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"23 Carra Gold Medalist" - Jamie Carragher Interview

    Champions League winner Jamie Carragher sat down with TLW's Dave Usher in the summer of 2005 to talk about a wide range of issues from Istanbul, Mourinho, Dudek's wobbly legs, cramp, Everton tattoo rumours and much more.


TLW:  First of all, how does it feel to be a European Champion?
JC:  Oh brilliant.  We were all saying at the time that we didn’t know when it would sink in, but I’ve been away for a few weeks and you get that many people coming up to you shaking your hand and congratulating you, so I think it’s sunk in now.  I saw a lot of footballers while I was away and they were all coming up saying congratulations and that.  It’s something I never thought would happen to me, and it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.  I’ve got it on video and I’ve watched it three times.  I’ll probably watch it again before we go back to training.
TLW:  What players congratulated you on holiday then?
JC: Well I’ve just got back from Dubai, and I saw Defoe, Robbie Keane, Carrick, Keiron Dyer, Alan Thompson....  I was in Portugal the week before and Dickov was there, as well as Ian Pearce, and Roy Carroll.
TLW:  What was going through your mind in that first half though?
JC:  When it was 1-0 we actually recovered quite well.  We knocked it around well for the next five or ten minutes, so I was feeling alright then.  Obviously you’re sick you’ve conceded but I thought we were doing ok.  Then they just kept picking us off on the break and Kaka was causing us a lot of problems.  At half time I was just hoping it wouldn’t be five or six.  I didn’t see any way back and I just didn’t want any embarrassment for the club.
TLW:  The second goal was a brilliant counter attack, but it should have been a pen to us for handball.  Did you feel a bit cheated over that?
JC:   Yeah the one with Luis.  It was a Spanish referee, and when I heard that before the game I thought we might get a few favours, but he seemed to go the other way!  It was a definite penalty, all this about did he mean to handball it.... handball is handball, it should have been a penalty.  But that’s just something that will be remembered as part of the game, and probably made our achievement even better.
TLW: What did Rafa say at half time?
JC:  Everyone always asks me that, but what can you say when you’re 3-0 down?  There’s not a lot you can say really.  I think the big thing that happened was he had brought Djimi Traore off.  Djimi had his boots off and was just about to get in the shower, when the physio said Finnan was injured.  Finnan could have carried on because he’d had that injury before the game, but just out of the blue the manager said “No, we’re changing.  I’d have to take him (Finnan) off in twenty minutes anyway.”  So he brought Finnan off, Traore stayed on and we went to a 3-5-2.  So the physio probably played a bigger part than the manager!  If Finann had stayed on we were going to carry on with 4-4-2, with Riise left back and Garcia left midfield and Cisse coming on up front.
TLW:  There were stories that the Milan players were celebrating on the way to the dressing room at half time.  Did you hear any of that?  
JC: No I never heard anything.  I think the press jump on things and make a big deal out of them.   I don’t know if Djimi heard something, if he said he did then I’m sure he’s not lying, but I certainly didn’t hear it.  We’re talking about a top professional team, people like Maldini who I’ve got a lot of respect for.  I can’t see them doing that.  Although I heard Gattuso was meant to be doing something when he came back out, gesturing to their fans or something?
TLW:  The introduction of Hamann seemed to make a massive difference, as Kaka had been very influential in the first half.  Were you surprised he didn’t start the game?
JC:  It was a big surprise to everyone.  I don’t think it was to do with who the manager brought in,  I know a lot of people have mentioned about Harry Kewell starting, but I think it was more to do with us playing 4-4-2 instead of 4-5-1 which we had been playing.  We’d played that way all the way through with Stevie in an advanced role.  So you just expect that manager is going to play that way for the final.  That’s the managers decision though, and I think the reason he did it was because when its two legs you can be a bit more defensive in one game, and that’s what we did away from home.  Against Milan I think he felt we had to go out and win the game, we can’t sit back we have to be a bit bolder.  It’s something that Gerard Houllier was criticised for, but the manager has maybe gone the other way and people were criticising him for it.  But it turned out well in the end.
TLW:  The 2nd half has to be the greatest 45 minutes in the history of the club.  Could you believe what was happening in front of you?
