"23 years? Really? That's unbelievable," said Teddy, who having done the lot in a 25-year playing career has now stepped into management for the first time.
He'll also manage against Spurs for the first time this afternoon (Saturday, August 1) when our Spurs XI travel to the Lamex Stadium for a pre-season friendly (3pm, ticket available on the day).
After bursting onto the scene at Millwall and impressing at Forest, Teddy joined us in 1992 and went on to score 124 goals for us in 277 appearances in two spells, 1992-97 and then 2001-03. In-between, he helped Manchester United to successive titles and the treble in 1999, where he had a huge influence, scoring in the FA Cup Final and then the Champions League Final.
Ninth in our list of all-time top goalscorers and one of only 16 players to hit a century of goals in the club's 133-year history, it somehow seems inevitable that Teddy will succeed at the management game...
How does it feel to manage a team against Spurs?
Teddy Sheringham: "It’s great, fantastic. I never envisaged being in a position like this but now I’m in it and playing against my ex-teams (Stevenage have already played Millwall and Forest). I’ve got to be honest, when I’m watching, we could be playing anyone. There is no sentiment there at all during the games. All I’m trying to do is arrange, organise and get to know my team as best I can. I don’t know this level that well and the quicker I get to know it the better. It’s a big learning curve for me, the players and all the staff to get to where we want to be."
How has it been at Stevenage so far?
Teddy: "I’m really enjoying this place, it’s a fantastic club to cut my teeth in
football management, the facilities are second to none, the lads are
great and they all want to learn. You can tell that by the way they are
looking at me with eager anticipation every time I speak and I just hope
my point is getting across. I want them to learn how I want the game to
be played and they are taking it on board."
Below: Teddy at Stevenage
How have you found being on the other side of the dressing room, that transition from player to manager?
Teddy: "You always hear managers say ‘you wouldn’t believe what I’ve had to do as manager of this club’ and you always think ‘what can that be?’ Well, now I’m finding out. I’m not going to say it’s stressful, but some of the things can be very annoying! There are so many swings and roundabouts. For instance, you think you are getting a player in but then it falls through. But that’s the way of the football world."
Was this always a route you were going to take? There was quite a gap between the end of your playing career at Colchester (2008) and the coaching role at West Ham last season...
Teddy: "It wasn’t, but football is in my blood. Life is all about timing. I played for a very long time and I’d had enough of travelling up and down the country, staying in hotels every Friday night. There was more to life then, different things outside of football, but I’ve got my enthusiasm back and I’m loving every minute of the job even though I’ve just complained about it! It’s different, interesting and you have to get your head around certain things but the actual playing side, working with players, seeing things come off when they do come off and getting things right, that's a great feeling. Our first game against Wealdstone was very good but we were poor against Forest and Millwall. We need to really buckle down over the next couple of weeks so we’re all singing off the same hymn sheet, as such. It will be hard work but I’m thoroughly enjoying it."
So what will a Teddy Sheringham team look like, without giving too much away?
Teddy: "It’s very tough to win a football match and just because I played a certain style, doesn’t mean I want these players playing in the same style. There is a lot of criteria to find a winning formation and different aspects of a team you need to gel together. I will be trying to put together a team that can win at this level and that’s all I can say really. I can say in no uncertain terms it won’t be easy and we’ll have to battle for 90 minutes every time we cross the white line. It’s 100 per cent commitment for 90 minutes every game and if you switch off for two minutes, you can be 2-0 down, it’s as simple as that."
Below: Teddy celebrates his famous goal against Holland in England 4-1 win at Euro 1996 with Gazza, Darren Anderton and Steve McManaman
What are hoping to get out of the friendly against our Spurs XI?
Teddy: "It will be a massive test for us. First and foremost, we all know Tottenham will be comfortable on the ball and I want us to try to play our game but at the same time, enforce the fact that we’re trying to stop Tottenham playing as well. I’m looking forward to it, hopefully the Tottenham supporters will come and watch it, enjoy their team playing and see how it is for us as well."
It's 23 years since first joined us, by the way!
Teddy: "23 years? Really? That's unbelievable! That makes feel old! I’m going to go out and join in training now to me feel younger again!"