What made you move to Australia? My football career was finishing in the UK and we wanted a change for our family. I want to bring my kids up in an environment that is more outdoors. Australia was the obvious choice.
Have you done much travelling in Oz? Not much. We have just started up a company in Sydney called Love Football (www.lovefootball.com.au) and it seems to be taking up all our time. I have been able to do some football coaching in Melbourne and on the Sunshine Coast.
Any scary incidents with the locals (snakes, spiders, etc)? We had a white-tailed spider in our house last year. But compared to the UK, nothing could be scarier than an Essex girl!
Done a bungy jump or skydive? I’ve not. But the wife has done two skydives. I see no reason to jump out of a perfectly good flying aeroplane. You played for Norwich, Leicester, Derby, Man City, Cardiff and Southend, which gave you the fondest memories? I have great memories of all the clubs I played for, although Southend United is the club closest to my heart as it’s my home town. I grew up as a Chelsea supporter (when they were crap), and it stayed that way until I played against them for Leicester City. FA Cup quarter-final, 1997, the game went to extra time and Erland Johnson took a dive and got them a penalty. From that moment on they just became another club to me.
Obviously the quality of football in the A-League is lower than the Premier League, but how does the game compare down here overall? Football is run differently here, and it will take some time to reach UK levels. The introduction of the FFA as the game’s governing body has been good. They have introduced good coaching programmes and are giving coaches the opportunity to follow a pathway they have never had access to before. Facilities here are still a long way off… there is a shortage of good training pitches. In fact a shortage of pitches!
The England team have finally hit some form. Do you think they might win the next World Cup? I would love to think so. They have started their campaign really well, all set-up by that fantastic win in Croatia. Being here in Australia, I can guarantee there are quite a few people who would love to see England miss out again. However I would be delighted to see the Socceroos qualify for the finals, as I think it would be fantastic for the country to once again get right behind their football team at a World Cup finals.
Do you find that Aussies are interested in English football? Absolutely. The EPL is really popular, and with the ever growing number of Aussie players breaking into the English leagues, young players are allowed to dream they may one day follow in their idols’ footsteps.
Name your Premier League Dream Team? Petr Cech, Patrice Evra, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Jose Bosingwa, Robinho, Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernando Torres, Wayne Rooney. Manager: Martin O’Neil.
You’re a pundit on Fox Sports now. How similar is that to playing? It’s easy talking about something you love! I really enjoy my work with Fox Sports. But sometimes I have problems understanding some of the stuff that comes out of Andy Harper’s mouth! I must be honest, I really miss the nervous feeling before a game. I’m sure I’ll get those feelings back when my coaching career kicks off.
Do you ever argue with fellow pundits? There are always difference of opinions – that’s what makes football so great. I’m always disagreeing with Robbie Slater and sometimes I wonder if he’s watching a different game to me. As I said, the game is about different opinions, and it’s just a shame that Robbie’s are usually wrong.
See Spencer analyse Premier League games on Fox Sports. info at www.foxsports.com.au