JC:  When the third one went in I thought we’d win it in normal time.  Riise then had a shot which the keeper saved, but then I think they obviously realised the situation and they came back stronger.  I didn’t even celebrate the first two goals because we were still getting beat.  When the third one went in though I did!  
TLW: You had a good view of the penalty incident didn’t you?
JC: I saw Stevie running through and I knew something was going to happen.  He was either going to get clipped or he was going to score.  I was trying to get the wrong player sent off!  I thought it was Nesta who clipped him and I was going to the referee to tell him to send him off.  It was only when I watched the video I realised it was Gattuso who brought him down!
TLW:  There were a lot of tired legs in extra time, and even you went down with cramp.  It’s often said that cramp is more painful than a broken leg.  Do you agree with that?  
JC:  Yeah.  The broken leg was very painful at the time, but it eases off.  The cramp is really bad though.  You just don’t know what you can do to get rid of it.  Every movement you make just seems to aggravate it.  It’s hard to explain to people who’ve never had cramp exactly what its like.  I got it in the Carling Cup final as well, and its such a relief when it goes.  This time I got it in my groin and I was thinking “I’m getting married in a couple of weeks and I’ve got cramp in my groin!”  I was a bit worried about it but it eased off eventually.
TLW:  What do you remember of Jerzy’s double save?
JC:  Well it was a great ball in.  He saved the first one, but I was just waiting for the ball to hit the net.  If it had we’d still have gotten credit for what we’d done, getting to the final and coming back from three down, but at the end of the day we’d have lost.  It was one of them where you just can’t believe it.  I just can’t believe how it stayed out.  Credit to Jerzy, but it was a bad miss from Shevchenko.  
TLW:  Was that the moment when you thought we’d won it?
JC:  Yeah I thought then we had a great chance, but having said that when the penalties kicked off and I saw the size of their goalie compared to Jerzy... fuckin ell... he was some size him wasn’t he? 
TLW: Why weren’t you one of the five takers?
JC:  I don’t know.  The manager said to me “Do you want to take one?” and I went ‘yeah’.  He was just going round  asking people so I thought I must be taking one.  I was one of the first people to say ‘yes’ but then he just said “this is the order we’re going in” and I wasn’t one of them.  I don’t think he’s got much confidence in me, I’ll have to show him the videos from the League Cup!
TLW:  When you grabbed Jerzy and told him to do what Grobbelaar did, did you believe him when he said he knew all about it?
JC:  I was really worried that Jerzy’s too nice.  He’s a really nice fella, and I just thought he’d be stood in the goal being dead polite and nice.  He’s a top man, dead professional and all that, but whatever you wanna call it, gamesmanship, cheating or whatever.... fuck it.... he’s got a European Cup winners medal now.  I told him to do anything to put them off.  He hadn’t been booked, so kick the ball away and get booked, just do anything to gain an advantage.  He is such a really nice fella that I was worried that he’d just be too nice in the goal.  I just wanted him to try and do as much as he could to put them off, and he did.
TLW:  When he made that winning save, all the players who were lined up on the halfway line sprinted to him.  You beat them all by about ten yards, even Cisse.  Does that make you the fastest man at the club now?
JC:  *laughs*  I’ve seen the picture where we’re all taking off from the halfway line and I’ve got a bit of a start on them!  I can’t believe the reaction of some of the players.  I knew he’d saved it and they’re all just still stood watching!
TLW: When Lennart Johanssen mistakenly went to give you the trophy,  you pointed at Stevie and told him to give it to him.  Did you not just think ‘fuck it I’m just gonna lift it”?
JC:  Yeah I know!  Obviously all the players would love to have lifted it, but with me being close to Stevie I know what it means to him being a local lad, and it’s great for him.  I know under Houllier we had different captains and people lifting it together and all that, but I know Stevie would never get involved in that type of thing.  I think it’s right that just the captain lifts it though.  But on the actual moment he lifts it... have you seen the video of it?
TLW:  Yeah you were somewhere away on the left.... 
JC:  Well as he lifts it and everyone moves to the middle I got cramp again and was holding onto the barrier at the side.  You can see it on the telly, it must have been that sprint to Jerzy that did it!
