This week I had the rare treat of interviewing one of my heroes and undoubtedly one of yours Shaun Goater. Though it took place minutes after an insipid performance at St Mary’s there was also the exciting possibility of glory at the Bernabeu to counter the pessimism and overall I found Shaun in fine defiant form. This is best illustrated by his thoughts on Pep’s imminent arrival –
“In his three year period he’s expected to be at the club he will win the Champions League and he will also win the league. Pep Guardiola is the best manager tactically and what he guarantees you is semi-finals and finals of Champions Leagues.”
Now getting definite declarations such as that can be extremely difficult from any present player or former pro who have been schooled in modern media practices. Usually a question such as ‘What can Pep Guardiola bring to City?’ would elicit general platitudes that stay very much on the safe side of opinion. Nothing contentious and certainly nothing that amounts to a ready-made headline that could bite you on the bum in years to come.
There were no such concerns with Shaun and perhaps due to professing at the beginning to being a Blue our ‘interview’ soon became a chat between two supporters of the same club. Like I say, it was a rare treat.
Here’s The Goat’s take on our negative coverage in the media of late –
“This comes from when you’re having success and have the money and so we don’t get a fair crack. I was listening to a station after the Real Madrid game and they were talking about the atmosphere yet the atmosphere was brilliant. Where were they sitting? There was so much going on in that game yet that’s what you want to talk about? I then watch a United game and okay maybe they’re noisy a couple of times tops. Yet everyone is talking about the game, nobody is talking about that.”
“This is what happened with Chelsea and it comes in cycles. It’s our turn now to be put up there as a target due to our resources.”
As they used to say in The Wire: preach. Speaking in an exclusive interview with 888Sport.com the striker who once made Gary Neville look so foolish he may as well have been wearing a Valencia tie really came into his own when discussing possible summer incomings and outgoings.
Naturally he is enamoured by the emergence of Kelechi to the extent where he believes Pep no longer needs to target a forward in his overhaul –
“A few months ago I used to think we needed a forward to push Aguero but Kelechi Iheanacho has a frightening record and is excelling in his role. He also has a good work ethic and this is a key thing Pep Guardiola will be looking for next season – a work ethic as well as producing goals.”
What of Bony, a striker who Shaun might have sympathy for after experiencing initial slow starts at Reading and City in his time. As you would expect from such a gent the sympathy is there but there is also pragmatism in his words.
“No former player likes to see a player struggle and I was really tipping Bony to do well this season. If he’d started well it would have got the fans behind him but it’s reached a point where the fans don’t have that belief. He has to deliver now but will he still be here? My gut feeling is I don’t think he will.”
In the past year I’ve been privileged enough to interview quite a few big names in football. Some have been arduous – naming no names! – while others, such as Paul Ince, were surprisingly fun. Others, like Leonard Shaun Goater, are simply a pleasure.
Read the full 888sport interview with Shaun Goater here.