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The Friday Interview

Posted on 10 November 2000  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Spurs idols past and present could come face-to-face at Villa Park on Saturday. <P class=MsoNormal>Our current Player of the Year Stephen Carr may find himself marking former fans hero David Ginola in our Premiership encounter against Aston Villa. <P class=MsoNormal>The fact that Carr has taken over Ginola&rsquo&#59;s mantle at the Lane is testament to how far he&rsquo&#59;s come in the last few seasons. <P class=MsoNormal>Now a full Irish international and a regular in Mick McCarthy&rsquo&#59;s side, Carr is rated as the best attacking full-back in the Premiership. <P class=MsoNormal>It&rsquo&#59;s a far cry from the early days when Carr, just 15, left home in Dublin to chase his dream. That dream has come true &mdash&#59; but there have been tough times along the way, as Paul Miles found out. <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoBodyText><B>First of all it&rsquo&#59;s Aston Villa on Saturday and you could find yourself up against a certain Mr Ginola. What about the prospect of marking him?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>Stephen Carr: &ldquo&#59;If you end up playing against him you know you are going to have a tough time. He&rsquo&#59;s brilliant on the ball but I think you can exploit him going forward. I don&rsquo&#59;t think he&rsquo&#59;ll want to track me back all the time. He is a danger and it would be a great experience playing against him because he is a great player. He&rsquo&#59;s got everything &mdash&#59; strength, he&rsquo&#59;s quick, got quick feet and he can finish as well.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoBodyText><B>Do you sit down and think specifically how you are going to play players like that or do you just go out there and play?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;Obviously I would try to know his strengths but I wouldn&rsquo&#59;t plan my whole game around it. At the end of the day I just try to put my side of the game on him as well and get him working. It doesn&rsquo&#59;t always work like that.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoBodyText><B>Can we go all the way back to your childhood days in Dublin. Was it always going to be football for you?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;It was always going to be football but it all depended on what level. All I did was play football. There was nothing else on my mind. It&rsquo&#59;s how far you can go though. Luckily I&rsquo&#59;ve gone to the highest level.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <IMG align=left src="../title_images/carr1.jpg"> <P class=MsoNormal><B>What was it like for you growing up in Dublin?<o:p></o:p></B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;I wouldn&rsquo&#59;t say we were very comfortable but we had food on the table and we were looked after. There are a lot of kids in Dublin in the same boat. Things don&rsquo&#59;t come easily to you. I suppose it&rsquo&#59;s good though for when you do have something you appreciate it a lot more. I definitely appreciate what I have now. I now have the responsibility of having a house and paying a mortgage and I can appreciate was it was like for my mum and dad, playing bills, when probably there wasn&rsquo&#59;t a lot coming in at stages. You appreciate when you are older and you have those responsibilities.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoBodyText><B>It&rsquo&#59;s a clich&eacute&#59;d old question but what might have you been doing if you weren&rsquo&#59;t a professional footballer?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;I couldn&rsquo&#59;t tell you because I had no other interests. Who knows? A bank robber! I haven&rsquo&#59;t a clue. There was nothing else for me but football so thank God I&rsquo&#59;m doing okay.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoBodyText><B>I know you were chasing your dream but at 15 it must have been a wrench to leave your family to come over here.</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;It&rsquo&#59;s daunting but it makes you a stronger person. Leaving home at 15 makes you want to look after yourself and you have to because you are on your own, no mum or dad there to do the talking for you. I think that&rsquo&#59;s good in away. You have to gamble at some stage in your life, everyone does, and for me it came at the age of 15. It paid off though and I don&rsquo&#59;t look at those days now. I just look to the future.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoBodyText><B>What was it like when you first came over? It must have been daunting for a 15-year-old on his own in London.</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;Stinking! You are on your own and reality hits you. It&rsquo&#59;s all great being a footballer but it was tough going. A lot of people don&rsquo&#59;t make it as well.&rdquo&#59; <IMG align=right src="../title_images/carr5.jpg"> <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>Were you homesick?<o:p></o:p></B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;Yes. That was to be expected. It&rsquo&#59;s all about how you get through it and don&rsquo&#59;t give up on it. Luckily I stuck at it.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoBodyText><B>Things went well when you first arrived at Spurs.</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;They did but then I had a stinker for two years. I had my debut against Burnley, just turned 17 and it was too early for me. You can get spoilt because you get a taste of it and then don&rsquo&#59;t get it again for a long time. I can&rsquo&#59;t remember much about the game, I just went into it as if it was another game for me. I was just a kid and went out and enjoyed it.