FOX 170 – the April/May issue – is now in the shops will be on sale at tomorrow’s game against Watford…
This issue features: An interview with City player-coach Chris Powell; a Tribute to Bobby Smith; Soccer Stars 76-77 – the full set of stickers; Fox Covers from History – the 80’s; Fully Programmed; Fox Diary; the latest from the Foxes Trust; Tales From the Riverbank; An old war-horse in Fox Philosophy; the Chris Lymn Column; The Peter Shilton Scrapbook; Our Man in a Van; your letters and Bentley’s Roof and Fanatical Frank as you never thought you’d see him…
Excerpt from the Chris Powell Interview…
FOX: In 2001 Sven Göran Eriksson, picked you to play for England. The London Evening Standard weren’t very kind with a ‘Chris Who?’ headline. Did it come as a surprise to you to be picked at 31 years of age?
CP: When Sven first came in he said he was going to watch every club, and I believe that he did. I know he’d been to a few Charlton games and I was playing very well at the time. We thought Sven was probably keeping an eye on Richard Rufus who was performing very well at centre-back. I did wonder if he was watching me but I couldn’t really see it at my age. And Charlton players didn’t get chosen to play for England.
I turned up at training on Friday, drove in and there were journalists everywhere. The Daily Mail had apparently said there would be a couple of shock names in the squad and one was me, but I hadn’t seen the papers that morning and had no idea. As soon as I got out of the car the press officer was there saying, don’t say anything, come straight in. The word was that I was in, but I had to get on with training, we were playing away at Coventry the next day.
When I finished training Alan Curbishley called me up and said: “We need to see you.”
I thought, they’re not dropping me are they?
I went up to see him and he said: “I’ve got a fax from the FA with your name on it, you’re in the England squad.”
I’ve still got the fax at home. I started shaking to be honest. Then I came down and told the lads and they were really complimentary. Then I realised the eyes of the football world were on me. I’ve always tried to be accessible to the press, but my phone didn’t stop ringing all day and in the end I had to turn it off.
I knew everyone was watching out for me to make a mistake against Coventry and I was getting nervous. Curbs and Mervyn Day said to me: “Don’t worry, you’ve played really well for us, this is where you have got to learn to cope with a different sort of pressure.”
We drew 2-2 with Coventry and I played alright.
The press took two different angles – some said it was great that Sven was looking at different clubs for his players, others said it was wrong that he was choosing players from an unfashionable club.
Then I found out that I was actually starting the game and the pressure increased even further. It went really well, but then I had to come off at half time with a calf injury. Sven told me afterwards that he would have kept me on for the full 90 minutes. It was the best 45 minutes of my life…