Niamh Fahey | First Interview With New Liverpool Captain
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Hello and welcome back to play. I predict comm it's been lucky enough now to get a lot of big guests the last couple of weeks in particular, but this has been one that I've been trying to get hold of for quite a while now and as time would have had given the announcements earlier on this week, it's got even better. I'm introduced just to give a little intro into my guest it's it's not often that when your brothers both win or learn and winners, one of them in fact, lifts somewhere but yet they're still not the most successful or well known superstar in the family is of course Liverpool captain, the Fae leave How are you?
I'm gonna jump in what a what an introduction.
Oh, let's go with people like to look after each other and all that Liverpool Captain does that still sound a little bit surreal?
Most definitely. Yes, I don't think it's fully sunk in yet. But I'm sure I get used to it over the coming days
ya know No, it must be an incredible yeah everybody in such a good reaction as well. You can see the the I suppose the outburst of emotion in social media as well the last week or two with the announcement I'm sure your phone has been absolutely happen
exactly. I think the first time I ever say my phone has been red hot and it's so many messages like you said so many goodwill messages from home especially and all my community and just all of Ireland really i think it's it's really been quite big and now it's been grace your actions been really nice and they're really helpful really positive.
Yeah, no, absolutely no, you've got a fascinating career both in your time here back in Galway and then where you ventured across the waters but I always like to start off with people and ask them who were there any sports I suppose idols or people that had the most influence on the career and I always say it was my mother that dragged me out and got me into sport really, I suppose you grown up with the two brothers as well being heavily linked with Korea time as well they must have been a huge impact on you on your area sport and career who else was was big key factors.
And definitely I think for me it started at home like said and my house is very big g household and a motivation. So there was always plenty games going on, outside and the six brothers that I have are a bit older than me so that I was always watching them and wanted to be you know, just kicking around outside doing what they were doing. And so for me watching one of my brothers and actually following them around when they were playing Magali as a young as a young girl going to all the matches dragged up and down every county gone with my mom and dad and my sister support them so most definitely started at home for me and just with all my family really my sister as well. Very good basketball player so I had early influences all around me
Yeah, well you definitely you can imagine some of those games were pretty intense to the best of times from I'm sure there was plenty tears as well i'm sure
as always tears for me because there's a there's a quite an age gap obviously with their their be an amiable so I was always trying to get one over and clearly physical size and difference I was always going to be the wrong and so it probably helped my competitive nature but I was never never a good loser even given the physical differences I always wanted to win and I'm sure they got great joy teasing me as well when I was younger
I'm sure there was some good stories there right I suppose for people that are maybe not not from Ireland or not really aware I'm I'm assuming here but I'm assuming them similar to where I grew up the other into the country where you grew up in Ireland it was Gaelic football would have been the first girl would have been the first sport that you would have been exposed, exposed to and introduced the most.
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Just that Bay Area and from the parish I mean cannon is just a heavily involved Gaelic Football Club there and to me when I was growing up, there wasn't many soccer clubs. So everyone played Gaelic, it was everyone's passion. So that was that was where it all started really. And that's where everyone wants to play Gaelic because you want to represent your your parish in your club. So yeah, my firt my first love was most definitely Gaelic and then obviously as I got older, I started to you know, get exposed to soccer more and climb the ranks or things started to change Malaysia years, very much a Gaelic, Gaelic back road.
Yeah, we know you'd see it and a good few times with the particularly with the Irish rugby team in for example, a lot of the time, you know, you might have seen, the one that comes to mind straightaway is when they have the six nation games, a crow Park and chain horkan scores at Troy with a big, big catch, and everybody likes to go Whoa, you learn that on the Gaelic field. I'm sure you're probably reminded of that. As your soccer career progressed and as well.
Yeah, definitely. I remember knocking for the first time I got called up to an international squatters like 16 is on the under 17 team and he was they all used to save me, you know, obviously you're a game player playing soccer. Look your role your role is a rusher. And I think it was every compliment meant in that but I was definitely lacking the finer skills and details of of the soccer upbringing that I could have had maybe if I was a bit more involved at a younger age, but it didn't do me any harm at all. It actually was really good for my game in terms of shielding the ball and physical strength I was able to like be really good tackling and my American and stuff. So that's that's why the thing was really helped my game as well.
Yeah, no, absolutely. And when did when did like soccer become I suppose more of a kind of where it started take a bit of structure for you as the Gaelic would have been, pretty much as soon as you joined, you're forced under hc McClellan, I assume but the word of the soccer structure come into place. And
I think really, it started taking effect when I was probably in after I got into the international squads probably 18 1718. And I started to be involved with the under 19 Neverland. And then I think, yeah, probably around that age, I started to veer more towards soccer, and it started take up more of my time, obviously, the club structure of soccer, it wasn't that strong in Ireland. So it was very much just being exposed to at an international level and loving that side of it, and then wanting to actually progress on and represent the senior squad. So I knew I'd have to be more committed if I wanted to do that. But about about a 17 or 18 I think the switch kind of started to happen,
which in terms of sport and careers is quite late, like I'm sure people that you were probably teammates and people that you're playing against would have been, that would have been their first sport it was it's more of an indication of just how much of a natural talent you were that you were able to wear. Can I suppose transition a little bit later in your sporting career cross?
