Glen Little speaks to Givemefootball
Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Thursday, 25th October 2001
Glen Little made his comeback from injury on Tuesday against Palace and was much sought after following the game.
He was interviewed after the game by Ian Clarkson from Givemefootball, the PFA's web site. Below we reproduce the entire interview along with its introduction.
Glen Little Interview
What a start to the season it's been for the men from Turf Moor. Twenty one points were accrued from a possible 24 during the club's best start to the season for 60 years and despite a small blip in form they toppled league leaders Crystal Palace thanks to a solitary Paul Cook goal on Tuesday evening and find themselves handily placed in third position with a big test on the horizon this Sunday against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux. An integral part of this impressive start to the season has been mercurial winger Glen Little. The Wimbledon born 28-year-old has already chipped in with four strikes this term, including a contender for goal of the season at Birmingham during a 3-2 win. Givemefootball's Ian Clarkson caught up with Glen after the Palace game to discuss the season so far and what lies ahead.
Q: HAS THIS SEASON EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS SO FAR?
A: Of course. The gaffer said that we would be amongst the front-runners at the start of the season but as players you are never quite sure and we certainly didn't think we'd be in third place at the moment. We finished seventh last year, which we regarded as a very good season for our first in this division. So, for us to improve then it means reaching the play-offs at least.
Q: HOW DID THE GAME AGAINST CRYSTAL PALACE GO AND DID IT HAVE EXTRA SPICE FOR YOU AS IT WAS THE CLUB WHICH RELEASED YOU?
A: It was a really big game for the team and an individual piece of magic settled it. After that goal no team really threatened and we were delighted to hold on against the leaders. I'm not too bothered now as there have been loads of changes at Palace since I left and anyone who I had a problem with has left and there are only two or three players there who I know so it was just like another game for me.
Q: YOU ARE CURRENTLY THIRD IN THE TABLE – CAN YOU STAY THERE?
A: We are playing at Molineux on Sunday and if we can get a result there then it will have been a great week for us. After that game we'll have played everyone who is at the top alongside us. Last year I think everyone would admit that Fulham and Blackburn were the two outstanding teams but this season I feel that it's absolutely wide open, as no team seem capable of really putting a run together. Wolves have spent a bit of cash and the people I spoke to at Palace said that they were a good side but they've lost their last two games and the season has been like that for all the top teams. Norwich, Birmingham, Manchester City and West Brom have all had good runs and dips in form as well. We won seven out of the first eight games but the win on Tuesday was our first in six.
Q: YOU'VE BEEN LINKED WITH NUMEROUS PREMIERSHIP CLUBS – HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE SPECULATION?
A: I find it very flattering because it means that you must be doing something right. It's been going on for three or four years now so I don't tend to take much notice. If something does happen, then that's football but I'm certainly not pinning my hopes on anything.
Q: THE FANS AT BURNLEY ARE VERY PASSIONATE – DOES THAT HELP?
A: Most definitely. When we went on our winning run it was tremendous but like all big clubs it raises expectations and if you don't win for five games then they become disappointed. However, that's the same at every big club and it's far better to have a lot of vocal support than none at all.
Q: YOU SUFFERED TWO BROKEN LEGS AT CRYSTAL PALACE – WAS IT HARD TO RECOVER?
A: I broke the same leg and was out of football for virtually all my YTS scheme at Palace. It has certainly made me appreciate how lucky I am to be playing ever since and in a strange way it may even have helped me. At that age you have to play a lot of football matches so the fact that I didn't means I'm probably reaping the benefits now.
Q: WHAT IS WORKING WITH STAN TERNENT LIKE?
A: It's going really well at the moment because we are winning games! He's a bit of a character and the sort of manager who squeezes every last bit of talent and effort out of all the players and they all play to their maximum. He might not be everyone's cup of tea but I don't think he's bothered about that in the slightest and his record of success and making players play at their peak speaks for itself.
Q: YOU HAD AN UNCONVENTIONAL ROUTE TO THE FIRST DIVISION – WHAT HAPPENED?
A: I was a professional at Crystal Palace before being released and then went over to Northern Ireland to play for Glentoran. I was better off playing in that league than the Conference and the crowds were good which gave me confidence and experience. It doesn't always matter what the standard is like as long as it's enjoyable because as you get older and more experienced you grow in stature. Then I got a phone call from Adrian Heath at Burnley and that was the chance I needed.
Q: WHO HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR CAREER?
A: My family have always been behind me but, from a football point of view, it was Tommy Cassidy, the Glentoran manager who gave me my chance and also said he wouldn't stand in my way if something better came along. Clive Middlemass, the chief scout at Burnley, recommended me to Adrian Heath and I owe those two a big debt of gratitude because if they hadn't of signed me, who knows where I would be now? Not long after I'd signed, Adrian went to Everton and Clive to Preston North End so I had to win Chris Waddle over and then Stan Ternent but I think Stan will be here for a few years now.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE PROPOSED PFA STRIKE?
A: We are all in total agreement, everyone is totally behind it. Our views probably won't catch the public's attention as we are small fry but when you see Van Nistelrooy and the Manchester United boys backing it then you know something will happen. I would be very surprised if any player in the whole of the Football League or Premiership didn't back it.