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>What happened over the next few years before you became established again?<o:p></o:p></B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;I was in the squad and in the ressies and then not even in the ressies a lot of the time. It was tough but sometimes it&rsquo&#59;s good to have those times because when you then have the good times you appreciate them and don&rsquo&#59;t want to give them up. You work harder and harder because otherwise you can become complacent.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoNormal><B>You started getting established in 1996-97. What changed it around?<o:p></o:p></B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;There were a few injuries and I got a chance and since then I haven&rsquo&#59;t really looked back. I&rsquo&#59;ve had good and bad times through those years but it&rsquo&#59;s been okay.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoBodyText><B>Everyone has seen how you&rsquo&#59;ve progressed in the last couple of years and a lot of people are linking that to George Graham&rsquo&#59;s arrival. He has helped your game a lot hasn&rsquo&#59;t he?</B> <IMG align=left src="../title_images/carr2.jpg"> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;Of course, I&rsquo&#59;ve had the best days of my career under him. He has to take a lot of credit for that and I&rsquo&#59;d be the first to say it. He&rsquo&#59;s done something right with me to get me that far. I&rsquo&#59;ve had no problems with him because he&rsquo&#59;s been good for me. Let&rsquo&#59;s hope it continues like that. It&rsquo&#59;s been a lot of hard work as well. <P class=MsoNormal>&ldquo&#59;Some players do well under different managers. I don&rsquo&#59;t know if it was about motivation. I was always motivated but he gave that little more to me and he&rsquo&#59;s encouraged me to go forward more. As much as he likes defending he&rsquo&#59;s encouraged that and I&rsquo&#59;ve got a lot of confidence from that. Confidence is a major factor in football.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoBodyText><B>Since you&rsquo&#59;ve been playing regularly we&rsquo&#59;ve won the Worthington Cup but where do you think we are at the moment as a club? Is it fair to say we&rsquo&#59;ve under-achieved?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;You have to look at the strength of the squad and ask if we have a strong enough squad to compete for what people think we should be competing for. I don&rsquo&#59;t think we have. I don&rsquo&#59;t think we&rsquo&#59;ve a strong enough squad to compete for the league. I know fans might not like the idea of that but that is reality. We have to buy more players and the manager has said that many a time. If we can pick up our away form it would make such a difference to us in that league. But we have to do it. There is no point just talking about it. If we can do that we&rsquo&#59;re looking at the top six and then with a couple of extra players we could cope with key players being out. We can&rsquo&#59;t do that at the moment.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <IMG align=left src="../title_images/carr4.jpg"> <P class=MsoBodyText><B>It must be frustrating because we&rsquo&#59;re not that far away.</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;Exactly. And as much as the fans are frustrated the players are frustrated as well. We&rsquo&#59;ve been playing well away, it&rsquo&#59;s not like we&rsquo&#59;ve been having stinkers, but we can&rsquo&#59;t seem to get the results. Hopefully that will change and if we can get one good away result it will give us that bit of confidence and maybe a turning point.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoBodyText><B>Turning to international football, you&rsquo&#59;ve been with Ireland for a couple of years now. With what you said about football in Dublin, how much does it mean to play for your country?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;It&rsquo&#59;s the proudest moment for me, standing there for the national anthem. I used to be on those terraces watching Ireland play with the likes of Mick McCarthy and to be out there, getting managed by him, it&rsquo&#59;s unbelievable. A lot of the squad used to watch from the terraces and to be out there, there&rsquo&#59;s nothing better. It&rsquo&#59;s a great buzz, especially as we&rsquo&#59;re doing okay now. Hopefully we can qualify for the World Cup and give the country a great boost.&rdquo&#59; <IMG align=right src="../title_images/carr3.jpg"> <P class=MsoNormal><BR><B>There seems to be something special there, underlined by gaining those draws in Holland and Portugal.<o:p></o:p></B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;What we&rsquo&#59;ve so far is a testament to how far we&rsquo&#59;ve come but there is still a lot of hard work still to be done. It&rsquo&#59;s important we don&rsquo&#59;t waste those results.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<o:p></o:p> <P class=MsoBodyText><B>You joined Spurs in July 1992 so, eight years down the line, how has it been so far?</B> <P class=MsoNormal>SC: &ldquo&#59;Up and down. The last couple of years have been steadier than the previous years but it&rsquo&#59;s been enjoyable. Recent form is on the up and playing a few games for Ireland has been brilliant as well. There have been a lot of hard times as well but on the up hopefully as a player and a team.&rdquo&#59; <P class=MsoNormal>To listen to Stephen's interview in full, <A href="">click here</A><P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;