Born: 20 June 1956 in Huyton (England)
Playing career: 1974-1982: Bolton Wanderers. 1982-1989: Everton. 1989-1990: Queens Park Rangers. 1990-1993: Manchester City. 1993-1994: Southampton. 1994: Notts County. 1994-1995: Bury.
Honours as a player: Second Division title winner 1978. FA Cup winner 1984. English league championship winner 1985 and 1987. European Cup Winners’ Cup winner 1985. English league cup runner-up 1984. FA Cup runner-up 1985 and 1986. 13 caps for England including three appearances at the 1986 FIFA World Cup™ finals. Managerial career: 1990-1993: Manchester City. 1995: England U-21. 1995-2002: Sunderland. 2003: Leeds United- 2004-2005: Coventry City. Since September 2008: Thailand national team.
Honours as a manager: Football League Championship winner 1996 and 1999. League Managers Association Manager of the Year 1999.
“There’s so much ability here”
Thailand have already failed to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. The new target is now to reach the FIFA World Cup™ for the very first time in Brazil in 2014 – with the help of the new national coach, former England international Peter Reid.
FM: Why did you become Thailand’s national team coach?
Peter Reid: I’d always wanted to have a crack at international football and this is a challenge that I find really exciting. It’s no secret that I was in the running for jobs in the English Premier League but I ended up empty-handed because there is a habit these days of jobs going to people without the appropriate UEPA Pro Licence and that’s something I find to be a complete disgrace. So I thought I should look to pastures new.
Does your track record bode well for the new challenge?
Reid: I’ve had a habit of upsetting the odds and overcoming challenges as a player and as a manager and so I would like to think this job suits me down
to the ground. As a player I overcame serious injuries to win the English title with Everton and represent my country in the World Cup. As a manager I guided Sunderland and Manchester City into the upper reaches of the English game, which took lots of people by surprise. Hopefully I can repeat the trick on the international stage.
What is your knowledge of the game in Thailand?
Reid: I firs: came to Thailand in 1984 with Everton when we played a couple of friendlies just after winning the FA Cup so I know how difficult it is to play in this part of the world due to the humidity, but the enthusiasm for the game makes up for that. I did a bit of coaching here as well more recently and that’s when 1 realised that I could make a difference to the national side.
How do you plan to change things?
Reid: I have seen a few DVDs of the team and it is clear that Thailand is blessed with players with excellent technique and an ability to handle the ball, and hopefully I will bring the framework and organisation to turn undoubted potential into success. There ate so many players here who have tremendous natural ability and that’s the key strength going forward. It’s up to me to harness those skills by making sure we play in a disciplined manner. From what I’ve seen we can improve at set-plays defensively and in attack and that is something I will address. I will also want my team to play as a compact unit when they are going forward and when defending and if that works out then we could really go places.
What are your aims?
Reid: We have missed out on qualification for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa so the principal target has to be winning a place at the 2014 finals. Don’t get me wrong, there are other important competitions but that has to be the key objective. We have a ptomising young squad so everything will be geared towards guaranteeing that we don’t miss out again. I’m certainly very optimistic because we have fabulous raw talent to work with. But if we don’t make it, it won’t be down to a lack of effort. There’s incredible enthusiasm for football in south-east Asia, especially for the teams in the English Premier League. It’s my job to ensure the people of Thailand are as excited by the endeavours of their national side as they are by English football.
Looking back, what were your highs and lows as a player?
Reid: Winning the English league championship with Everton back in 1985 has to be the highlight on a domestic front but then winning a place in the England team and playing at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico has to cake pride of place, although unfortunately we didn’t win the competition. The downside was the injuries, which were soul-destroying. I would have played football for free but I missed a whole season due to a career-threatening knee problem during my Bolton days, but thankfully I managed to bounce back.
And as a manager?
Reid: What hurts most are memories of Sunderland being relegated from the Premiership on the last day of the season
at Roker Park in 1 997 after losing two key players in Tony Coton and Niall Quinn for most of the campaign. And then there was losing a penalty shootout 7-6 in the play¬off final against Charlton the following year after a 4-4 at Wembley. Those were two difficult years but we recovered to win the Championship with a record 105 points and then finished seventh in the Premiership two seasons in a row. That created the platform for the building of Sunderland’s Stadium of Light and the club’s fabulous training ground. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t attract rhe top players needed to push on. We had
bids accepted for Robbie Keane and Eidur Gudjohnsen but neither wanted to move to north-east England. Finishing fifth in the top division at Manchester City also rates highly because the club has not had it so good since.
What are your memories of representing England at the FIFA World Cup™?
Reid: I suppose 1 only got into the side in Mexico because our skipper, Bryan Robson, was injured and Ray Wilkins was suspended following a rush of blood in the heat. But when I got into the team I was determined to grab my opportunity with both hands. It was a terrific honour to represent my country on the biggest stage and with a bit of luck we might even have won the competition. We steadily improved until we were knocked out 2-1 at the Azteca Stadium by .Argentina and the notorious “Hand of God”.
Have you forgiven Diego Maradona for the “Hand of God” incident?
Reid: It’s not a case of forgiveness. What the whole world saw was the work of a cheat with his sleight of hand and then a stroke of sheer genius. It was plain to see he handled in Argentina’s first goal but then .scored arguably the greatest goal the World Cup has ever seen with an incredible dribble from the halfway line. I was the first man he beat on his way to a place in the history books. 1 tried to get back but just ended up chasing his shadow. Despite going 2-0 down, we held our nerve and fought back really well and Gary Lineker pulled a goal back and was within a whisker of equalising. We might have lost but it was a privilege to play in a truly great game in front of more than 100,000 people at the Azteca Stadium. If only the outcome had been different.
What did you learn about international management with England?
Reid: Our manager in 1986, Bobby Robson, was under a lot of pressure from the media because we started the tournament slowly. But he stood his ground, kept cool and relaxed and was unfazed by external factors. He created a wonderful sense of togetherness in the squad and instilled a belief into us that we could go places, which really rubbed
off on us as we went from strength to strength. His training sessions were always really good and varied and along with coach Don Howe he ensured that everyone knew their jobs when we went into action, which is what I will try to achieve with Thailand.
What was your role with England?
Reid: It certainly wasn’t one of the most glamorous roles but it was nevertheless still important. I was just told to sit in there in front of the defence, get hold of the ball and pass it to our skilful and creative players such as Trevor Steven, Steve Hodge and Peter Beardsley. That was fine with me and proved to be pretty effective. I had to do the same with Everton as well and we won the English league championship,. FA Cup and the old European Cup Winners’ Cup in the mid-80s.
How would your Everton side have fared against the modern-day Premier League sides?
Reid: We had an excellent, well-balanced side thanks to manager Howard Kendall and in the shape of Andy Gray and Graeme Sharp, we had rwo of the most aggressive strikers in the world. They would have been a match for the likes of John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, William Gallas and Jamie Carragher. We were a fast, physical side with me and Paul Bracewell providing support for our attack-minded colleagues such as Kevin Sheedy, Adrian Heath and Trevor Steven.
And how do you rate the English Premier League?
Reid: Fantastic. It’s better than ever thanks to the influx of foreign players such as Fernando Torres, Cristiano Ronaldo and Cesc Fabregas. But I’d like to see something done to make sure that the number of overseas players in English football is not detrimental to the development of our own players. I’d like to see more home-grown players in action.