TLW: I read somewhere that you blacked out for a short time on the pitch, what happened there?
JC:  No, that was bullshit.  I fell on the floor, you know how when you’re just overcome with emotion?  I fell on the floor for a couple of seconds but that was it.  Just the papers talking shite again.
TLW:  You played in the UEFA Cup final against Alaves, which was one of the greatest European finals ever, but this one topped even that.  Not bad for a team described by some as boring and defensive?
JC: Yeah, well both campaigns we probably got to the final because of our defensive strength.  In the UEFA Cup we got to the final after keeping clean sheets in Roma and Barcelona, just like this time we kept clean sheets in Turin and at Chelsea.  I think everyone just expected the final to be the same.  I was talking with Stevie before the final and we agreed that the first goal would probably win it.  So to lose a goal in under a minute, then lose two more but then end up coming back to win it shows what a great achievement it was.  I think the Champions League needed a final like that, as a lot of the games are pretty boring and dead, so I think we’ve given a bit of life to the Champions League.  It’s just great that we’ve been in two of the greatest European finals of all time.
TLW:  What did you do when you got back to the hotel?
JC:  We had a party upstairs, but I couldn’t enjoy it because I was getting so many people in.  I must have got about 40 people in there!  My dad and all that were in the hotel, but my brothers and them were outside so I was having to get them in.  After that every ten minutes I was going back down trying to get people in, making up lies and saying they were my brother or uncles.  Some fella actually got in the party saying he was my brother.  Someone said “is he your brother” and when I said ‘no’ they threw him out!
TLW:  Were you aware of how many banners there were with your name on?  Did you see them in the stadium?
JC:  No, they were a bit far away with the running track and that.  We could see there were loads of them, but it was hard to see what they said.  I’ve seen some of them in the club magazine, and it is great when you see things like that.  The best one was the “For those watching in blue this is what a European Cup looks like”
TLW:  Then of course there was the open top bus tour of the city.  Were you surprised at how many people turned out?
JC:  Me and Stevie and a few of the other lads were obviously involved in the treble one, but a lot of the lads couldn’t believe what it was like when we got off the plane.  I said to them “You’ve seen nothing yet” as I was expecting it to be like the treble one.  But it surpassed that easily.  The coach just couldn’t move.   At least in the treble one there were times when we could pick up a bit of speed but this time we were just crawling, that’s why it took so long and it ruined our night out!
TLW:  Proof of who the real people’s club is? 
JC:  Yeah, I said that too.  I got interviewed on the coach for the radio, and I said “Who’s the people’s club now?”  That was something the Evertonians jumped on but its nonsense, both clubs have got a lot of support.  We fill our ground every week and take thousands to Europe.  We’re the People’s Club of the whole country!  Look at the difference between the atmosphere in the game at Chelsea and the return at Anfield.  People talk about the likes of Newcastle and Man City but when you see what our supporters did this season, and how they were in Turkey and the amount of people we took over there... we’re the People’s Club no doubt about it.
TLW:  On the subject of Everton, are you aware of the daft rumours doing the rounds that you wear long sleeves because you’ve got an Everton tattoo?
JC:  I know, but look. . . *rolls both sleeves up to reveal no tattoos at all*. .  you can take a picture if you like!  Someone even told me that it was a quiz question in a pub!  I really don’t know where it came from.  I nearly always wear long sleeves, but I have worn short sleeves a few times.   I get in the shower with the lads every day, so I’m sure it would have got out if it was true.  There’s that many rumours in Liverpool though, you know what its like.
TLW:  I’m sure you also know about the rumour from last summer that you punched Gerrard when you were both with England.  It was even printed a couple of papers.  Obviously its not true, but have you spoken about it with him?
JC:  Yeah, we actually went to the club to try and make a few quid from it, because they shouldn’t write something like that when its total bollocks.  Nothing ever come of it though.   Obviously when I was away with England I was aware of what was going on, because I’ve got the same agent as Stevie.  So I was aware that Chelsea were interested and that, but that’s up to himself.  Obviously I’ve got my opinion and I’d love him to stay, I think he should stay and I think he will stay.  It’s better winning a Champions League with Liverpool than three or four with Chelsea or whoever else.  If he’d have left last summer he wouldn’t have a Champions League medal would he?