Yeah, I mean, like, obviously, don't get me wrong, I played when I was younger, all the way up, like at school and and stuff and my probably early instincts performed from the playground and you know, playing against boys all all those years, but um, I didn't I didn't get the structure coach and that will say people are exposed to now what I like said I had, I was keen, keen for both and I watched a lot. And I had probably some minor disadvantages, but a playing Gaelic probably outweighed any of those minor things that I may have missed when I was younger.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, you certainly didn't have the academy structure or that one to one coaching earlier on in terms of your goal we career then you kind of burst into the golden panel, it was quite young again in your sporting career. I'm going to read out a message here it's actually quite long, but you probably kill me for it. But it's one of your former teammates and not enough to say any more than that because you've probably kill them and kill me. It was just on your on your memories, my memories of Neve or her as a young kid on the block coming into the senior panel at 1516. So skillful are strengthened. Zeke faded, right in a joy to watch. Rather than learning from us, we will learn from her. She was a huge part of winning the show for all Ireland, a leader scored a great goal against more male import leads to draw with me or we went on to win the Ireland that year, that gold, some need of leadership, strength scale, and a will to win and to take well and just inspirational stuff, passionate committed. It goes on and on and on and on and on. And I better not read the rest of it or you'll actually kill me. But there's a nice little summary at the end. PG fi always called her on a team still does the special one. And I think she's very special. How does written stuff like that? Because it used to strip back the emotion of it. You were a 1516 year old kid coming into, you know, in intercounty setup like that as well. It was a big, I suppose. Step up really in a big challenge for you that you absolutely grabbed a both hands.
Yeah, and I suppose it's probably the fearlessness of youth. And you don't think of anything, you don't get the gravity of the situation. And sometimes you're going in blind to things and that can be that can be the best thing ever. Because you don't you just go out and you're free and you just play and that can be the best thing about being so young and I think that definitely helped me and I could just go out and play and I had someone like pdgfr who who had so much belief and trust in me. And so when you see that from your manager delicado she's almost we are always here they're giving me a chance to dethrone me and and obviously I was coming into a team with massive players so everything just kind of hit at the right time for me and yeah, I was lucky like as lucky to be part of that team. Grateful both grateful Poland's ability was great times as well. But um, yeah, I think probably the fearlessness of youth was the biggest advantage I had there.
Ya know, it was like when you think about it as well even thinking back now in terms of Galway football both men's and women's you had the it was such a successful time. You obviously had your two brothers and 90 Asian and a one and a couple of close ones in around 2000 as well. In between and then you've come on and gold re ladies was on such a peak as well, it was a great time for Galway, GA in general wasn't it must be great to be involved in that.
As it was amazing, like you think back and I don't think it sank in as good as, as we had, like from following my brother's like through, you know 98 and 2000 1001. And then obviously our own successes then come in 2004 is really a momentous time for us in terms of ga and going, and then somehow you think it's going to go on forever. And then all of a sudden, you know, it doesn't come and it's just the years go on. And yeah, you know, we only look back now and you think God, I hope I I should have taken that in more because I thought you know, this was just gonna happen. And continuously doesn't work like that, obviously, as we as we
know, true, but I think you touched on I suppose it's the both the polar opposites of the the innocent of youth. Really, you're straight in but you probably didn't appreciate it as much at the same time. Probably correct in saying that.
Oh, yeah, definitely. Exactly. Spoiled really got so much so quickly that you think Yeah, Ronnie happen again? And obviously. Yeah, like I said, innocence of youth on both occasions.
That must have been like such a busy, busy time for you as well. Because you would have been go away pretty much full time. And then you know your soccer career as well. How did you find that? I suppose a juggling act for want of a better word.
I yeah, it was great. I started to think it's extremely busy time, I just remember coming back from an Irish camp and then go and arrive on that day and then go straight to a Gaelic match. And but again, I just I think when you're so young, and you just want to play everything and be involved in everything. And then you have managers who are allowing them facilities and all these things that you do your best to make everything not let anyone down. And of course yourself wants to play in everything. So I didn't really, I didn't really mind. And then obviously I got mentioned my parents, because they were the ones that were ferrying me from A to B with or without them and my family, my support system, none of it would have been able to be possible. But uh, yeah, I just enjoyed playing and I was willing to play with it as long as I could.
It must have been a logistical absolute nightmare at times. Because you there's a lot of variable parts there. Yeah, there,
I think it was, I think, to be honest, a lot of people ended up sorting that out for me, because I think they want to be, they wanted me to play so they were like, yeah, we'll make it work. And once you hear that, we'll make it work, then, you know, you can kind of relax and know that, you know, there's no pressure then we'll do our best to get everything done. And to be fair on my managers at the time, didn't put any pressure on me they they took a lot of slack and were able to arrange different things like lips and obviously my parents as well. But you know, I've got people around me and it doesn't work with good people around you.
Ya know? And it's some of the conversation that we hear quite a lot as well as that you know, people and I suppose the younger kids and being told to focus on one sport as opposed to you know, having fun during their early teens in particular and you know, try and and very having variation with different sports, you are the like the the ultimate example, all Ireland's Gaelic football and then such a successful soccer query that you have on the back of but then as well, what do you think looking back now as well, it is quite important that you did try different sports. And rather than like the as opposed to the academy system that we see at times, particularly I think in the men's game, where if you're a good kid, you're being you're being hoovered up by six or seven, and you're putting streamlined to went into Academy pretty much. And then it's almost like, probably extreme to say their childhood has gone but their sporting childhood is definitely restricted.
Yeah, like you said, it's such a tough system as an effort, especially for the guys that go into academies at that age, because everything is pitched up making it, obviously, because the financial pressures are so big for me as I wouldn't change a thing in terms of the sport and background that I gained from one. Anyone who likes to play board sports, I think it's a shame when you know, you're forced to choose one or the other because, you know, it's at the end of the day sport is for pure pleasure and enjoyment. And yes, you want to win and compete, but that's why you started off so I think that's really important to you know, not put pressure on younger people too much because let them find their own path. And for me that's that's the way it happened naturally. And yeah, I'm just just glad I didn't get those, you know, pressurized managers who wanted to, you know, pull me in different directions.
Yeah, no, absolutely. I suppose that area then you're probably absolutely chaos, I think is the best word to describe your schedule with Galway and in Ireland. You're obviously playing with soccer in Galway then as well with the two teams there. But how did how did that next phase that kind of move across the water? How did that kind of come around? Is that something that happened pretty quickly or it kind of had been on the cards for a little while.
