Tuesday

Q&A: Steve McManaman and Dietmar Hamann

By Alex Moshakis  |  26 May 2015

This is the first in a week of articles dedicated to Liverpool FC between 1985 and 2005, to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Heysel stadium disaster and the tenth anniversary of Liverpool’s last Champions League victory in Istanbul. For more Liverpool-related reading, head to our Features page all this week.

STEVE McMANAMAN (LIVERPOOL FC, 1990—1999), ON…

The first time he pulled on a Liverpool shirt…

“It was a very scary, incredibly nerve-wracking moment, but personally also a very proud moment. My debut came from the substitutes’ bench, as an 18-year-old. We were winning comfortably, 2-0 up, and Kenny Dalglish gave me a 15, 20 minute cameo – an introduction to the side so I could get a feel for things. I was thrilled to bits, a local lad from Liverpool experiencing this great moment.”

The innovations of Graeme Souness…

“Graeme Souness brought a number of new methods to Liverpool: a training regime, a strict diet. These things are second nature to clubs now, but he was the first one to do it. He came to Liverpool surprised we weren’t doing it already, and he showed great initiative in introducing them. He was an innovator, really, and he was paramount in bringing a lot of young players – myself, Robbie Fowler, Jamie Redknapp – into the first team.”

The unlucky Roy Evans…

“I thought Roy Evans was a brilliant manager, just at times a little unlucky. If he was a manager in this day and age he’d be considered highly successful – he’d be in the Champions League week in, week out, but back then you only got in if you were champions. He was only a couple of players away from winning the title, and I’ve only got the fondest words to say about him.”



DIETMAR HAMANN (LIVERPOOL FC, 1999—2006), ON…

German perceptions of Liverpool FC…

“In Germany, Liverpool, with the history it has, is seen as one of the biggest clubs in England. Anfield is one of, if not the, most prestigious stadiums in the world, and to make it my home ground was a dream come true. As soon as I was made aware the club was interested in signing me, joining wasn’t a difficult decision to make.”

The caring Gérard Houllier…

“Gérard was a very strict and disciplined man, but he was caring as well. He’d always ask how your family was. If there was a problem – if you needed a day off because there was something wrong with one of your children or your wife or girlfriend – he would always listen. He had a very good and close relationship with most of the players.”

Rafa Benítez’s high expectations…

“Rafa was different to Gérard in that he wasn’t much of a man manager, but he too had very high standards. He’s got high expectations of his players, and if you fulfill them and adapt to his structures then you’ve got a chance. Above all, he was fair. He’d tell you how he felt and what he thought. Both managers had the utmost respect of the players.”

Taking a penalty in a Champions League final…

“You’ve got to stay calm. You’ve got to control the emotions. Obviously there’s a lot of pressure on yourself, on the team, on everybody. But at the end of the day you’ve got to pick your spot and commit. If you’re worried about missing then you’ve lost the first battle. You’ve got to commit to what you want to do, pick your spot and then just hope for the best.”

Alex Moshakis is a features writer, based in London, who has contributed to The Guardian, Esquire, T: The New York Times Style Magazine and W, among others.
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