool - is there any truth in the rumours?
Yeah, absolutely, I do come from Liverpool! (laughs all round)
No, I mean, as far as I'm
concerned I'm a Forest player, I don't want to go anywhere
else so I'm more than happy to stay here - end of story. I've
got no intentions of leaving.
How much is left on your contract?
Two years and if anything I want to
renew my contract and extend it. I've got no ambition outside
of Forest so end of story.
So at the end of the day its going to
be down to the Club on whether they feel its actually worth
making any money on you or not?
Yeah, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm
more than happy to stay here.
Kev and Stanno: That's
the best bit of news we've had today.
When you first joined us from Tranmere
a couple of seasons ago you took over the Number 3 shirt from
you know who - what was that like?
It was very difficult, I was only 20 and I'd never lived away
from home, I still lived with my mum and dad and as you know,
your mum does everything for you and I had to come up here
and as you say, take over from a legend up here.
When I signed, people were
saying I was going to be playing alongside him, they were
planning on playing three at the back with me left wing back,
so I was hoping I was going to be learning from Stuart Pearce
because I don't think there's any better tutor to learn from
and all of a sudden he's gone and I'm put in his position
and I think the fans wondered what was going on. It didn't
help that I didn't play too well at first because I found
it to be too much pressure. The fans saw that and didn't really
like me at the start so it was really difficult.
Do you feel left back is your best position
or do you prefer it where you are now?
I prefer to play further up field, at Tranmere I played left
back but with the license to do what I wanted up and down
the left because I always had two centre halves and a right
back who were just defenders and I was just the tackle man
so if I went forward the three of them were there. So I've
come here and was an out and out left back which I don't think
I am anyway.
Well I mean at the moment you're covering so much ground with
the role you're playing, you're up front then you're at the
Yeah, I think if I keep doing that I'll
retire in 2 years. Yeah, the gaffer's told me to get up and
down so I'll do it the best I can until I collapse.
So left back isn't your natural position,
you're a winger really aren't you?
Wing back I prefer, I can play left back but I prefer wing
Was it the case that Bassett was left
with no choice when Psycho left other than to play you at
Yeah, I think it was. But now I'm in more of a wing back role
I am much happier. I need to be involved in the game all the
time. I'm the not the type of player for left back really,
you've got to concentrate all the time on your position first
and then when you get the ball, although you don't get the
ball an awful lot, so I prefer to do more with my game and
get in the action a lot more.
How did it feel the first time you played
against your mates from Tranmere?
It made me more determined because I was happy at Tranmere
- it was a really good up and coming young team at Tranmere,
we felt we could actually become quite a good force in the
First Division. We had a lot of young lads and a lot of players
of around 24 or 25 who were really good players and then they
sold Ian Moore and myself to Forest, and they sold Kenny Irons,
John McGeel (sp) and I just don't think at a club like Tranmere
you can do that, but playing against them it made me more
determined to play well against them, I think it does when
you play against your old club.
Did you get much stick?
No, I got quite a decent reception from Tranmere, I think.
When you were a youngster in Liverpool were you a Red, Blue
I was a Red.
So what's it like as a Red's fan ending up playing for what,
no disrespect intended, is considered as Liverpool's third
team? Is it a disappointment?
No wasn't disappointing. I was at Liverpool
as a kid and I broke my arm and they decided not to give me
a contract and then that night the Youth Development Officer
at Tranmere 'phoned me up and offered me a YTS contract straightway.
So from being on a downer, all of a sudden I'm on a high,
I've got a YTS contract and I've never looked back from there.
Where did the nickname 'Tank' come from?
It was Dean Saunders, we played a pre-season friendly in Finland
and the ball was in between three Finnish players in like
a little scramble and I just ran through them and the three
of them just shot off, since then it's just stuck.
Can you talk us through that goal you scored against Barnsley
the other night?
I think one of their players had crossed it and Mark Crossley
came out to collect it didn't he?
Yeah, they'd just missed scoring hadn't they; I think Craig
Hignett had had one of his famous misses that night.