I think it kind of came out of the blue really. We were the Irish team was playing the senior Irish team was playing the Arsenal winning convert quadruple team in Dublin and a friendly so we were basically in in Dublin they came over and obviously being the star studded team there was a it was a great kind of showcase event and and the manager at the time after came up to me and will say like we'd like you to come over and obviously Keith Taylor was in that team as well so you'd actually offered Katie Taylor as well the two of us to chance to come over and you know go home to Arsenal play at Arsenal so there was big links already there with for the three of the girls and burn Kiera grant and Yvonne Tracy we're already at Arsenal so there was good links there. And yet that's how we kind of that's how that happened. So it was just just by chance I suppose just that friendly occurred. He was very low for the scene and I I obviously jumped at the opportunity once once it was on the table. I want to say it's probably not a decision you have to think too much about really did you know I was doing thing I was trying to like when I finished University College as I was in my second year in any ID so I was just trying to think like logistically, how is that going to work but it ended up transferring over to finish university over there as well in the UK. So no, I didn't I didn't have to think it was just those little minor details but I was definitely going there's no way about
that competitive streak come through again, was that it was a fun conversation with your parents in as well mom and dad and going
I don't even think they were like okay, they knew they didn't even know try to convince me otherwise they knew how probably dead set I was on it and then they're like my mom came over with me and just to go over and see it before actually moved over. And once I was over there and seeing the training grounds and everything that was that I paid for went to London gone and I was absolutely sold. So yeah, I went we actually played a tournament with the goalie, goalie team district league at the time we were going into going to Europe and but obviously I got the chance to go to Arsenal so then I couldn't play in europe but i we played a a friendly tournament in Manchester and then straight from that tournament, I got the train down to London. Yeah, didn't look back then I was asked
well, and how did you find that initial I suppose transition across to being a What do you pretty much want a full time athlete by whatever the nose bar, the bar the frills here in Ireland really in effect, but to move across to to Paris? And then as well? Was that a big? How did you find that transition? You hear so many stories of people and guys and girls and girls really struggling because it can be a big change.
It was it was tough. And the first year was a lot of homesickness probably benefited from the fact that there was three of the other Irish girls there at the club. I benefit from that a lot, you know, familiar faces and home and accents and stuff like that just makes it easier. And then yeah, but I did. I found it hard the first year. But to be honest, I was lucky because I was 20 when I was going over so I was you know a good bit older and into university and I had college to go to when I was so I had a bit of structure in my life. I wasn't just going into full time football and twiddling my thumbs and for the rest of the day, which I find difficult anyway, so it was good to have those different things in place that helped me settle.
And of course on the pitch then as well, it was a very successful time for you as well. That was you touched on it. The quadruple team it was they were such a brilliant team as well. It must have been amazing to some great memories about a better but that time as well. We picked up a lot of silverware.
Yes, unbelievable team, the best team have ever played in hands down. Like either exit Kelly Smith English players met absolute legend of the game and just heard quality and all all through the team, there was just so much ability and training was training was the hardest thing ever. Like if the games of the weekend, were easy compared to train and there's so much talent. I loved it. Every session was brilliant as well. Just so much to learn. And at that time, I'd never been exposed to that level. So obviously it took me a while to get up to that level but once I did I absolutely thrived in it.
Yeah, and you probably noticed your game that I suppose the technical side of your game improving a lot as well from from being in that full time. We wouldn't have had the luxury of that full time I suppose coaching environment for want of a better word.
Yeah, exactly. And to be exposed to that, you know, level of coaching I hadn't been exposed to something like that before a club level for sure. And obviously with their arsenal philosophy as well it was very much to keep the ball on the ground pass and move and play. So my my technical ability just went through, you know, another at another level when I went there, so I was just improved. I've improved so much at Arsenal so massive helped me for sure. Is
there any particular memory from your time at Arsenal that stood out?
In terms of like
silverware, silverware, yarns and spelling, especially memories, I guess it wouldn't be a copy of the first Irish person to win Currently,
I wish I was at Chelsea. Chelsea. Yeah, yeah, and probably the biggest, so many good things that are so it's hard to go back over the years but uh, the most one that sticks out with me is after I did my cruciate, so I missed a year there and then 2014 we won the FA Cup. And against Everton with arsenal. Anna. I was my first game back, actually. So I actually made it back. And first game back was the final, so I didn't expect the play. And then I got the nod. And then obviously, we won. So that was like, yeah, that was a crown and kind of achievement on so many different levels, because they're just getting back on the pitch and, you know, playing at that level again, which was a big confidence booster. Obviously, when anytime you win silverware, it's always a great moment. So yeah, probably that was the one the most recent one. But there's there's been loads.
It's probably an impossible question to answer. But I'm just kind of curious myself in terms of the journey through I guess, maybe you touched on a little bit with being a little young, you might not appreciate at times, but the difference between winning Ireland with Galway, and winning like silverware would say Arsenal, Chelsea or wherever, maybe can you compare the two, in terms of emotions are probably gonna repeat probably impossible question.
And it kind of is. For me, I feel like when in the all Ireland was just you're winning it with your friends. Because you have, you have that tight bond. And there's some like being in a professional environment. It's great winning and everything, but it is cutthroat and it is ruthless. And you do have bonds, but nothing is as strong as winning stuff with your friends. And that's what we were in with echo 18. So I don't think if I'd be lying if I said I'm gonna top that. Really, that's probably the best the best feeling that I've ever had. Even though I was quite so young and didn't take it in but uh, ya know, that was something special.
Absolutely will keep the people at home happy and all that without answering.
I was paid as paid to say that for my dad.
