Monday 20 October 2014

Jan Molby crowns Anfield trip with enduring love of game

Joe Molloy

Published 14/05/2014 | 02:30

Jan Molby in action for Liverpool in 1986
Jan Molby in action for Liverpool in 1986

On Monday afternoon, I sat down with Jan Molby at Anfield talking football. We'd just spent the morning playing ball, all part of Carlsberg's 'Join the Greats' competition, which brought 80 Irish prize-winners, including four OTB listeners, to the Newcastle game on Sunday and back to the stadium on Monday for a kick-around.

As Monday mornings go, it ranked very much in the 'glorious' category. Ian Rush, Jason McAteer, Didi Hamann and Jan took us through our paces. Penalty shoot-outs, shooting practice, a hurling puck-about involving McAteer and five-a-side games all combined beautifully... There was also just a fair degree of breathing the place in.

It was Jan who stole our hearts: saving penalties with his head, running the five-a-side games without moving and living up to his all-round good guy reputation.

After lunch, I put it to him that he must really miss the game, given his particular exuberance, even with us random interlopers.

He nodded: "Yeah, it's the one thing I miss. A lot of former players say they miss the banter, but I don't get that because you can have banter anywhere, can't you? We have a former players' association, we get together, we still play games, you have the banter then, but you can't play.

"So, I miss playing. And I think it's so cruel, you get to your mid-30s, you're a lot wiser in life and they take it all away from you.

"It's such a big void in your life to fill.

"And you have to be very focused on how you actually do that, because the easiest thing is to get depressed, and some people get bitter because of the money involved today."

An interesting answer.

"That's tough," I said.

He gave a smile and a shrug.

"That's life, though." he said.

Irish Independent

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