TLW:  You have never been linked with any other club though.
JC:  I know, none of the papers have ever linked me with anybody.  I think it’s because they all know I’d never leave.
TLW:  Looking back at the road to the final, what did the players think in Germany when they found out Rafa had been down the boozer with the fans whilst you were all cooped up in the hotel?
JC:  I just wish I’d have gone with him coz at least he got to see the game!  We couldn’t get any game in the hotel.  I think Milan were playing Man United and Chelsea were playing Barcelona.  We were all getting text messages from our mates and we could hear people screaming in the corridoors when Crespo scored for Milan, so we knew United were out.  Then there was the Barcelona comeback, so we thought Chelsea were going out too but then John Terry scored late on so we were all sick.  I think the manager just went out to see the game, but obviously the fans love that because you don’t want a manager who’s too aloof, you want him to be one of the lads.
TLW:  Obviously the games with Juve and Chelsea stand out.  What was it like playing in those atmospheres?
JC:  Oh it was unbelievable, especially the end of the Chelsea game.  The supporters were all throwing the scarves round, it was just like they do abroad.  You see it in South America with Boca juniors and that, and it was unbelievable.  The Juventus game as well with the noise in the first half when we were scoring them goals, it was amazing.  I know we’re talking about moving to a new stadium and that, but I think we’ve also got to keep in mind that we don’t want to lose that something special that we’ve got.  It definitely puts fear into teams on European nights.
TLW: Exactly how much of an effect do you think it had on the opposition?
JC:  A massive effect, no doubt about it.  It has an effect on them, and it has an effect on us.  I think with new stadiums the fans have to be so far away from the pitch, and there’s no doubt that we’d definitely lose some of the atmosphere.  You look at some of the teams who play in fancy new grounds, the likes of Southampton who have just gone down.  Derby were a decent team when they had the Baseball Ground, which was a tough place to go.  Portsmouth now is a real tough place to go, but imagine if they get a new ground with a nice new pitch, it’d be totally different.  It’s not up to me to dictate what the club should do but for me we shouldn’t lose what we’ve got.  I’d prefer to stay.  When it was first mentioned I liked the idea of a fancy new stadium, but the more I’ve thought about it.... I like the way the fans are so close to the pitch at Anfield.  I follow European football closely, and whenever players are asked what their favourite English stadium is they always say Anfield.  Obviously the Main Stand needs doing, and maybe that’s the answer?  Everything would have been done in the last decade or so.
TLW:  Of course it helps now that you don’t get any stick from those fans close to the pitch anymore! No wonder you were in favour of a new ground a few years ago!
JC:  I know yeah *laughs*...the  cheeky bastards!
TLW:  Were all the lads furious about what happened to Xabi in the 1st leg?
JC:  I was more furious with him because I told him not to go so far forward and let Gudjohnsen run at us!  It wasn’t really even a foul, it was nothing.  But when you come from behind like that. . . it was a bit like the Stevie penalty in the final.  You know there’s gonna be a tangle of legs, but to miss him for the second leg..... I mean he’s as good as any, he’d walk into the Chelsea team for me.  With his passing ability, especially at home, he was going to be a big loss.  Fortunately we got through.  I saw all the stuff in the press about what Gudjohnsen was meant to have said to Xabi, but I’ve always found him a decent fella when I’ve spoke to him.  I don’t know how true it was, but if he has said that then its out of order and it’s probably came back to haunt him in the last minute at Anfield.
TLW:  Were you worried about picking up a yellow card in the 2nd leg, or did you put it completely out of your mind.
JC:  You say to people before the game that you will just put it out of your mind, but really I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  If you get the yellow card you’ve just got to keep going for the team of course, but you don’t want to get booked for something stupid.  It was always in my mind not to dive in and do anything stupid. I don’t normally get booked that often to be honest so it’s not something I was THAT worried about.
TLW:  Do you think the Chelsea game was your best ever performance?
JC:  Oh yeah definitely.  With the magnitude of the game and with it being a European Cup semi final, to keep a clean sheet against them was a great achievement.  They threw Huth up front, and you know the size of him.  There was Drogba as well and they brought Robben on too, so for us to keep them out.... we did great. 
