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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Warren meets... Matt Le Tissier

As many will know, Matt Le Tissier is a bit of a legend down where I now live in Southampton.

Anyway, tonight I conducted a quick interview with Matt or as he is affectionately known by Saints fans "Le God".

WL: How did a lad from the Channel Islands enter the footballing world?

MLT: I was spotted by Southampton when I was playing for the Guernsey under 15s tour of Hampshire. I played two or three games and even played out of position in one of the games - Of course I'm a central midfielder and I got played out on the right wing and one of the scouts saw me, assumed I was a right winger and decided to invite me over for a trial.

WL: In the end you spent sixteen years at Saints, a long time and a lot of loyalty there. Would you consider yourself as the big fish in the small pond plying your trade at one of the so called smaller clubs?

MLT:  Yeah, definitely and that was probably one of the reasons I stayed - I loved the status, loved the place, the fans were great to me so I saw no reason to move on whilst we were playing in the top division.

WL: And, on the topic of loyalty what's your view of it nowadays in football?

MLT: There's not a lot of it nowadays to be honest with you but that is to be expected. The kind of money thats floating around in the game now.  I mean, I have to say that if given my time again and I was earning three or four thousand pounds a week at Southampton and was offered one hundred grand a week to go and play at Man City then I'm not sure how loyal I could have been with that kind of offer.  I can't blame the players for wanting to make the most of what they can while their doing it.

WL: Of course Matt you were renowned for your penalty taking ability. With forty seven successful attempts out of forty eight efforts tell me just what was the secret?

MLT: I think a lot of it came down to a positive mental attitude and a technique where I could side foot the ball pretty powerfully so I could keep the accuracy there into the corners and know that most of the time it was probably going to go in.

WL: Matt, whilst we are talking about penalty conversions why can't England win a penalty shoot out?!

MLT: Well we did win one against Spain in about 1996 - A long time ago! I don't know. I think we have kind of got bogged down with them an the players seemed to get affected by the fact that the media go on about it quite a bit that we are crap and everyone thinks that we're crap and we're going to be crap. Until we change the media's perception of it then it's going to be very difficult to get out of that rut.

WL: Continuing with national football, Spanish World Cup winner Xavi mentioned that you were one of his inspirations growing up which must be pleasing to hear?!

MLT: Yeah, yeah he did. It was nice yeah I mean for somebody who has gone on to win the World Cup and The European Championships to say that about you is quite an accolade really. Yeah, chuffed to bits!

WL: Still on the national scene, it must be disappointing that, for a player of your quality to have only made eight appearances for England. Surely you should have earned more?

MLT: Yes and no. Obviously my ambition was to play for England as a boy and I realised that it was a massive thing for me. I think you will have to ask the England managers why I didn't make more caps.  I think a lot of it was because I was playing for an unfashionable club - It wasn't one of the bigger clubs and you kind of don't get looked upon favourably as when your maybe playing for one of the big boys.

WL: And after that, what are your feelings now towards Glenn Hoddle?!

MLT: Erm........ It was a long time ago.  We actually did have a chat - We were on the same golf trip in Dubai a few years ago and we sat down over breakfast, had a little chat and kind of resolved our differences so I'd like to say that my relationship with Glenn is fine now!

WL: Off the pitch, you have got a son - Mitchell - What are the chances of seeing another member of the Le Tissier clan grace the Premier League stage?!

MLT: Erm... (Laughs) No chance whatsoever!  He's actually far more into his cricket than he is football to be honest and he plays a little bit of five-a-side but there is no chance yu will see him in the Premier League I can assure you!

WL: When retiring, were you interested in maybe going into the coaching or managing side of things or was getting into media the real plan?

MLT: I kind of just fell into the media really - Never had that many great plans. It just turned out that way. I didn't have any ambitions to get into coaching but you never rule it out because you never know what hand life's going to deal you. Who knows what the future brings? I will never say never.

WL: As I've mentioned, you are in the media now and although it has its pros you must be dissapointed not to watch live games on a Saturday afternoon?

MLT: It does curtail my chances of getting to St. Marys but I do get down to the midweek ones when I'm not working. I think last season was about six or seven games and this season it will probably turn out the same but its my job and I've still got a mortgage to pay so it has to be done!

WL: Matt, its those old classics now - Best player played with and best player played against...GO!

MLT: Best player played with is definitely Gazza (Paul Gascoigne)... unbelievable player. I feel sad for him because I think that possibly playing thirty odd games one season and then getting a bad injury and not playing really at all the next hit him hard health wise - he just wanted to play all the time.  It was different to me because I just went on a downward spiral gradually during the latter part of my career!  Best player played against...... We played Juventus once and they had a fella called Roberto Baggio - he was alright!  The one player I really dreaded playing against was Stuart Pearce - If there was a chance of taking the ball and the man then Stuart would never turn the opportunity down!

WL: When you were a youngster who was the one player you wanted to emulate?

MLT: Liam Brady - I was a Tottenham fan back then but with me being from Guernsey and not London there was never really any real hatred towards Arsenal so admiring Liam was okay!  

WL: Finally Matt, Saints have certainly had a topsy-turvey last couple of years but now it looks like they are really on the rise.

MLT: Yeah its been a pretty decent start. I think its exceeded everyone's expectations at the start of the season so if we can keep it going then we will keep our fingers crossed that next season we'll be back in the big time.

Me and Le Tiss

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