Paul Weller Interview

 

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Paul Anthony Weller was born on the 6th March 1975 in Brighton, after joining the Clarets as a trainee, Paul signed as a full time professional contract in November 1993.

After making his way through the youth and reserve teams he made his first team debut in the League Cup in October 1995. Paul played mainly as a right-winger and enjoyed ten years at Turf Moor before moving to Rochdale.

Weller then left Rochdale in 2004 before dropping into the non-league to play a couple of game for Leek Town and Stalybridge Celtic before retiring through injury.

After retiring from football, Paul has been involved at Turf Moor as a member of the community team and has also done some media work with local radio.

Paul is currently a director of W18 a vehicle sourcing company for professionals, which is based in Barrowford.

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Interview

Who was your biggest influence in football?

Harry Wilson played a big part in helping me achieve my aim of becoming a professional footballer.  Harry signed me on my apprenticeship for Burnley and helped me a lot over that two/three year period. He knew how to get the best out of me and how to treat me.

What is your best football highlight?

Winning the player of the year awards in our first season in the Championship. I had a bad couple of years before hand with illness, so to come back into the team and win those awards was very pleasing.

What is your football lowlight?

Nearly getting relegated under Chris Waddle was a low point. It was a long hard season, working for people who were learning their trade, was difficult, especially for the senior players.  It wasn’t nice from start to finish and to make matters worse at Christmas that year, my tummy troubles started as well.

League Debut?

Carlisle was my league debut, great game and we won. Long time ago now, but loved the early years in front of the Longside and Bee Hole End at Turf Moor.

Best Goal You Scored?

My favourite goal was the volley against Oldham. I flicked the ball from behind me and volleyed it past Bruce Grobbelaar.  It was a very important game, which we ended up drawing, but I’ll always remember the goal, off the underside of the crossbar and against a great goalkeeper.

Toughest Opponent?

I always remember my debut against Leicester in the cup and having a hard time against Simon Grayson. He knew I could out run him, so he just kicked me all over the place. It was a big welcome to big boy football.

Who is the best manager you have played for and why?

Stan Ternent was the best manager, I had a great relationship with Adrian Heath, but I learnt so much from Stan.  It was a roller coaster playing under him, but he knew how to get the best out of me and when to kick me up the arse. He was a winner and taught me a different side to the game.

Who was the best player you played with and why?

I got the chance to play with some heroes and legends of the game. Gazza for me was the best British player of my era and I also got to play with one of my heroes in Chris Waddle.

But they were all coming to the end of their careers, so I’ll go with Glen Little. Give him the ball and he gets people off their seats, a real match winner.

Whilst at Burnley you missed over a season with a serious illness, how did you battle back from your illness and what was it like to finally get back onto the pitch for your first game back?

It was a tough time, being so young and missing so much football was hard to take. It was a really big test of my character, but I remained positive throughout and hoped that the surgery would go well and that I would be able to play on Turf Moor again.

It was tough when I did get the ok to play again, I thought I was ready to go, but my body was miles away from being ready for first team football. I had to be patient and do a lot of work to get physically ready.

How has the game changed from when you started your career?

The players are like pampered superstars nowadays and there are to many rules and regulations that have been introduced which is wrong.

The apprentices don’t do anything now, no painting the stands or sweeping them after a game, which gave us a good grounding and taught us so much.

The game has changed in so many ways, the pitches are much better and sport science is a huge part of the game now.

When you finished your career did you consider football management, coaching and media work, as full time work and if so which do you prefer doing?

Coaching was always in the back of my mind, but never media work. I really enjoy the media work I do, getting to see a lot of the North West clubs and keeping involved in the game.  As for coaching, that’s me done, to many rules & regs now and other people interfering. It shouldn’t be so complicated.

If you could change one rule in football, what would it be and why?

I’d take it back 10 years, back then you could make a proper challenge. I’m not sure who or what got changed but it’s like a no contact game now.

Over the years Burnley have had a number of player that have signed and then gone on to live in the area after they have stopped playing despite coming from other countries and of area’s of the UK, what makes Burnley so special to the players to make them want to stay in the area?

For me I grew up here, I came here when I was 16, but this is where I learned how to live. I left my family and this is where I learned all about life, how to cook, how to drive and where the best pubs are. I made a lot of friends here, in my 12-year career, and people that I’ve grown close to. Plus I met the wife, so that was it, she loves it up here.

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