Got a good point there something to work. It's true that because i think i don't know maybe we were a bit tribal. And probably every county is the same but like from being from Galway, and I think it gets even stronger when you're away almost tribalism, for for the love for your county and stuff like that. It's a it's a trying to explain to someone there during the weekend, it's pretty much impossible to it is it never goes away. put it that way.
No, exactly. It's like you said I don't I don't think you can explain it too well, that you just have to grow up in it. And then you just know. It's completely different. And like you said, I think it's because you're just born into a place and no matter what the circumstances are you play for that place. And obviously, with all the money and transfers that go around, it's not exactly the same loyalties and whatnot that end up coming off. True with the team. So I think that plays like a massive part of it as well.
Because Well speaking of transfers, your next part of the journey is across London, not too far of a trip, the whole ins and outs of that deal. Was that a difficult decision? Or did it just happen? or How would you describe that next period?
I think it was it was probably quite easy in terms of I knew I wanted to go and just I'd spent a lot of time there. I just wanted a new change and obviously I knew Chelsea was a you know enough uncommon club and had good plans. So I was excited to go there and get get on board there and get part of that. And there was a lot of changes behind the scenes at Arsenal at that time as well. Which I didn't really see as like a positive change for the club. And so yeah, it just felt it was it just felt like a right time to go really and yeah, so I just went it was it wasn't too It wasn't nothing, you know, that's another thing like it's quite cutthroat like once he leaves somewhere you're kind of gone and that's it next one in one out and that's that's how it is so football is
I think Roy King famously described as footballers a pieces of meat maybe not that extreme in your situation but it definitely is a numbers game put it that way I guess
definitely like that's that's it like I think that's probably so hard for people as well because you've invested so much of yourself and so much of your time somewhere and then you can just be dropped like that and then then there's no more mention or there's no farewells or big goodbyes or anything like that so well it's a tough it's tough in that respect for sure.
Yeah, well I guess compared to your first transfer your first big move across the water This one was a little bit a little little bit less stressful. I'd imagine you're on a short trip across London
definitely awesome team which moving to go to go on either so an odd I don't want to hate moving in general so
nice and stress free though.
Pretty good. course I think I touched on a prematurity there a little earlier that was great in history then winning that FA Cup with Chelsea again. Again, a very, very special moment for you and your family. Oh, but
yeah, they were actually as well. So a lot of my family came over for the game. And cnm afterwards feel after walking up the steps of Wembley, collecting your winners medal and just seeing them was just unbelievable moment actually to get to share with your family and be the first the winner FA Cup in Wembley, women's FA Cup in Wembley as well. It was just an unbelievable day Really?
You know? Absolutely. And just again, me being curious, it's a you're obviously a big Liverpool supporter now as well, I think you can openly admit it now. Do you find that it was that a, an impact in your decisions in terms of transfers or stuff like that are just that, I suppose that little kid loyalty at the back of your mind doesn't have to just get pushed to one side almost.
Yeah, and I think, at the time, I didn't really think of it like that, because I just wanted to go wherever I had the chance to be more successful. And at that time, Chelsea was the place to go to, so I didn't think of any other club really, at that specific time. But um, obviously things change as the years go by. And you'd like to get an opportunity to play for your, you know, your club that you've supported all your life, or how how amazing that would be. And your hack does change a bit then and then different. You have to weigh up different things, obviously, but a lot get stronger for sure. And for me, that was the case. Once Liverpool came in for me, I couldn't turn down the opportunity.
You had a little bit of an adventure in France, just before you get your was your dream move for wanting to better cliche. How did you find that whole approach? I remember seeing an article at the time I think that the lines are stuck in it was like my Leaving Cert French isn't what used to me here was to me like a good adventure at the same time. different culture, different language, different styles that I imagine.
Yeah, definitely. Leaving Cert French might even serve French honors as well.
Okay, very good. Not as bad.
Yeah, no, it didn't really come to my cheese for that I, that was a long time in the UK. And I thought if I was ever going to go, it was a good time to go. After Chelsea because I wasn't making the start and 11 and I wanted to be playing I didn't want to be a squad player. And the opportunity came up there and I said, I'd have to take this because I want to experience something different than I did enjoy it. And it was definitely an eye opener. But the differences of between the leagues was quite significant. And I knew if I got a chance to come back to the UK that I would take it straight away. So yeah, when Liverpool came call and then it was just perfect. I was like yeah, definitely want to go Liverpool and settled in. Once I was back I didn't really think twice about my, my friends, my French soldier or whatever you call it.
scouse is a bit more easier to understand than pigeon. pigeon French.
Some people find it a bit more difficult but for me it's like a second language.
So obviously that must have been like you felt like the stars are aligning to to get the opportunity to play in club which is supported all your life as well. Would you have been a big Liverpool fan growing up?
Yeah, yeah. Massive, like just huge fan. It was all it was either Liverpool or Monday night in my school. And there was a very clear split, probably Monday night it just shaded it actually. So there's always big rivalries between us at that time and obviously grown at 90s. United, we're winning everything.
So I hear you I hear you
have to soak up a lot of abuse. For there. Obviously as you know, our time has come to get the one over. Well, yeah, no, I would have been Liverpool mad Liverpool jerseys, Mike alone would have been my life hero Steven Gerrard at that time. So yeah, through and through from the start
to get that first opportunity. Then when you heard of the move to Liverpool happening, what was your What was your reaction? Can you remember where you are and how that came about?
I was I was in I was in France. And I was just talking to my agent who was doing different things and saucing out what was happening in the UK in the league. And he's like, oh, Liverpool are interested. I was like, Alright, okay, he's interested in after the way to eat things up. But obviously at the time as well. There's a lot of changes going on in the background. So in terms of management and players, so I was a bit wary of going as well at the same time. But then I just was like I have to go it's it you don't get the opportunity. All the time these opportunities don't come by so I took us and yeah, and I haven't regretted this it's been there's been a lot of difficult things that have happened it hasn't been seen and by any sense of the imagination, but I'm I'm happy to be here and I'm happy to be to be playing and wearing red.
