Barry and Mark share their experiences and opinions on the game over a skinny latte with honey (Mark) and a large long mac!
Who do you Support?
ML: Newcastle Utd
BW: Hearts & Scotland
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
ML: My Mam (Pat) and Dad (Austin) and wife (Marianne) have been the biggest influences on my career. As my Mam was a teacher she understood children and was a wonderful mentor and supporter of my football career. She used to drive me to every training session, trial, match etc and was always there to give me honest feedback and guidance. My Dad was fantastic and looking back now I realised that he was a huge influence on my career. He would always give me an honest evaluation of my performance and encouraged me to believe in my ability. Even when he was thousands of miles away in the UK he would ring me in the early hours of the morning to wish me good luck when I was playing for Perth Glory. Don’t ask me how but he always managed to call me if we were playing away and call me in my room at the hotel!
Marianne has been amazing as well and used to put up with my moods if I had played a poor game. She also came to watch me play and would always be there for advice and support. I was very lucky to have such strong family support and without this I doubt weather I would have had the career I did.
BW: My mother and grandad (Papa) have provided amazing support and dedication to give me the best possible chance in everything I have chosen to do. My Papa drove me everywhere, we used to talk about the game and he was always very honest. He never used to shout out instructions from the sidelines, but I knew when I had to be better because he used to whistle. With the advances in Sports Science and Sports Psychology, along with the internet, the knowledge you can gain from studying the game is huge, Bill Beswick and Steve Bull have produced excellent work and any player/coach/parent would do well to read their studies and gain a better appreciation of what it takes to be a footballer. I wish I was a young player now with access to all these tools.
I have to say now in coaching Kylee puts up with a lot, being out six days a week, at times we could be out having dinner or visiting friends, but she has given me wonderful support throughout.
What is your biggest achievement in Football?
ML: I realised my childhood dream and became a professional footballer at the age of 17. This is all I ever wanted to do and to sign as a professional footballer and to be paid for something you love doing is an amazing feeling. When I was a YTS player at Scarborough I made my first debut at 16 against Preston North End and was the youngest ever player at the times to make his debut which made it extra special (yes, my Dad managed to get to that game as well!). To win the Gold Medal here in Perth was amazing and then to play in the A-league for Perth Glory at 27 was very special. What made it even more special was that my Mam, Dad and Marianne were able to see my make my home debut against Adelaide Utd.
BW: I was honoured to represent Scotland at u18 level and also played in European Competition whilst still in Ireland. Now being able to influence young players in a positive manner is fantastic and much more rewarding than when I played the game.
Who is your favourite player?
ML: Paul Gascoigne who used to play for my hometown club Newcastle United. He played with freedom and creativity and with a smile on his face. I used to model my whole game on him. When I was 11 I met him on a train when he was playing for Tottenham Hotspur – he was superb with me and we sat and talked all of the journey up to Newcastle (3 hours). Unfortunately his career and life has taken the wrong route but in my eyes as a footballer he was the best. Ask Barry about his goal against Scotland in Euro 1996!
BW: Denis Law was my hero, he and Kenny Dalglish have been the only two truly world class Scottish players. I have been going on about Andrés Iniesta for years and think that he is the best player in the world right now. For true professionalism Paul Scholes, he is a superstar but rarely do you see him in the press or on TV, the way he balances his life with football is the best example to any young player.
PS: I never actually seen Gazza’s goal live cos we had just missed a penalty at the other end and I was sitting with my head in my hands…That England team were quality though and should have won it that year, they seemed to suffer from the same complex Gary McAllister had in that they couldn’t take penalties!!
Who is the best coach you have played under?
ML: Ian Kerr when I was at Scarborough always encouraged me to express myself and was a coach who I felt believed in me and never put any pressure on his players.. As a coaching mentor, Kenny Lowe, has had a big influence on developing me as a coach and gave me guidance as a player and now a coach. However the best coach I have ever had was my Dad who used to spend hours in the back garden playing football tennis or working on my technique with me. At then end of every session I would also say to him “5 more minutes Dad!” which highlighted how much I loved training with him.
BW: George Mackie and Donald Park(currently the Head of Coach Education at the SFA) were hugely influential, they signed me at Meadowbank Thistle when I was fifteen and give me a great deal of insight into being a player. Here in Perth, Kenny Lowe has been a great influence and he also coached me whilst at Perth SC, his sessions are always fresh and challenging. Without being overly biased Mark is the best coach around, the energy and enthusiasm he brings to every session is fantastic, I learn something from him every week and he has helped me become a far more accomplished coach.
Who is the best player you have played with or against?
ML: Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, John Barnes, Ian Rush and Harry Kewell were the best I played against when I was in the UK. In the USA I played against Robert Preki (former Rec Star Belgrade, Everton and USA player) in a pre season friendly when he played for Miami Fusion – he was the best I have played against. Whilst in Australia and playing in the A-League there have been many famous players but the best I played with was Hayden Foxe – he has played at the highest level but always treat everyone with respect loved playing the game.
BW: I had the privilege to play against and alongside Paul McGrath, former Manchester Utd, Aston Villa and Rep. of Ireland legend. I played with two players in Ireland who will be unknown to most but Gary Dempsey and Alan Kirby were fantastic to play with, both were technically excellent but provided great vision and energy to the team.
What is the best moment ever in football?
ML: Gascoigne’s goal against Scotland and every time I coach or play the best game in the world!
BW: Being in the ground (Celtic Park, Glasgow) when Hearts won the Scottish Cup in 1998, then heading straight back to Tynecastle to celebrate and welcome the team home was magical. There have been hundreds of amazing moments in the game but I will always remember Paulo Di Canio catching the ball when Paul Gerrard the Everton goalkeeper got injured and was out the game, he could have simply scored but chose to stop the match so the keeper could get attention. An amazing act of sportsmanship!
What has been your worst moment in Football?
ML: When I was released by Hibernian FC at the age of 19 I thought my whole career was over and for a while fell out of the love with the game. I always had a feeling inside that I could get back to the professional level though so trained harder until I got another opportunity 8 years later!
BW: Being injured is the hardest part of being a player, it’s very frustrating and always leaves you with a feeling that you are letting people down. My worst memory of football would have to be one week in May, 1986 when Hearts lost the Scottish Championship to Celtic on the last day of the season by goal difference then got beat off Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup final a week later, I still cannot believe we didn’t win the double! In the history of the game though the saddest moment would have to be the Hillsborough Disaster when 96 Liverpool supporters lost their lives at the FA Cup Semi-Final against Nottingham Forest in 1989.
What three things best sum up your philosophy towards football?
ML: Love the Game, Love Training, Be the Best You Can Be
BW: Entertain, Desire & Practice
Away from football what do you like doing?
ML: Spending time with my family, wife Marianne and our sons Daniel and Joshua, and our friends as well as when our family visit us from the UK. I also love to run and compete in the local races. Going for PFT meeting with Baz is always enjoyable! To be honest though I am never away from football and would still play 24/7 if I could.
BW: I most enjoy relaxing with my wife, Kylee and traveling to new places. I love to play golf, watching Cricket and enjoy the theater, eating out and seeing live music. I can’t say that I have much time away from football, at least thinking about it anyway, I carry a notepad with me everywhere I go and usually spend most of the time scribbling down new training sessions, usually over coffee with Mark but he has started to ruin all my pencils so going to buy him a set of crayons for Christmas!