Alan Curbishley managed a combined total of over 300 games in the Premier League during his time at Charlton Athletic and West Ham, establishing a reputation as one of the most reliable bosses in the top-flight.
At the peak of his career, having spent 15 successful years with the Addicks, Curbs was offered a shot at the England international job. There are not many higher honours in the game, despite the role being something of a poisoned chalice, but our man had better things to do than turn up for his first interview!
Speaking to Ruby Walsh and Paddy Power on the latest episode of our twice-weekly From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Curbs explained how he missed his first appointment with the FA during the summer of 2006 and felt he never really got a proper chance to showcase his skills.
Sven-Goran Eriksson was leaving and the FA drew up a shortlist. There was definitely Sam Allardyce and obviously Steve McClaren and myself.
I think Luiz Felipe Scolari was in it somewhere – I’m not too sure – and Martin O’Neill, I think, was in the interviews.
It was during the season and they wanted to interview us on a Tuesday or something like that in a secret venue, and I couldn’t go because I had an FA Cup replay. So I missed that one, and I think my interview was hastily arranged at the FA!
It eventually went to Steve McClaren, which I thought it would do because he’d been working with Sven and he knew the setup.
I was pleased to go on the interviews and actually be recognised as part of it, but I didn’t think I had much chance of getting it, to be honest.
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During the interview you had to present to the FA. One of the things was, you’ve got an international week with two games and you have to talk about call-ups and your first day of training. What you’re going to do and how you’re going to keep the players happy or involved for the eight or 10 days.
The first game would be away from home, so how are you going to plan for it? The video work, and what sort of training are you going to do, and et cetera, et cetera. So it was quite in-depth.
How are you going to attack the job and what were you looking to improve on? What you felt was good and what you felt was bad about the England situation? I never got the chance to do it as thoroughly as the others because I had a game, so that was a little bit disappointing, but as I say, I didn’t think that I was going to be involved that much.
Obviously, the people at Charlton had to know and my chairman had to know, at the time. Actually, the publicity around it wasn’t very good for me at the time, because I had one year left on my contract at Charlton.
The club wanted me to sign a three-year deal, and I’d been there for 15, 16 years and I was a bit wary of signing a longer-term deal. I was happy, there were no problems with it, but I felt perhaps I’ll do the year and then decide what I wanted to do.
Then I let my contract run out, which became a problem because, quite right, it was coming to near the end of the season and the chairman felt that if I was trying to sign players on three or four-year contracts and I only had one, the fact that players were asking how long the manager is going to be around for, it was causing a problem.
That was perhaps one of the reasons that it was decided that I left, that because I wasn’t going to commit my long-term future, that I think the club felt it was not the right thing. So things escalated from there, then suddenly, I was leaving.
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