The Big Interview

Last updated : 21 November 2004 By The Rambler

DerbyMad: Of all the legends turning out at this book launch you are one of the biggest, and with Chesterfield doing well one of the busiest.

Roy McFarland: We’re doing okay. We’re happy with it.

DM: Your form this term is a bit of a two fingers up to the pundits who had you as favourites to go down as bottom club.

RM: I think they were a bit bewildered by last year because undoubtedly last year we were firm favourites to go down. We survived that with just 2 minutes to go, hence they think we would be firm favourites to go down this year. We’ve proved them wrong. We’ve changed the squad round and improved it a little bit in terms of personnel. We’ve lowered the age of the team and there are good legs in the team. We get around the pitch and can go from one end to the other. So it has been a steady progress, but at least we have made that progress. And hopefully we can continue throughout the rest of the season.

DM: Let’s talk about the book. I suspect that there is a wealth of memories in there for you.

RM: Yes I think so. For me it was a frustrating season because I was coming back from an Achilles injury. I didn’t play a hell of a lot of games. I think I played the last 4 games of the season and enjoyed it and got a touch and a taste of it. Of course the evening when they had the awards night, Ipswich had to win their game that night and only drew, and we became champions. That was a hell of a night. It was a really exciting time even if I hadn’t played a large part in it. It was a great year. It was a season of frustration though as I watched a lot of it from the stands and the Directors Box. I’m certain the supporters must have enjoyed it because I did, watching it from the stands.

DM: It must have seemed real Roy of the Rovers stuff if you’ll pardon the pun. Coming as you did from out of nowhere to a constant run of success.

RM: I think Brian Clough had a lot to do with that. You know when I signed in 67 he told me then that within 12months I would be playing for England, and I thought where was this guy coming from. What were they talking about? They were out by a month. It took me 13 months to play for England under-23s. And it was just a steady progress for me and the football team. We knew the guys who came in early, that there were going to be changes and there were. The major changes were obviously in personnel. You always thought each year that you were going to get a better player that was going to join you. Of course they broke the record several times in terms of signing players. Colin Todd they broke the British record for and David Nish. So they were prepared then to go out and buy and they to entice to the football club better players.

DM: I suppose the sad thing is, especially underlined by the death of Brian Clough a few weeks back, that never will this sort of thing happen to Derby or any other club of similar size again.

RM: I think the dream is still the dream, but the carrot at the end of the day will not be the championship. The carrot will be survival. And certainly in the English leagues the carrot will be to survive in the Premiership. The likes of Charlton at the moment, and Wimbledon a little bit when they came through and won the F A Cup did it. But the chances of it happening again and winning the championship – well it will never be done again. There’s no doubt about that. So success has to be measured in terms of surviving in the Premiership for the likes of, for arguments sakes Charlton Athletic. What Brian Clough did at 2 football clubs was immense and amazing. Certainly his achievements will never be passed ever again.

DM: We won’t be doing this interview with Chesterfield as a Premiership team in 2 years time then?

RM: Well as I say we all have our dreams, and our supporters have their dream. At the moment it’s survival in League One, and hopefully we can accomplish that. Hopefully for us it will be nice to think in terms of stretching out a little bit more and try to reach the playoffs. If we reach the playoffs the major thing is the financial rewards that a club like Chesterfield can get. At the moment we fear nobody, and there is nobody that has played us of the park. The best team that we have played so far has been Luton and they are top of the league and yet we gave them a good game. So I think within the dressing room we have a little bit of belief in ourselves and we’ll stick there. We’ll have a go at it and see where we end up at the end of the season.