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Kevin Poole: Oldest player in the FA Cup takes a trip down memory lane...
Published : 08 Jan 2011 00:48:05Rss feed
Forty-eight on his next birthday, Kevin Poole is the oldest player left in the FA Cup. In chronological order, the Bromsgrove-born goalkeeper has played for Aston Villa, Northampton Town, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Leicester City, Birmingham City, Bolton and Derby, and Poole now combines coaching with occasional displays for Burton Albion of League Two. This year makes it three decades since he joined Villa. On Saturday, Burton host one of Poole's former clubs, Middlesbrough, managed by his former team-mate, Tony Mowbray. Sportsmail asked him to mark the occasion by looking back across 30 years and breaking down his career into chunks - memories of the good, the bad and the different. Safe hands: Veteran Poole hopes to keep Boro out for Burton Strongest FA Cup memory My second or third game for Boro, after joining from Villa, was in the FA Cup at Ayresome Park. It's not been a great competition for me but we beat Coventry that day and I was named man of the match. More typical was when I was with Leicester and we drew at Barnsley, then lost 5-4 on penalties. That's more my FA Cup luck. Boro zenith We got to Wembley in 1990 for the final of the Zenith Data Systems Cup. We lost to Chelsea. Mowbray memory He's just a great, straightforward bloke, a great defender and a great leader. It was no surprise to see him go into management. Pointing the way: 48-year Poole says he wants to carry on playing for another ten years! Favourite managers Brian Little - he was my youth-team coach at Villa. He was reserve-team coach at Boro and took me there. When he was manager of Leicester he took me there, too. Sam Allardyce - really organised, good tactician. Martin O'Neill - great man management,he knew when to put an arm around you and when to shout. Worst piece of advice from a manager At Villa, Graham Taylor released me.He told me I was too small for a goalkeeper and wouldn't make it, but 25 years later I'm still going. It's my pet hate, a keeper's height. Fabien Barthez won the World Cup at 5ft 10in. Hardest striker of a ball Alan McInally - we didn't call him 'Rambo' for nothing. Strangest cause of injury Ankle ligaments done though falling down stairs. I just slipped. Graham Turner did not like it one bit. Best player in training Jay-Jay Okocha. Most sensible team-mate Stan Lazaridis - always had his mind on money, forever looking at the stock market. He did well. Daftest team-mate Trevor Putney - always playing pranks on people, cutting holes in your socks, that sort of thing. He was very funny, but a very irritating person. Best opposition forwards Gianfranco Zola, Eric Cantona, Jurgen Klinsmann. Greatest centre-half team-mates Steve Walsh, Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister. Hands on: Poole is relishing the prospect of facing his forming club Middlesbrough and old pal Tony Mowbray in the FA Cup BEST XI POOLE PLAYED WITH... PooleSimon GraysonSteve WalshSteve BruceColin CooperJay-Jay OkochaGordon CowansFernando HierroNeil LennonEmile HeskeyYouri Djorkaeff Describe Aston Villa as a club in the early 1980s Villa were a great, workmanlike side. There were no outand- out stars but they gelled and won the Leagueand European Cup. I stood with my Dad on the Holte End as a boy and thenight they beat Bayern Munich in Rotterdam, I was with the Villa youth team in Mannheim in Germany. It was a good place to be. Describe Burton Albion as a club in 2011 Burton is progressive club with an astute chairman. As a team we're hoping to be more consistent and to be in the play-offs, if not the automatic promotion places, come the end ofthe season. Three biggest differences between football in 1981 and 2011 Having to adapt to the back pass with your feet. The game is a lot faster these days. Having to deal withcheats who dive in order to get free-kicks and penalties - maybe that changed when Klinsmann came. Three biggest changes in society between 1981 and 2011 Mobile phones, computers, iPods. On the ball: Poole is confident Burton can spring an upset and dump the Championship side out of the club Most enjoyable period of career My six years playing at Leicester, week in, week out. We got to Wembley five times - four play-off finals and one Carling Cup final. Least enjoyable My last four months at Boro when I was frozen out by Colin Todd. It happens. First car Mini. Current car Mitsubishi Outlander. Best pre-season tour We went to Iceland in 2005 with Derby and visited the ice bars out there. You sit on ice, everything is ice. We just had a couple. Funniest character come across Neale Cooper. Everything he did made you laugh. Favourite stadium for atmosphere Old Trafford. Least favourite CravenCottage. Suitable year for retirement I plan to go on for another 10 years, in a wheelchair. Burton v Boro prediction 2-1 to Burton. Outsiders to win FA Cup Fulham. Moving the goalposts: Poole now combines playing with coaching duties Best save At Wembley for Leicester versus Crystal Palace in the play-off final. I dived full length to tip over a Bruce Dyer shot. It was 1-1 at the time with five minutes to go. Then Martin O'Neill took me off and brought on Zeljko Kalac, a 'specialist shot-stopper'. I wasn't happy but then Steve Claridge scoredand there was no need for penalties. Martin never said one word about it to me. I said a few to him. Biggest mistake That's 'Don Revie's Ashes'. I was playing for Boro at Elland Road. Don Revie had just died, 1989. The score was 1-1 when, in the 89th minute, Gary Parkinson knockedthe ball back to me. These were the days when you could still pick the ball up. But the ball hit a divot, bounced over my shoulder and Leeds won 2-1. The claim was that Don Revie's ashes had made the ball bounce. Revie scored the winner. Trailblazers: Doncaster Rovers players climbing a mountain to be heardPardew hoping for better fortune as Toon travel to Stevenage for reunion Sir Alex wants win over Liverpool to erase pain of last year's shock FA Cup exit Explore more:People: Emile Heskey, Graham Taylor, Jay-Jay Okocha, Sam Allardyce, Colin Todd, Fernando Hierro, Gary Pallister, Brian Little, Martin O'Neill, Tony Mowbray, Steve Bruce, Gianfranco Zola, Simon Grayson, Colin Cooper Places: Leeds, Bolton, Germany