Well, we do work on that in training
and if Norm gets the ball and I'm free he just throws it out
to me and I just try and get further up field. But when he
threw the ball out no-one was coming for me, I just saw the
one lad and I just knocked it inside and nearly fell over,
so I just kept on running and it seemed like it opened up
for me and I just hit it and fortunately it went in.
As fans, we say loads of times, you're really quick, pace
is probably the biggest asset you've got, but we don't think
you use it enough. Loads of times we think, just shove it
past him and run and you've done it against Barnsley and scored,
so is it something we're going to see more of?
Yeah, if I get the chance I'll knock
it along because I don't feel anyone can catch me.
I don't think anyone will catch you, you're probably one of
the quickest in this division by a long way.
I have to say that that is the biggest part of my game.
Is it right that when you were a schoolboy
you held a sprint record for your age group?
Yeah, that was a race in London. As you know I'm not the biggest
and I was against all these big massive kids and I broke a
record so the pace is a big asset and if I can I'll certainly
knock it and run. Hopefully you'll see more of that in the
Kev and Stanno:
We hope so; it opened the game up once you'd got that goal.
Yeah, I think we were desperate for a breakthrough like that.
Who is your best mate at Forest, who do you get on with?
To be honest, we all get on great together. Its one of the
main things at Forest, all the lads get on well, we all socialize
together, go and play golf. I get on well with Mark Crossley,
Dougie Freedman, Christian Edwards and Andy Johnson - all
of the boys. They're a good set of lads; I don't think there's
a bad one in there since we got rid of a certain centre forward.
How well personally did you get on with Pierre before all
I just thought he was an arrogant man. He always thought he
was bigger than the club and I don't think any player is bigger
than the club. He was a very arrogant man - it was either
his way or no way and you might miss his goals but as I think
you heard Norm say last night, he's unproven in the Premier
League. How many goals did he score last year?
Five I think.
Well there you go I scored four. He's
unproven in the Premier League and he thought a massive club
would come in for him and it was only a club I've never heard
of before - Vitesse Arnhem I think.
The consensus of opinion was maybe he was looking for a move
because he was scared of going back into the Premiership.
That was the feeling between all the
boys when he didn't come back. I thought personally that he
was too scared and he just decided to get away from what he'd
done in the First Division but no club's going to take a chance
on an unproven player. As far as I'm concerned, "good
riddance" to be honest.
What was it like at the beginning of
that Premiership season with all the problems - Kevin Campbell
being sold, then obviously Pierre went on strike, what was
the feeling in the team then? Was it a feeling of "we
really are in the shit"?
You look at it and think oh Jesus! What's happening here,
we've lost our two forwards. To be honest, the boys were more
disappointed in losing Kevin Campbell. You have a look at
what he's doing at Everton now - what a bonus if he could
have been doing that with us - but I think we just decided
to rally round and give it our best. We didn't have a bad
start, at one point we could have been top of the league.
But then it just went from bad to worse and we were all downhearted
about that. It was a disappointing season.
Although we lost at Arsenal on the first day of the season,
I thought that Geoff Thomas' goal was great, and I thought
if we played like that we wouldn't have a bad season.
That was the feeling between the boys
as well. To go and play the Champions and play well, we never
got over-run and I thought we were very unlucky to lose. We
looked at that game and Harry Bassett said we've got to build
on that and then we won two games and we thought this is alright
but obviously it wasn't.
Is there anybody out there that you don't relish playing?
You mean best player? I suppose the
best player I've faced - and I know a lot of people don't
like him, me included - is Beckham. I know a lot of people
don't like him but you've got to give him credit.
We saw you mincing behind him.
Well, you've got to give him credit, he's not the most popular
but some of the things he does on the pitch are fantastic.
Is there any truth in the rumour that in the game against
Man U. you wound him up by telling him that Posh Spice's baby
No comment. I'm sure the baby's his (big smile).
Well you obviously did something to wind him up.
If we promised not to print it.
You couldn't print it what I said.
So who is the player you'd most like
to play with?
