Monday 20 February 2017

Terry Phelan on...

Published 12/02/2011 | 05:00

Playing for Ireland: "I played 42 games over a 10-year span and loved every minute. I played against some of the best players in the world in some of the best stadiums in the world -- and I played with some of the best players in the world in Irish teams."

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On being born in

Manchester and his

Irish roots

"I'm Irish through and through. The only thing I haven't got is an Irish accent. If I could change my accent I would, but I've got to work with what I've got.

"God forbid, if there was a world war, and we had to go to war, I'd be first in line going to defend Ireland."

On Stephen

Ireland and other

stay-away players

"Obviously it doesn't mean a lot to them, does it? What their reasons are is up to them, but I don't understand why you wouldn't want to play for your country. Are they on too much money? Are they not bothered? I haven't got a clue. It baffles me. When we were growing up, the be-all and end-all was representing your country."

On Wimbledon

"I was used to getting the ball down, getting the ball off the 'keeper, and then playing. And I grew up watching the great Liverpool side of the 1970s and 1980s, and Brazil, passing the ball around.

"And I come to this little club and I go 'holy s***. They don't want the ball, these players. They just want to get it in the channels, get a diagonal ball to the big men and push up.'

"It took me about six months to settle down, but after a match against Newcastle at Plough Lane big John Fashanu, and Dennis Wise, and Vinny Jones came and said, 'look, you're one of us now, you look after us and we're going to look after you' and that was great.

"Mind you, there were things in that dressing-room I'd never seen before in my life. I saw some lads break up in tears, they just couldn't handle that Crazy Gang culture."

On the 1988 FA Cup

final against liverpool

"In the tunnel we were buzzing. We weren't kicking it off with anybody. We were like, 'we're going to go out there and we're going to prove to the world we're not just there to lie down and be defeated.'

"That was our spirit, and we danced, we sang, we shouted, we swore, we spat in the tunnel.

"I think the gods were with us. We had a bit of luck but it's in the history books that we won, and everybody still remembers that cup final."

Irish Independent

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