At The End Of The Day
I knew I’d made it as a player when I first went up to Scotland. At West Ham I was on the bench quite a bit and wasn’t really a part of it. When I went up to Scotland, I started playing week in, week out. I was playing European football and I thought this is what I always want to do.
I was happiest when I was at Luton Town. It was a great club. It had great people around the club, great coaches, the boys in the dressing room were phenomenal. There were some real characters in there. We had some good success too, getting a couple of promotions. I was probably playing my best football there too. I had to leave because the club went into administration. I got a phone call from the manager who said that the boys could get paid if I moved on. I didn’t want to go but it was the difference between the boys getting paid.
The day football broke my heart was missing out on the 2010 World Cup. I had gone up to China, left the family in Perth and worked really hard over there to get in the squad. That was probably the biggest kick football gave me. The day I left Luton was a big moment. The relationships I had at the club, it was hard work moving away. Football has been good to me. When I did my achilles and had to retire, I did it at 32. I was able to say I had a good crack.
The funniest thing a coach ever told me was when I was under Joe Kinnear. He was very good and a great bloke but he was an eccentric manager. I had played a ball to midfield and the midfielder had played the ball to the fullback. There was nothing wrong with it, it was good football but he stressed out and used to panic. He said “You, you dopey ****, if you give that dopey **** the ball again, you pair of dopey
****s will never ****ing play again.” We just sort of sat there and looked at each other. It was funny because I thought I was doing the right thing.
My proudest moment was playing for the Socceroos. That was always a dream. Growing up I had always wanted to play for the national team and even when I was offered to play for Republic of Ireland, it never crossed my mind. I always wanted to play for the Socceroos. Representing my country was definitely a highlight.
My hero growing up was Paul Gascoigne. I think I was a dynamic midfielder when I was younger until
coaches thought better and thought I was a panel beater at centre-half. Especially after Italy 1990, that’s when it started really resonating with me and I was trying to emulate everything Gascoigne did when I was kicking a ball around.
If I could change one thing about the game it’s that it’s too sanitised at the moment. It’s getting over officiated. In the game now, there’s a free kick every 30 seconds when there’s nothing untoward. I don’t want to see players getting hurt but professional footballers know how to look after themselves and look after each other. For me, I’d like to see the game run. The pathways we
have in Australia at the moment is something else I’d change. We’re creating robots. We’re just producing players to play specific positions, we’re not producing players. It’s great having a process but you want players coming out of the system who are like Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell. We’ve stopped producing those players because we’re pigeonholing players too early.
If it wasn’t for football I’d probably be doing nothing at all. I’m in finance now which I really enjoy. I did well at school. My parents made me finish year 12 and I got all my results through to go to university. Other than that though, I probably would have ended up on a building site!
Three words that sum me up would be loyal, hard-working and passionate.
The one thing I couldn’t live without is family. We’re super close. There was only me, my brother and my sister with mum and dad growing up. I come from a tight family unit. Family is the most important thing.
If I could have one wish I’d just like to play one more game in front of a big crowd. After watching the Socceroos the other night, I’d love to get the boots on at that level again.
Right now I’m coaching at Bayswater City Soccer Club. Obviously I’ve had some success there. We’ve won 14-15 trophies in that time. I’m still just 38 and only just learning the game as a coach. I’ve had an offer to go to India as an assistant. I think that would be a great start. I’d like to learn off someone. I’d like to go in under someone I trust and see how it goes. I’ve also got to get my kids through school though and it would be selfish of me to start flying off and doing my own thing.