My dad always used to say to me ‘you’d be a good manager, you know the game.’ I’ve watched my dad since I was a kid and how he was as a manager and with players. All I wanted to do was play football but I never once wanted to be a manager.
When I retired, first of all, I wanted some time out of the game, and then I just got so lucky. I ended up working for Sky, which is a brilliant place, and they’re all passionate about football like I am. Football is so important in my life. Always has been, always will be.
But if you get into management you could get the wrong job, or get a job and in six months’ time, you don’t do very well, the next thing you’re sacked. Your credibility is gone, and it just wasn’t something I really fancied.
My Dad’s obviously got an amazing gift of being brilliant with people and understanding players. Because he’s probably been through a lot as a young man, he understood what it takes and what people go through because he is the best man-manager I’ve worked with.
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I’ve seen him cut people dead, but I’ve also seen him make people feel seven feet tall – although Crouchy is seven feet. But he’s brilliant with people.
I would also say from my dad’s point of view, the amount of people that I’ve spoken to that said when he was a player at West Ham or Bournemouth, he was the biggest nutcase in the dressing room. Absolute nightmare.
But I’ve worked with a lot of managers. A lot of them are bluffers. Make no mistake, they talk about tactics and they’ve read their coaching manual and we all go they’re amazing.
Half of them haven’t really got a clue, but they just talk the talk.
They maybe baffle people with science and tactics and systems, and there are a lot of amazing armchair footballers that think that they know best.
A few things that Kevin Keegan did that baffled me a little bit. I like Kevin, I’ve got huge respect for him. When Frank Lampard made his debut for England, we played Belgium and we didn’t play great the first half, but Kevin didn’t really say a lot to us. It wasn’t anything that was ‘you guys have got to do this, this and this.’
But after the game, it should have been the most amazing thing for Frank and also for myself – him making his debut and I because I had scored the winning goal – which was lovely for his mum and dad to see it and an amazing occasion for the family. But instead, Kevin went out to the press and started having a go saying ‘Well I told them at half-time and I told them if they don’t liven up, they’re coming off.’
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That ends up being the story. I thought: ‘drop us out here, Kev.’ We just had a blinding day for the family and you’ve made it about us being brought off and how you’ve given a little bit of a bollocking at half-time.’
But Kevin was good. I didn’t get on great with Gérard Houllier. I didn’t think he was that sincere. For others, like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, he was amazing. They’d have loved him. But he wasn’t really that much for me. Although I will say, he made me Liverpool captain, which is one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. So, there are pros and cons for all managers
Apart from that. Roy Evans was a diamond. I loved Roy. I obviously, worked for a long time with my dad, which was amazing, as was Terry Venables. I worked with some amazing managers. Graeme Souness was tough but I really respect him. He gave me my debut.
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