Does it feel I don't mean this in a disrespectful way to your other former clubs but for you just the Liverpool jersey kind of the one that's closest to the maroon in terms that you all the other stuff. You described in the game here you have that emotional attachment to it as well.
Definitely. Without doubt, I think, obviously, like I said, with respect early, the clubs I played for have always respected my employers and the badge in and done my best. But there is an emotional connection that you just kind of described that when you play for the club that you've always supported from your childhood. And has that added significance and you want to do well for the badge. We have that pride in the jerseys, like, as if you're playing football, we really it's it's something similar. So that helps as well. It helps me push on and strive for more success as well that I want to be successful for this club, because I care a lot about us. So yeah, it's it definitely has a bit more meaning.
And, of course, the news that you got last week, then I've been probably, probably, I think we were chatting a bit earlier in the summer, you could probably pre emptive is coming a bit. But when it's actually announced in artificial that you are or repeat the words again, they'll probably seem a little worried a Liverpool captain, I see the smile on your face there straightaway. I can tell you can tell you're not making it up. And that must make the I suppose any kind of reservations about the move that you may have had initially to. You must have been like, Oh my god, I made the right decision there.
Yeah, I think, exactly. To be now Liverpool captain, the leader of the team. And I just didn't think I didn't expect that to happen when I was first signed in here, but to be given that opportunity to leave the girls. And Captain the club is just phenomenal. Really, I wouldn't have dreamt of it ever we can see by my face. It's just an overwhelming feeling as well. I'm just proud and very happy to just have to do well now. So there's there's no pressure. Yeah, well, like we see on the men's side, the Jordan Henderson has kind of as he's got the handle shuffle. He's on trademark celebration. Have you something planned yourself? Hopefully, we'll have something to celebrate this next promotion back. I hope, I hope so I'm not going to preempt that by coming up with any. I'm sure that was sporadic enough for him as well. So hopefully I get that opportunity to do something for them. I don't want to be thinking too far ahead, and definitely someone who keeps their cards close to their chest anyway.
Very good. Well, we'll look forward to what open eyes for that regard. Hopefully, we'll see you bouncing, I suppose it'd be remiss of me too. I suppose if we were talking about your liberal career, it hasn't been all hunky dory, really, there's been a bit of disappointment as well as on and off the pitch without really getting into it too much. It led with to relegation last year, out of the MLS MLS, that whole period away, there was kind of the beating some messy stuff earlier on in the season as well. Even simple stuff, like stuff that you probably in 2020 that you probably think you're away from and games getting called off, because pictures are on playable and stuff like that, that whole side of things is that kind of very frustrating to take still and oh, there's been so much work done on particular you look at here in Ireland with, you know, the 20 by 20 program and stuff like that, it feels like from somebody from the outside looking in, feels like there's a lot of good work done, but there's still a hell of a lot more to level the playing field for wanting a better cliche.
For sure, like, it hasn't all been plain sailing by any means I think two years off the field, like with different things that have happened, I've probably been the most difficult to my career. And I've actually learned a lot about myself and as a player from it. So while it's not been the easiest of times, it's actually been a massive time for growth and self development as well as a person as and as a player. And, like you said yourself, there's there's a lot of things that have needed to change in the club, structurally, and in terms of investment and the way that the the women's team were, you know, being supported. So find the that's starting to come into effect and take take place because there's a lot of people that wanted to do well at Liverpool, but the resources were just weren't there. So you're kind of swimming against the tide, a certain respect, until you get these things in place to be able to actually compete with a very good squad and good players. But without these things that it makes, you know, just makes the fight that bit harder. But luckily, there's been changes and there has been more investment from from the club and more support really to, to pull it off where it should be, obviously has to get better like that everything has to get better in terms of equality and growth. Now it's definitely going in the right direction. So we're in a different phase now. And hopefully this is the start of the phase where things are done properly.
Yeah, because look, I think ultimately in a weird, weird way. The disappointment of relegation and especially the way it happened and kind of pretty much been decided off the pitch as well. That was a kind of tough blow to take must have been very, very tough for you guys to take. But in a weird way and again, this is just from the outside looking in, but no knowledge of what's going on it feels like it was like the big wake up call and straightaway you see so many signings you see so many people signed up to new contracts and stuff without i think i think it's because there's Let's be brutally honest there's no way Liverpool should have been relegated like to go from winning the league to be dropped out but it's it's just unheard of really but let's hope that we can turn this positive into a negative into a positive energy it is that wake up call I'm sure there was some choice words said off the off off off the dressing and put it that way.
Exactly. Like said it's probably something that needs to happen is as sickening and tough as it was for us to take with us being relegated and so many games left to play it maybe was a good thing but like I said, it's something that we can change from a negative to a positive because it has everything's been completely stripped back. And it's nearly like a reset button which can be good and then it can be the next platform that we build a new from and I think that's very much what's happening now and it's you know, it's a feel a lot better with the way things are being done off the pitch. And so yeah, let's
just hope that now that we can actually build on what's been laid and the foundations that are starting to be built Yeah, cuz it certainly looks again from the outside look again that has been steps in the right direction to to correct some of the wrongs but I guess like you look it must be difficult as well because the two seasons when you compare the wind men and men's even to the women's if I can get my words out, like on one extreme you have you know, such an amazing season the the suppose the success rate of investment over the years, it started in Black Man City levels of investment, but there still has been heavy investment in the squad. And you see the success that that has given but on the same side, it felt like you were almost guys were kind of going in the opposite direction of repeat, not being able to feel gay or have a training facility and then have an games called off because of unplayable pitch, that has to be a huge, huge resentments to you is it nevermind a Liverpool player, but just as a footballer in general.
