Q & A
Football's biggest stars in the hot seat
England Women's and Team GB coach Hope Powell opens up to FFT in New Year 2010.
"I'm not sure my mum appreciated that girls played football too. Playing football was not her idea of what a girly Jamaican girl should be doing – she did not think it really fitted in with West Indian culture. The first time I went to football training at Millwall, when I was 11, I didn'tget back until really late and she said I couldn't go again. But I snuck out anyway! She says that she never remembers that, though, and insists that she was always supportive.
I was the Croydon champion at javelin and shot-put. And my netball team were national schools' champions, which is funny because it's a game I can't bear. If I wasn't involved in football I would have been involved in sport in some way.
My brother isn't the drummer with Dirty Pretty Things. Rubbish – total rubbish. It makes me want to swear! I don't know who puts such garbage up on Wikipedia. Normally I'm a pretty relaxed person, but it annoys me so much when people ask me whether it's true or not.
The England women's team has one strange superstition. Phil Worrell, our video analyst, comes down pitch-side before each game and hugs me. He didn't do it once and we lost the game. Now I always look for him before the start of a match. I also have a ritual during tournaments: I always wear the same flip-flops to each game.
There's no difference between managing men and women – it's just about managing people. If someone made me an offer I couldn't refuse, then I would have a discussion about managing a men's team. I'm not sure why there hasn't yet been a woman in charge of a men's team in the English league – I'm sure it will happen one day.
The first woman to manage a men's team will face a backlash. It would be difficult for someone to do. It would be very challenging – and the backlash from it could be positive; it could be negative. Gender shouldn't make any difference, though, and we should try not to make it a male/female issue, although it always will be. But if they could do it successfully, they'll end up turning the game on its head.
The FA is right to make coaching badges mandatory. In football today lots of managers walk into jobs and then, when they're sacked, there are question marks over their capabilities as coaches. It is, after all, the responsibility for the education of our future players that we're talking about. The more coaches that can be encouraged at the top end to take those qualifications, the more likely it is to encourage the coaches coming through to do the same – and that can only help the future of the game in England.
I don't see myself as more Arsene or Fergie. No, I'm more Hope Powell. As a manager I'm most proud of getting England to a senior final [the 2009 European Championship Final]. And in this role I have overseen the complete overhaul of the women's game, which has been massive. The main thing I still want to achieve is turning that silver into gold.
I have great respect for Kelly Holmes and Paula Radcliffe. You wouldn't catch me running 26 miles, though. Why would anyone want to to do that?
Fabio Capello and I get on well. He's great because he just talks football, and we'll ask each other questions about formations we prefer, and the pros and cons of a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1. I'm in good touch with Stuart Pearce – he's always looking out for us. He phoned me up to wish me luck before the European Championship final in September.
I lost my temper recently. It was at half-time in the game against Turkey in November. It was a World Cup qualifier, goalless and we weren't playing as though we had won the silver medal in the European Championship a couple of months before. The half-time talk worked, though – we won 3-0.
Have I ever wanted to quit? Probably every day! No, but I'm not sure that people appreciate the amount of time you put in and the time you spend away from home – I've been on the road for 11 years now. Some days are tough, but having had some great experiences in football – the European Championship, for example – it really feels like the best job in the world.
Interview: Oliver Pickup. From the New Year 2010 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!
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