My personal choice was Scot Gemmill. I don't think he was
too popular with the fans.
It was 50:50 but I always thought he was a good player.
Yeah, but I've heard people say Scot's
brilliant and then you hear other people say he doesn't do
enough but I think if you ask all of the players at Forest
or whoever has played with him, if you're in trouble with
the ball he's always there to give it to. He always seemed
to find space for himself. If you're in the shit, just give
it to Scot.
That's one of the things we seem to
be missing at the moment, we're playing all these lovely triangles
for 70 yards and then you think where do we go from here?
We haven't got anybody at the moment that can just put the
killer ball through. We seem to be missing that at the moment.
That's the thing. We've made a not bad
start, we've won a few games and we've considered ourselves
unlucky in a few games where we should have taken points like
West Brom. Andy Johnson should be back between 2 and 3 weeks.
Bart was going to play in the reserves last night but they
felt it was just a bit too soon. So Bart's back in training
with us now. So when you look at that you've got two quality
players coming back in.
There's a bit of a consensus among the
fans that although we're not setting the league on fire, you
don't need to be top now and if we're still in touch at Christmas,
you can go on a good run in the second part of the course.
Course we can. When we get all the players back and the young
kids who come in have done fantastic. I think we've been unfortunate
with injuries to key players but the kids have come in and
done well so if another key player gets injured you've got
the likes of David Prutton, who I think has been absolutely
outstanding, Doig's a good player, Carlos is unbelievable,
he's got so much ability and skill. But I think it's just
a bit of consistency with Carlos and if he gets a run in the
team it will give him confidence. After the Barnsley game
he's bubbling at the moment, walking around about 10 feet
So what was the mix up about this man
of the match award then?
I think they got his name wrong. They gave it to Moreno and
when someone said it was the Italian he's given it to Moreno
Mannini and he's popped it open and poured a cup out for the
boys and poor Carlos was gutted. I think he got the empty
What about England aspirations, do you
still think you can force your way into that?
I'm full of confidence in my ability. I've under 21 and B
level experience and I'd like to push all the way but I think
it's unfortunate that Forest are in the First Division.
The next question is going to be do
you think it makes a difference being in Division 1.
Yes, I do think it makes a difference.
There are some great players in Division 1. You've got to
look at Johno and big Norm playing for Wales, even though
there's not a Welsh bone between them but they've made it
for Wales. All the Fulham lads; they've got a lot of internationals
because our games off against them. I just think maybe they
should have a little look down here now and again.
One of the good things about being here
in Division 1 is that you're going to get a lot of TV coverage,
we've got 4 or 5 games on Sky before Christmas. So you do
get a chance to get nationwide exposure.
Yeah you do get a chance but you can't
see everything on Sky. If you come to watch a certain player
you just watch that player so on Sky you don't always get
the coverage you want.
England are still notoriously short
of good left sided players. They even brought Psycho back.
I mean I've nothing against Stuart but you've got to think
bringing a 37 year old in with experience and there are left
sided players in the First Division like yourself to do that
I agree with you but then again you say about Stuart Pearce
and I was watching the England game when he was playing and
I thought he was the best player on the field. I'm sure he
would have been playing on Sunday it was just a fit unfortunate
about his leg. I just hope he recovers in time because I am
a big fan of Stuart Pearce.
What's it like working under David Platt. Do all the guys
generally rate him?
I rate him very highly. He's come in and the training has
been superb. The trainings really hard, like yesterday, you
would have laughed if you'd have come yesterday we were up
and down the stand, up and down the stairs, for half an hour,
and you're thinking what's this for, and you realise how tired
your thighs are he's just working on our fitness all the time.
I mean this is the fittest I've felt since I've been a professional
footballer. The training is hard work but really enjoyable
What about this three at the back? A lot of people think it
wont work in Division One. Are the guys generally happy playing
From day one the gaffers wanted to play
three at the back, 3-5-2, so the players have just basically
got to get on with it, its okay me saying I don't like it
or I like it but I've just got to get on with it. The manager
wants us to play that way it's his decision.