Yeah, it's not what you want. Definitely. In this day and age, you know, the basics, we looked for the basics and the basics weren't there. But like I said, the main success hasn't been done overnight, it's been a project like a massive project really, when you look at where we're Liverpool were and the type of rebuilding that's gone on there and the squad and everything that's gone into it. So these things don't happen overnight boss has to start somewhere. And if you don't have the basics, you definitely can't start. So things are in place now that weren't in place before. So here Here it is, this is feels like me, it's the beginning of this new this new project and this new phase. So we're at this important stage to get it off the ground and get us back up to who and that's that's our aim and that's our target and that's what we're here to do. So we need to get Liverpool back up to where we should be. So as a sport that you don't want to it's it is embarrassing, but you don't want to be associated with the team and then a second division league especially when the guys are gone so well and we're gonna crack that and we've got the right people in place to do it.
Yeah, I think I read someplace as well that you're in club I'm not sure it was with your manager Vicki or was it to the squad in general like shared some times of one of his relegation things wouldn't mind he said, and what's what's your gun like to be around? Would you have much kind of involved interaction or I know he bought y'all been together last summer and the US tour as well. Things like that must be very enjoyable as well, particularly from his trip back here. So his profession to the Liverpool Caden side you then as well, so pretty cool.
Yeah, it was it was really good to go on preseason tour over in the States. And we we got a great reception there as well, from all the you know, the stateside fans as well, they had a massive interest in the women's team. So that was really cool. And then yeah, just traveling around but I think just touching on your in class, like he, he had a zoom, zoom meeting with all of us over lockdown. And just to kind of go up, go through different things and share his experiences and his insights and how he was relegated and different things. But he just came across as he always does, in every way just a normal, helpful and friendly person that was just offering any advice or help that we could tap into and especially for Vicki our manager to bounce off him. So sorry, I'll just have to fix it. So yeah, so basically, he just he just comes across as a really good guy and someone who's there for for anyone if they need especially like said Vicky or manager.
Yeah, I was trying to describe it like not that I have much interaction but just from various press conferences over the years and stuff like that. The best way you can describe him as he comes into a room and Yes, he is pretty physically tired, but it's his aura. It's he just fills the room everyone kind of kind of sharks back and he's a guard towards Liverpool supporters as well and to have the Boom calls like that and stuff like that must be a little bit of kind of give you that motivation. spirits are probably at an all time low really between the relegation and then lockdown not being able to train and stuff like that must kind of fuel the appetite for it for the new season, which will begin shortly.
Yes, like I said, it's very it's very cool to have those resources and and then people like Juergen Klopp, willing to, you know, share their experiences and be involved with us and, and be helpful like I said, when we're spirits were low and to offer words of encouragement, words of wisdom, and Steven Gerrard was on another zoom call as well talking about his experiences as well so and never feel it's a great club and people care about the club as a whole. those resources are there to tap into. And that's, that's massively empowering as players and as a management team to know that we have we have support, and then we have resources like that to tap into which, you know, even from the non football perspective is extremely cool. Like to be able to ask these kind of things to such people of high stature have done so well in the game. Absolutely.
I got to ask, how was playing at Anfield? What was that? What was that? Like?
That was amazing. That was another kind of surreal experience. Walking out there with you know, you'll never walk alone.
Touch the badge or the sign Yeah,
touch definitely touched the sign, give the give the sign to talk. And basically through a buffet, you will think about everything to the occasion and overwhelming. But a lie. I enjoyed that pitch was Pete was amazingly great crowd there. Derby game. We played well as well. We are one of those like the story of our year. It was during the season. Yeah, story the season ended up playing them after purple couldn't couldn't win the game. And so yeah, it was it was a great experience by the results. And yeah, I think hopefully we'll be able to get another one out again in the years to come. Definitely this year. I think it's in the pipeline already to sell. I'll be looking forward to that.
Yeah, no, I was about to say and then I know, obviously, logistically, and the men's calendar is pretty intense. And who knows what way the fixture calendar is gonna go this next year, it's like heritable leaves of the community like the men's team of like, I know you guys are back a couple of weeks now as well. And men's team playing the Community Shield Saturday week, which is just I can't get my head around it really it's just another last couple of months of kind of morphed into one but obviously I can assure that the wishes that you would like to play a bit more at Anfield if that's possible because you saw the impact here like even made simple things like the news over here and obviously with your story now as well and being competent as well, that's probably something that you it would be great if it was possible for that to happen a lot more during the season.
Yeah, definitely. I think all the girls see the boys that you get from playing at a place like iconic as Anfield as well, even if it's not, you don't support Liverpool, of course you want to play these stadiums. And then just toss it all off when you're a Liverpool supporter, you know, playing at Anfield so hopefully as you know, I think it is in the pipeline to play this year a couple of games there so that'd be great. Just like I said, an amazing experience and then again you're getting offered again just that little bit more so we will take it if we can get it any advantage if we have
perfectly well hopefully lockdown will be celebrated and we'll be able to get over first and make it you see streams of like every again this is prior to the crazy scenario or at the moment every kind of every weekend or every match day you go into the airport like I'd go back and forth would work and stuff quite a lot but but every single whether it's men or what form of transport you take the airport's a trunk full of Irish people going back and forth that week it would be great if there was something done you know even if it's you know if the games are in the same McCain or something like that to really more fun because that the Irish Liverpool audience as you know is huge. It would just be great if you could if there's a way of just tying it together that we could encourage more people to come over to your games as well and get that extra couple of percent of the crowd and a rockin Anfield or even if it is the tremor stadium if there's a big crowd there as well because that has to make a big difference to your performances as well.
