Tony Grant Interview

Anthony Grant was born in Liverpool on the 14th November 1975, signed as a trainee for Everton he made his debut for ‘The Toffees’ in a 1–0 defeat at Manchester City in 1993. He scored his first goal for Everton at Middlesbrough in March 1996.

In January 1996, Grant signed for Swindon Town on loan, where he played three games for ‘The Robins’, scoring one goal. Three years later he was loaned out again, this time to Tranmere Rovers where he played eight games for them and scored one goal.

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On Christmas Eve 1999, Tony Grant signed form Manchester City for a fee of £450,000, Grant made his City debut in the 2–0 win over West Bromwich and 12 months later he was then loaned out to West Bromwich Albion in December 2000 where he played five games for ‘The Baggies’.

In October 2001, Grant moved to Burnley signing for a fee of £250,000, were he was regarded as an excellent signing by Stan Ternent. Grant went on to play 141 games for Burnley scoring three goals.

During his time at Burnley he was most frequently played in the defensive-midfield role, which enabled him to display his range of passing and game-reading ability. Grant became an important part of Stan Ternent’s team, but was released on a free-transfer at the end of the 2005 season.

He then moved to Bristol City on a free transfer but only played one game against Barnet in a 4–2 league cup defeat. In 2006, after injury problems he signed for Dario Gradi’s Crewe Alexandra and made ten appearances before the end of the 2005–06 season.

In January 2007, Grant joined Accrington Stanley as player coach, but only spent one season with the club before completing a move to Chester City. After hanging up his boots he spent time as first team coach at Ewood Park, before moving back to Goodison Park to join the coaching team at Everton Football Club.

Interview

Biggest Influence on your career?

Biggest influence like many others was my dad, responsible for getting me to games and training from an early age, always they’re with advice and he was also passionate about the game. Also my first proper coach at Everton and that was Jimmy Gabriel a big fan of mine and helped me with information and encouragement.

Football Highlight?

My football highlight was playing for Everton my boyhood team, playing in the Premier league and Europe with them.

Football Lowlight?

My football lowlight was actually leaving Everton with out really showing my full ability.

League Debut?

My league debut was as a sub away to Newcastle on a midweek night, a full house, we were down to 9 men, I went on to try and nick an equaliser which didn’t happen, we lost 2-1.

Best goal you have scored?

My best goal was a volley I scored against Middlesborough away, in the days of Emerson, we won 1-2 and I hit a sweet volley in front of the Everton fans.

Toughest Opponent & why?

I came up against lots of good teams and opponents, Roy Keane you could not get near him because he always knew what he was doing before the ball came and he always played 1 & 2 touch, John Barnes very similar with the ball, I don’t think these guys ever gave the ball away.

Best player you played with & why?

I played with George Weah at Manchester City a former Ballon d’or and world player of the year. Paul Gascoigne my idol and the best English born footballer in my lifetime. Andrei Kanchelskis unbelievable modern midfielder who could run fast, score goals with head and either foot, if you make me choose its Gazza.

Best manager you played for & why?

Best manager was Howard Kendall, he was the best ever Manager Everton had a true Everton great and I was a fan watching his teams win trophy’s, he had great man management style and simplified the game.

Your Strengths (As a Player)?

I was a technical player who understood the game; I had the ability to control a game with my passing range and decisions.

Your Weakness (As a Player)?

I was not a strong player, physicality was my let down, and this was why I struggled with injuries in my early days.

Best ground you have played at?

I loved playing at White hart lane, old Trafford, Anfield and the old Wembley stadium.

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

I would change the sacking of managers and only allow it to happen in the transfer window, you give a guy a job you have interviewed him, you must be impressed in his plan, in how he is going to take your club forward, in how you are spending the budget, you must of agreed on each stage, so give them the minimum of 6months to put the wrongs right, and that your decision was correct in the beginning, not to sack him after two months of poor results, this is when you need to all pull together not to sack, give the initial plan time , I mean you have all agreed it was the best solution at the beginning.

You have spent time at Accrington / Blackburn Rovers & you are currently coaching at Everton could you tell us about your role coaching and how it differs from your playing days

I see the role as understanding each individual player, and working out how to improve that player, to be interested in their work on and off the pitch and create a warm environment around them but infused with reality. As a player I wish I had a coach who spent time and cared for me.  As a player we just came in and done generic training, there wasn’t that understanding of unit or individual work, there was no Analysis work or sport science work really, you would find the training ground empty by 1 o clock.

Have you ever considered going into football management?

I have and believe I have a lot to offer a club who has ambition of creating something sustainable; I have played at the highest level and also levels below. I have coached a Cat 1 youth team and Championship first team level and also Premier league recruitment, so I know a lot of players in this country and Europe.  I am a successful coach in all my roles, but I do understand why owners like to go with managers who have failed more than succeeded, as they believe they have the experience, and it is their club, they believe its the right choice – I disagree……

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