TLW:  What did Mourinho say to you after the game?
JC:  I dunno, did he stop and speak to me?
TLW:  Well there was a photo of him walking towards you, so I presume he did.
JC:  I think he just came over and shook my hand, but he does that all the time trying to make out what a nice fella he is by coming on the pitch at the end.  Then he goes off and says stupid things to the press after the game like: ‘the best team lost’.
TLW:  What did you make of those comments?
JC:  They had a couple of chances at Stamford Bridge and maybe a couple at Anfield.  Over the two games we had more chances and deserved to win.  It’s definitely sour grapes from him and I think he should have showed more respect for our manager.
TLW:  You had a bit of a disagreement with him in Cardiff.  What that was about?
JC:  He had a go at Garcia for diving,  yet he’d just come from fuckin Porto who had people like Deco who were never off the floor!!  I’ve watched the Carling Cup final again, and Joe Cole does a couple of dives that nearly got Sami a booking.  One of them might even have been the free kick that led to Stevie’s own goal, I’m not too sure.  John Terry dived trying to get a penalty in the final as well, and then you look at Carvalho dragging the keeper out the way for Terry’s goal against Barcelona, and loads of other things.  Yet here he is complaining about Garcia.  So I told him to ‘fuck off’ and he started having a go.  At the end of the game he came up to me and said “You know why I did that don’t you?” basically trying to say that he was trying to influence the referee.  But you know, whatever. . .
TLW:  Was that the most painful defeat of your career?
JC:  Yeah, because it was them.  I don’t think they are anyone’s favourites here are they, and we were that close to winning and it was such a freak goal.
TLW:  How do you explain a team that can win the champions league, finishing 5th, below Everton?
JC:  I don’t know.  But then a better Liverpool team than us did that in ‘81 as well.  I’m not criticising anyone but I just think we’ve got to show more fight in the Premier league away from home.
TLW:  I don’t think there is anyone who would disagree that you were the clubs player of the season, but not counting yourself, who would you give it to?
JC:  I thought Finnan played well.  Early in the season it looked like he was going, I spoke to him and there was a chance he was going to move.  He started the season at right midfield and played a few games there, although that wasn’t his position.  Then he got a chance with Josemi getting an injury and he come in and was superb.  There was a bit of a question mark after his first season but to be fair he had a lot of injuries and didn’t get a good run of games to show what he could do.  This season though he was superb.
TLW:  Players like Traore and Biscan really made an impression this season, and Igor managed to restore his battered reputation in his last season.  
JC:  Yeah after the La Coruna game I spoke to Stevie and said “you might not get back in.”  If Stevie had put in a performance like that everyone would have been raving about it.  He put in a great performance, and made a great run for the goal.  He also put a great pass through for Garcia against Leverkusen, and he played well against Juventus as well.  I think it was unfortunate that he’d been here a long time but never really got himself settled.  He was played out of position under the last manager, and I don’t think that helped him too much.  But he’s shown that on the day he has got that ability it was a case of trying to get it out of him a bit more.
TLW:  As you know, Igor is a bit of a cult hero in TLW.  Do you have any funny Igor stories you can share with us?
JC:  The funniest Igor story I’ve got is that I’ve never had a proper conversation with the lad in five years!  Seriously, I’ve never had a conversation with Igor.  Not that he’s a bad lad, he’s just very hard to get to know.  He just comes in trains and goes home, he doesn’t seem to speak to anyone really.   We know he’s a bit of a nutter in his car, and he was always laughing his head off on the phone when we were on the bus.  It must be his mates who he’s having a laugh and joke with, because he never did that with us.  But he was always screaming on the bus laughing into his phone.  We all used to sit there laughing our heads off because we’d never heard him laugh before.
TLW:  Vladi has left now as well, but he went out with a bang with his goal and penalty in Turkey.  You must have been pleased for him as he’s a popular fella isn’t he?  