Yeah, it does. Like I said, hopefully something like that could happen. I don't know what the logistics of everything are how they make that work. But obviously we've seen it done in the GA so you think surely can be done. It can be done for for for football and over here as well with us. But yeah, like when you get that extra couple of 1000 just cheering me on and getting behind your team at Anfield you could really feel the presence and you know sometimes in games where you don't get the same support as what you do in the men's games, you don't get that same roar but for the Anfield game, you could really feel the difference with the crowd and when you're getting on top and I was looking at massive thing for the girls as well they could drive us on. So yeah, hope hopefully that could happen. Who knows?
You never walk alone before the game has almost been pretty emotional I'd say nearly what we need to hold back the tears at times.
I don't know about the tears. I don't think I was I was trying my best not to think about everything too much because I knew I'd get myself in an awful state before and I knew I had a job to do as well. And so I was very much kind of tuned in with zoned areas at the same time to all those little things were there now it's Yeah, I do I took it in as well but not to the extent that you could if you could just relax and it was it was a great experience being a fan and walking out to that
true and then I suppose in terms of being a fan as well are you again this is all conversation is like prior to lockdown and stuff like that but towards the court and like summer last season Are you able to get if your calendars are kind of aligned D Are you able to get to games or enjoy the men's games are resolved almost a different worldview at times?
No, it's actually worked out well. This season actually ended up getting to go a few games you know, post law, pre lockdown. And so whenever our games aren't clashing, I'll definitely go to the men's game. And the atmosphere is there's always unbelievers or usually get tickets down and I'm feeling roto kind of nice beside the away supporters as well. Exactly. See me with the hood off. Really getting choked out by the Stuart arm work very well behaved. What a nice good, good section to be in So Mr. Nadella hopefully, you know, I'm not sure when supporters will be allowed back in October maybe they're saying so no, I missed that missing that. So hopefully that will be able to come back into
one of the perks of Liverpool living and working in Liverpool if that's the right word of being there having that in your doorstep?
Most definitely. As for me, it was a massive perk, top top perk.
And of course I saw some footage you shared some photos and on social media there maybe a month or so back were chosen insanely I think it was messenger time is insanely insanely jealous of you were able to go in and see the trophy that the Premier League Trophy as well as that, stuff like that. As well as every form of emotion really that became found inside you then is the motivation of wanting to do that yourself with the women's team as well. Again, one of the one of the lucky ones.
Yeah, exactly. Like you said, being at the club. Being a player and surrounding yourself with the guys have done just shows the level that they're out of something that in the club that we need to aspire to in the women's team. And what they're just they're phenomenal Mns and it's great for them it's great to see their success, you know, transferred into silver and especially their Premier League, which you know, is a massive burden on all Liverpool fans and obviously the club in general and so it was great to great to get up close and get some pictures of that trophy.
Sure you might have reminded some of your schoolmates and stuff like that as much of the abuse over the years was there a few few few reminders?
Isaac, john, they're they're kind of tired to find them these days. I don't
think this internet for some nice
FA there no one seems to be coming out. So I'll wait till someone sticks up their head and I'll put them back in their face.
Very good. Very good. And of course we have seen an Irish Liverpool Captain We're number five before in Ronnie Whelan it'd be it'd be good enough to you haven't you're not going to tell us your your celebration yet but it will be good to see you another iconic couple of photos like that as well something to inspire you for next season.
Definitely hopefully I'm not too prolific when it comes to goal scoring but that's something they could rectify for this season. So there's a challenge
full of challenges that then and like I think we touched on as well I know from obviously have no bearing in the decision and stuff like that but it would appear like if the club don't have your kind of link having an Irish Captain here is huge and again I'm speaking for myself as well as as a fan and someone from Galway as well it's absolutely amazing to see someone not only an Irish cup Liverpool Captain but a goal with Liverpool Captain as well it would be great if if the club kind of you know made use of that in terms of you know, marketing material and stuff like that. Because if you would be a great role model for girls like I'm sure when you were growing up there wasn't that many I suppose idols are you know, role models in the in the women's game, this would be a perfect opportunity to resolve that.
I think you're spot on. Like you said, the lack of female representation when I was growing up was was a big thing and my idols are all male players and you can still have idols as male players now but it's great to have female role models and I think it just makes a difference to a lot of young girls when they can see you can see that path. You can see that person and volleyball I want to be, I want to play for Liverpool one day. And there you go, like you can see it and it's real. And so yeah, hopefully, like I said, hopefully make use of what it means to Irish Liverpool fans and all Irish young girls who have a dream of playing for Liverpool to make it that bit more realistic and visible. Absolutely, absolutely hope that they listen to us, hopefully, your Irish day,
your Irish days as well, obviously, that's a special time for you pulling on your Irish shark as well. I can't help but think back straightaway. When I think of Irish reason, the recent Irish women's sports football, and it's for all the wrong reasons. I keep thinking back to that press conference in Liberty Hall. It feels like things have improved slightly. We've seen bigger attendances at your games recently. And it's great to see the tele Stadium, you know, pretty much at full capacity, almost four games with that. But again, it must have been a horrible, horrible situation of being to resort to being put in a situation like that, again, we're 2020 now and it was a couple years ago since that happened. But that whole thing we seem to come back to the same topics over and over again.
Yeah, I mean, like it is, and I know a lot of, you know, people bleat on about, you know, equality and wires. Why are women complaining about this, that the other book goes back to basics, and then we've put we put up with so much for for so long, where we just, we're just tired of this, think of it like simple things like very well documented, you know, that were happening in the eye or steam that we weren't, you know, been treated properly. And again, just just respect, it just comes to a basic respect, really, and treating people with dignity. And like, those are basic things that we're missing. And so like, thankfully, a lot of those, you know, things have been sorted and has transpired that we're getting more investment, again, things are being done properly. And crowds are now common as well, like it's been talent, last couple of games, in big numbers there as well, cheering us on. And again, making a big difference vocally, to the girls on the pitch as well getting us off for the game. And yeah, it's just better now. Because unfortunately, we have to make that step and do those drastic measures to get things done. But, you know, we're not the only section of the FBI that was not treated properly or fairly, like there's plenty other sections there that need a lot more work and investment. Boy, I'm glad to say that our our side of things has been taken care of a lot better now.