Has he changed all the diets as well?
Yeah, we don't eat nothing fattening
and we have pastas with proper sauce like tomato sauce, no
creamy sauces. All boiled potatoes boiled chicken, sounds
boring doesn't it?
There have been a lot of changes to
the training and to the diet and I'm trying to think back
in the years I've been supporting Forest and I cannot remember
a season when we've had so many injuries all at the same time.
Do you think its something to do with the change in the training
and the diet that's catching players out and causing these
injuries or is it really just bad luck?
I think its just bad luck. The training is just normal training
really but its more enjoyable than what we were used to. We
still do the 5 a sides, we still do running, possession and
crossing like everyone else but its all done to a high tempo,
what he wants is a high tempo so its enjoyable, but quick.
So I think its just genuine
bad luck. I think when you look at Bart against Mansfield,
we all know Bart can't run and he tried to sprint, so he got
a bit of stick over that. Johno was playing last season with
a little tear in his Achilles and he just thought it was a
little strain but it kept getting bigger and bigger and it
was a bit of shock when we found out that he had to have a
We were talking to him at Norm's golf
day and he said he spent all summer in plaster when he could
have had the operation anyway.
Yeah that's the disappointing thing
about it you've got to ask why it wasn't done in the summer.
He'd have been playing. He would have been fine now. So it's
disappointing for the team and for Andy because he's an important
Who should have made him have the operation
in the summer? Was it because we didn't have a manager in
the summer? Is that part of the problem?
Yeah, that was probably part of the problem, that's why the
fans and the players wanted to know who the manager was straightaway.
He should have been appointed early and then problems like
that would have been solved.
Was Platt being appointed manager as big a surprise to you
as he was to us?
I couldn't believe it; he wasn't even in the frame. He'd never
been mentioned. I personally thought it was Roy Evans.
Did the players have a preferred choice
out of all the names that were being bandied about?
I suppose Martin O'Neill. He's played here most of his career
and the players were thinking he'd be good. You know you watch
him on the television and it seems his hearts in the right
place, he seems to get on really well with his players. But
David Platt's come and I think he's superb myself. I think
we've got a good future with him.
We mentioned the golf earlier, have you got a good handicap?
No I haven't. I break a lot of clubs through anger with bad
shots. I've had about four sets in a year.
Can you tell us who nicked Chettle's shoes at Norm's golf
day? Apparently they were found hung up in a tree.
I get the blame for everything so he'll probably blame me
Well the finger seems to be pointing
at Johno. Because apparently someone also stole Woanie's dad's
ball off the fairway and the finger's being pointed at him
for that as well.
He nicked quite a lot of balls because he came and gave them
to me. There's a lot of players who did better than what they
thought and I've got all their balls in my bag. Johno gets
a bit bored so you come back expecting all your clothes and
everything to be cut up because he gets bored through this
So he's the camp troublemaker then?
You say he's only a few weeks away now.
He's been running again today and I think he starts his pre-season
on Monday. All his heavy running to get his fitness levels
up. So if he does that for maybe two weeks he probably get
a reserve game within 2 ½ to 3 weeks. And then get
him back in the first team as soon as possible.
Who do you room with on the away trips?
I room with Mark Crossley now. I used
to room with Johno before he got injured.
Do you get a choice?
Not really, you just get a roomie. But
Norm's a good lad. Its true about his habits that they mentioned
last night. Very, very true.
He is looking a lot fitter than he ever
has done for a long time.
This is my third season and I've not
played with him an awful lot. It was Big Bess last time in
the First Division and most of the Premier League and then
Norm's come in. I didn't realise what a good keeper he was
personally. I honestly didn't. I think he's a fantastic keeper.
Again, he's one of those who have got
an awful lot of fans here but like Scot Gemmill he's got a
Obviously the fans pay their money so they've got the right
to voice their opinion but like you say there are fans that
think you're a good player and fans that don't. You've just
got to get on with it really haven't you?
As long as you've got the majority on
your side you've got no problems. Now then, Wrighty, what's
he like then. Was that a surprise to you as it was to us?