JC:  Everyone is delighted for him, he was always laughing and joking on the training ground and he was always on the bus with his porno mags.  They love it them Czechs, the two of them are dirty bastards!  But he’s a great lad and everyone is made up for him.  I read an interview with him before the final where he said he didn’t think the fans had really took to him, and to be honest when I read it I felt sorry for him because he’s such a nice lad and to come out and say that about yourself shows his modesty.  He was worried about actually being involved in the final, because he didn’t make the squad for the Villa game.  But his last kick for Liverpool was a goal, which is a great way to go out.  If he ever comes back to Melwood he’ll be welcomed back with open arms, as he really is one of the nicest fellas we’ve had at the club.  It’s unusual for a foreign player to have that sort of character.
TLW:  Didi is staying though, I guess you’re happy about that?
JC:  Yeah, along with Stevie he’s probably my best mate at the club, he’s a great lad.  I always think of some of the foreign lads as being a bit dopey when you talk to them, you know.  Not that they’re thick or anything, but being foreign they’re not on the same wavelength, especially with the humour and that.  But I’ve never met a fella so clued up as Didi.  He doesn’t just know English, he knows the slang as well.  We can talk to eachother in our little scouse language and no-one else knows what we’re talking about!  It’s brilliant how clued up he is, and I think people in town know he likes a pint and is a bit of a lad.  But he always brings his ‘A game’ to the big matches.
TLW:  Is it true that he turned down Everton this summer?
JC:  Yeah he said he’d never go there because it would ruin everything he’d done at Liverpool, and I think that’s right.  He’s had such a good career at Liverpool that he wouldn’t want to tarnish that.
TLW:  If Baros leaves, would you like the number 5 shirt?
JC:  No, no.  There’s too many banners with 23 Carra Gold on them, so I’ll be sticking with 23.
TLW:  You and the rest of the lads must be sick of answering questions about Steven Gerrard, so I’m not going to ask any….. except are you sick of answering questions about Steven Gerrard?
JC:  Yeah, of course and I’ve told him too.  After the Juventus game all we were getting asked about was Steven Gerrard.  We’d just beaten one of the best teams in the world and all we’re getting asked about is him.  That’s not his fault though, that’s the London press for you.
TLW:  You’ve become a bit of a media darling recently, it seems everyone is saying nice things about you.  Does that seem weird?
JC:  Yeah it does.  I think it’s probably to do with me and Stevie being the only two English players here.  Michael’s gone, and he always had a bit of limelight.  Obviously I think my performances have had something to do with it, but when we’re playing in Europe and we come out to do the press afterwards, there’s only me and Stevie who are English so I think the London press probably only know us.  They only watch us a few times a season and probably don’t even know who some of the other lads are!  Maybe with me speaking to them it’s doing them a favour so they write nicer things about how I’m playing.  It has been nice, of course it has but I think it’s basically a combination of my performances and Michael leaving which has put the attention onto others.
TLW:  You even made the top three of the sports writers awards.  Does that prove that the writers know more about the game than the players do?
JC:  Yeah it probably does!  Mind you, I think Lampard and Terry got about 95% of the votes.  It was probably only Joycey (Paul Joyce from the Express) and Bascombe (the Echo) who voted for me, but it was enough to get me third place!
TLW:  Alan Hansen said recently that you are ten times the defender he ever was.  That’s perhaps the biggest compliment a Liverpool defender could receive.
JC:  Obviously I was delighted to hear comments like that from a fella like him.  I think the key word though was ‘defender’, he didn’t say ‘player’!!  He was a great footballer, probably the best centre back that Liverpool have ever had.  I think what he meant by defender was that I’m a bit more aggressive than him, and put more tackles in than him.  Obviously I’m delighted to have someone like Alan Hansen saying that, but I’m nowhere near as good as what he was.
TLW:  What did you make of UEFA’s decision.  Should the FA have just sent Everton into the UEFA Cup?
JC:  It would have certainly made it sweeter wouldn’t it!  Imagine that, if we’d knocked them out!  I bet they were all delighted at half time, so imagine how delighted they would have been if they thought they were going to go into the Champions League, only for it to turn around in the second half.  It would have been great, but we could still get them in the third round of the qualifiers.  It’s probably what UEFA want so they can get back to just four English teams.  If it happens it happens, and to be honest I wouldn’t mind because I think it’d be something to look back on and remember.  It’d be two great games and great occasions, but there’d probably be a bit of trouble like!