How do you deal with all that frustration that was like, it drives me mad even thinking about it, but to be involved in it. And to be was the one suffering the most from you must have very thick skin to be able to kind of park that emotion and go and play and have that I'd probably be going around like a lunatic like a Rick just annoyed all the time. If I was dealing with that, and then particularly when you look across pretty much the only difference is sex, really. And you look across and you see the big differences. That has to be I suppose it's a constant battle, I guess.
That is it is difficult than I suppose it after a while it you know, you get so ingrained until what's actually acceptable? And what's what how you're treated that you think, Well, you know, am I asking for too much here? And it's only until you step back from that and you analyze things and you think, why are we Why are we going ahead with this, you know, it shouldn't be like this, but you just you become institutionalized to us after a while. And then when someone says you're kicking up a force, you kind of, you know, it can knock your confidence back as a female sports person to be listening to you know, different angles and you know, they're rubbish and this that the other get a lot of negativity that way. So it can take, you know, it can take a bit of self esteem to knock you back. But as I said before, you know, if you don't fight for these things, you don't stand up. And you're not going to progress our sport and our sports, female football isn't on par with the men's we know that. But we have a lot less time in terms of investment, terms of structure in terms of young girls being trained in correct ways that the guys have hypotheses do, there still be physical differences. But to respect people in the same way to give them the same opportunity to be the best they can be that all female sports people are asking for. And in football, we've been lagging behind big time, but like I said, things are starting to slowly turn and slowly improve. And when you see these things happening, you know, it makes a big difference to me personally, and to see that younger people are getting a lot better treatment now in terms of young girls. So there's changes being made. And that's only that's all you can ask for changes to be made and keep keep the trend going in the right direction.
Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think if they're only small things in the greater scheme of things, but you look at the investment in the in the wl s even the last couple of days like the ment of the two or three us World Cup Winners joining to join in city there as well. The profile seems to be increasing all the time. I think the US have got a right In terms in for a lot of things, right exposure, you touched on it there as well, the reaction you got on the preseason tour. And it's probably an indication of that. But the fact that so many of those players in our coming towards England come over to the W MLS, that all that sort of stuff if it's marketed right, and it's, it's put in the right places that that will surely help. I suppose the greater feis, it's more, it's more profile, it's more exposure. If it's done in the right way, obviously.
Definitely, it's great to see like us, World Cup Winners coming over just as straight away more profile, you want to see the best players playing in the league. So that's, I think it said if it's done right for the market installed correctly, which will generate a lot of interest and it already is, I can see you on the line. Now there's a lot of talk already about, you know, the season and the the clashes that are going to happen between mostly the top three in the Ws L. So it's a good time. And it's great to see like, like things like that happening and just push the profile of the game in, in England to another level,
you must be itching to get back up promoted. So you can put put a couple of those World Cup winners in their place. For sure,
for sure. It's a you know, you see, on one hand, you're like, are you like? Exactly follow a dose of reality when you're like, we're not in the league anymore. We have to get back off to that league. So no, and hopefully, they'll still be there next year. So we can
give them goalie? Well,
exactly. Exactly. I've never had a friendly handshake was a
huh, yeah, that's a very loose definition. That's not there's no virus there.
You're I suppose if you look forward, you're obviously in the middle of preseason at the moment that's keeping you guys busy over the long miles from pulling.
Yeah, preseason is going really well this year, it's a lot of busy a lot longer because of them locked down for they've given us their extra couple of weeks to get everyone you know, back to full fitness and not to risk any injuries. And that'll have plenty of runnin plenty of stats and GPS monitoring going on. So it has to be done. And get us ready. But northcutt has gone to school with a
couple of friendlies under the belt as well.
Yeah, a couple of friendlies. God, good friend knees as well. And, you know, been doing wealth building implementing different things that we want to do throughout the season. So I'm just I'm happy or happy to wait for you to go and so
and of course, you've got the fixture calendar as well that has to make it makes it real again.
Yeah, exactly. Once you see that first fixture, and it's you know, it's not too far away now to to innovate weeks, I think fifth September. So I just, you just straight away got that target in mind, and you're just gone and forth. So now things to things you have to do and to implement but I'm definitely happy with where we're at. And we'll definitely be ready with for the first what's the first game comes around?
Well, let's hope it's going to be another more of a successful season this year, we can get some trophy where we'll have to keep an eye of what your celebration will be. I try and get a sneak preview in advance You know, it can't be the shuffle now as well. So it has to be at the thinking cap on unless you know that because even just for for Irish fans as well like it most of the games are streamed as well I believe so. It'd be great to a you've been so high profile and I was well be great just to create a bit of interest in it. Obviously Liverpool is absolutely bananas at the moment the men's team it's never been more popular than ever really. So it would be great to not jump on the bandwagon but make use that rightful exposure and hopefully with when things come down and we can get back to going to games as well. We can get some Irish heads in over watching you guys and cheering you guys on as well queasy and abused to you though.
For sure for sure. Like you said that'd be great, massive virus live for the connection and we have lots of play now. So hopefully everyone gets behind the connection and supports us the season. We'll need it or no hopefully successful season to go with
let's hope let's open workshop next again, you're we're celebrating and we're taking the Mick out of you how your celebration was we can have a rating on screen or something like that. That'd be good would look nice. Thank you so much for your time. I know you're busy. The legs are probably bashed as well after after getting renders ran off as well. So when we should have very success for the rest of season, let's hope it's a successful one and the club was right, rightfully back in its spot and we can really push on gather this big momentum, and we're certainly going to be keeping an eye out for you. Perfect.
Thank you Jonathan.