To be honest, Norm mentioned that to
me before it was ever brought up, I'm talking a while ago
and he was involved at West Ham, and Norm said we should go
and get Ian Wright. This was months ago. And when the gaffer
brought him in I said to Norm it looks like you got that right
and now Norm thinks he'll make a good manager. But it was
a surprise and he's brilliant in the dressing room. He has
really good banter with the lads. He does genuinely get on
with everyone here. I think he really likes it and he does
want to stay.
Yeah, he comes across like he wants
to stay for the rest of the season; does he give you that
impression as well?
I know for a fact he'd like to stay.
I think he'd rather go out on a bang with Forest scoring goals
week in week out than sitting in the reserves at West Ham.
So I think he does want to stay.
Do you think there's much chance?
I don't know to be honest. You'd be best asking the manager
that but I think there must be a chance surely if he wants
to stay. I think the stumbling block might be if they want
money for him. Is it worth the business side of Nottingham
Forest buying a player and say paying £500,000 for a
player whose only going to be useful for 4 or 5 months.
Personally speaking, I'd say spend the money.
So would I. I would personally keep
On that note, a lot was made last night
about David Platt's disappearance.
Yeah, Mark Arthur let it slip that he'd
gone to the States and that leads everybody to Stern John.
Yeah it does, but no comment. I know
the gaffer's away today but I don't know what it means to
Yeah, he let it slip; I don't think
he meant to though did he?
No, the look of shock on his face when he said it tells you
What is your most memorable goal, is
it always the last one you scored or have you got one that
sticks in your mind?
Yeah, I've scored a couple of decent
goals, the one against Man U. was a good goal, but then it
all went wrong.
As we watched you and Darch carving
your way down the middle, we knew one of you was going to
score and we thought we're going to be alright here. We didn't
expect to win, but we thought we might get the draw.
We'd got a Man U. supporter sitting in front of us in the
Trent End. He's been up in the air celebrating when they got
their first one and when you equalised, I'd got him round
the back of the neck and I'd still got hold of him when Andy
Cole scored again. But he stopped celebrating after four.
The fans were obviously devastated after
the game, I think most had lost the will to live after five,
but as a player what's it like to be on the end of a kicking
Devastating I think. Me personally,
that affected me badly. Even my girlfriend will verify that.
When I get beat, be it at chess or whatever on the computer,
I sulk. I'm not a good loser. So when I play football and
get beat I'm not the best company. If I've arranged to go
out for a meal with my girlfriend on a Saturday and we get
beat, especially at home, all of a sudden I just wont go.
I just stay in. I can't stand getting beat but after that
game I was absolutely gutted, because I scored a goal, and
I don't score too many. I was over the moon and then the next
minute the game's over and you think Jesus where did that
But going back to my favourite,
it's probably Leeds away.
Referees, impressed or unimpressed?
Its poor, very poor. I think something's
got to be done about it, especially after seeing the Aston
Villa Liverpool game. Staunton's sending off was a joke and
some of the bookings as well. They're a joke as well. The
way the games going now, with all the pace and everything,
you've got to accept that mistakes will be made and use some
So you're not impressed.
No, not impressed at all.
We watched you take the free kick against Barnsley and the
wall was about 4 yards away when you know it's supposed to
be 10, why don't you just refuse to take it.
Well that's the referee. I said to the
referee get the wall back and he said they are back. I'm glad
you picked it up though because I was thinking how am I meant
to lift it, the goal keeper was standing right in his right
hand corner and I thought I'm just going to lift it over and
I couldn't because the wall was at most 5 yards away and I'm
saying to the ref get the wall back, and he's saying take
it you're time wasting and obviously you get booked for time
wasting so I had to take it. You can't win.
I know it could get you in trouble if you name a ref you don't
like, but are there any out there you don't mind being in
charge of a game.
No! I don't like any of them.
Well, we asked you for 15mins and you've
given us 40! We know you've got your lunch ready, so we'll
let you get off. Many thanks for your time Alan.
No problem lads, any time... see you later.