TLW:  There’s been talk of the club pulling out of the world club championships.  What’s your view on that?
JC:  I’d love to play in it.  As soon as we won the final I was thinking about it for the next couple of days.  No Liverpool team have ever won it, and to play against South American opposition like Boca Juniors or someone like that might never come round again in your career.  It’d be good to see what they’re like, with their different tactics and style of playing.  It’d be a good challenge.  It’s a great accolade to win the World Club Championship, but if its not right for the club to do it and there’s too many games then we have to do what’s right, as the Premier League and the Champions League are more important.  It’s certainly something I’d love to have on the CV if we could win it though.
TLW:  You’ve got a pretty sizeable medal collection now.  Just one more to go for the full set.  And yet you were asked by a reporter last season if you’d consider joining a ‘bigger’ club.
JC:  Yeah, people talk about Chelsea and that but they’ve only won one Premier League title and the Carling Cup.  Lampard and Terry are great players, but that’s all they’ve won.  Look at what we’ve won in the last four years.  There’s only the one left to win now, although I’d like to win some of the others again.  We get criticised for not being successful, mainly because of how successful this club has been, but we shouldn’t forget that since the turn of the Millennium we’ve won three European trophies.  Look at the great Arsenal teams, they’ve never won a European trophy, yet we’ve won the Super Cup, UEFA Cup and Champions League, and we could win the Super Cup again.
TLW:  Have you spoken to Robbie Fowler since the final, and if so is he planning on giving it the five finger salute at Old Trafford next year?
Yeah I’ve spoken to him a couple of times.  He went over to the final with Macca, that shows what a great lad he is going over to watch the game with the supporters.  I’ve seen him since and we’ve been out for a couple of drinks.  He’ll be changing it to five next season and giving them a bit of stick, and the season after hopefully he’ll be able to give them six!
TLW:  What do you think of the ‘Team of Carraghers’ song?
JC:  I heard it for the first time in Leverkusen.  Obviously it’s nice to get things like that, with the supporters making  up songs about you.  I went for a few drinks after we won the Champions League and in a few pubs they were singing that, so yeah it’s really nice to have the fans making up songs like that.
TLW:  What's your favourite other song/chant?
JC:  We’ve got a mate, Tony Hall, who knows them all word for word.  And Bobby Wilcox as well, they always sing a ‘Liverbird Upon My Chest’ when we go out for a few drinks, and I think that’s my favourite.  And ‘Ring of Fire’ of course! (Carra senior nods in agreement)
TLW:  Finally, the last time you did an interview with us, we spoke about how you were sometimes the first one to get it in the neck from some sections of the crowd when things weren’t going well.  Now you’re the most popular player at the club.  Have you noticed any change in how you’re perceived? 
JC:  Yeah, I think my performances have probably helped, but I always thought I was doing a good job before.  I think maybe there were more star names there before, people like Michael and Robbie, who the crowd would look to.  I suppose my performances have gone to a new level this season which has probably helped, and me and Stevie are the only two local lads.  And also, there’s no getting away from the fact that the Chelsea stuff with Stevie has probably took a little bit of attention away from him.  Some of Stevie’s biggest fans have probably become mine because I said I’d never leave and obviously that type of stuff helps with the supporters.  But it’s always been the way that the local lad often gets the most stick.  I was an Everton fan as a kid and the first person to get the stick was John Ebbrell, even though he did exactly the same job as Barry Horne and Joe Parkinson.  It was the same with Nicky Butt at Manchester United.  It’s just always been like that, Sammy Lee got a little bit of stick when he was a player didn’t he.  I think its just the easy option for the fans, as they’re not gonna get on the back of someone who cost a lot of money.  Although you could argue Harry Kewell maybe.
TLW:  One last thing, you’re getting married in a couple of weeks.  Are you planning on asking Cisse if you can borrow his red suit?
JC: *laughs* No no no.  He loves all that type of gear, but no.  I’ll wear red undies but I won’t be wearing a red suit.
* This interview was taken from the "European Champions Special Issue" of the fanzine, printed in the summer of 2005.  A limited number of copies of this special issue are available in our webshop, click here for more details.

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