Interview With Kevin Gallen – Part One

PF: First question is from jjcolls. Which front men did you enjoy playing with in your time at Rangers ?

KG: Well, obviously I would say Les Ferdinand, great player as everyone knows. Great thrill when you’re a young lad starting off in your professional career and you get to play with someone with so much experience, so much quality. Les was just all-round strong, quick and great in the air. In the latter years, I enjoyed for about 20 games I think, playing up-front with Tony Thorpe. We were sort of on the same wavelength and because we were not that great in the air it made the team play more football on the deck. I enjoyed that and we played some good stuff too.Paul Furlong was good to play up-front with. He was more individual, very goal minded and a great player. He served QPR so well. He was a great athlete for a man of his age and a lovely fella. I really liked Paul, very quiet but on the pitch he could turn into a bit of a devil. We used to call him ‘The Smiling Assassin’.

PF: He also asks if you hope to stay in the game at some level when you’re playing days are over, as in management or coaching ?

KG: Yeah definitely. I’m now playing for Luton and part of what I’m doing this season is getting involved with some coaching. Mick Harford said that I could help out, take the Reserves every 2/3 weeks and get a bit of experience. I’ve played under some good Managers and some bad, but I’ve learnt quite a lot from all of them, the bad ones especially, how not to do it. Mick is an ex-QPR Manager, not for long, but he’s a very good Coach, as any of the QPR players would tell you. I always had a lot of time for Mick, so I’m going to try and learn some stuff from him. A couple of years ago, I played under Paul Ince who was very different in his approach to what used to happen at QPR. If you can take them all into account you can broaden your horizons.

PF: Rangers fans gave him a good time didn’t they ? All 8,000 of them !(laughs). MeophamNick would like to know which QPR Manager did you learn the most from and which one would you avoid like the plague ?

KG: I can only go on the time when I played my best football for QPR which was my first season in the Premiership under Ray Wilkins and then Ian Holloway for about three or four years. So those two I enjoyed playing under. The difference with them was they were talented teams. When we look back at players, even Ray himself, what a player ! Clive Wilson, I don’t think there has been a better left back since. Centre half, Alan McDonald, centre forward, Les, left wing, right wing, Impey and Sinclair. I don’t think there has been a better team since then or better players. Dave Bardsley, never a better right back, he was a great player.

PF: Someone said recently that it was the best team never to have won the Premiership.

KG: I think it needed a few more players here and there, a bit more belief but even the years before I got into the team, just watching them when I was in the Youth team, every Saturday watching them train. I was a QPR fan coming up from school, it was just brilliant for me. It seems so long ago now – it’s my 17th year as a professional, it’s a hard life (laughs)

PF: And Managers that you didn’t get on too well with ?

KG: I have to say that the way I was treated by John Gregory at the end of my QPR career… still makes me a little angry really. The way I was pretty much banished, it wasn’t a nice time. I was glad to be out of that situation. I never got the chance to say goodbye, that’s a bit sad but hopefully one day I will be back. Those weeks leading up to that – it was a case of, ‘I’ve got to get out of here’, it was difficult, speaking to my parents, my mum crying, we were really sad about it.

PF: The roughest time of your Rangers career then ?

KG: It was just disappointing. I had been out for a year on and off with a hamstring problem and I was just getting back to playing again. I was playing well and it was plain to see that he didn’t want me around, so I had to go. I had to make a decision, it was sad, a sad time for me.

PF: So hopefully you will never have to do that to anyone in your career ?

KG: You learn different things from different Managers, you learn how to treat people and I would never treat anyone like that.

PF: mattqpr83 would like to know what was your favourite goal scored at Loftus Road and also away from home ?

KG: At Loftus Road ? There were so many Paul (laughter), scoring on my home debut, that was an amazing feeling. I remember going home, going to bed at half-eleven, I couldn’t sleep until four, I was absolutely buzzing and wished I had a sleeping tablet that night, just running the whole game through my head, constantly, all the time.

PF: I remember that, I thought that you were going to disappear through the Loft and end up somewhere in Shepherds Bush, you never stopped running.

KG: Yeah I went straight in and I remember having cramp in both calves. I remember the lads coming up to me, Les and all the players were buzzing for me. Ian Holloway was the man who crossed it to me and he did remind me of that a hundred times.

PF: I remember it was Olly doing an impersonation Of Ryan Giggs out there !

KG: I think so, it was the only time he got it that far into the box (laughter).

PF: Away goals, I would say being selfish, one of the best goals I saw you score was probably either at Highbury or at Anfield. Both of them were special goals.

KG: They were special goals, now, because if I say to the young lads at Luton, yeah I scored at Highbury, I scored at Anfield, they wouldn’t of got a clue, not that I tell them about it or boast about it, but it’s nice to say that I scored at those grounds. I scored on my debut at ManU, but it got disallowed. Dermot Gallagher was the ref, who I’ve seen many times over the years and he was also the ref for my Testimonial. Every time I see him I remind him about it.Obviously the Hillsborough goal was just absolutely brilliant, the pressure was on that day and we had to win. For sheer relief, that was the best goal.

The one at Arsenal was a good one. I was a bit lucky with the Liverpool goal, the keeper should of saved it really. It went under David James when he was going through his rocky spell. I scored a really good goal in my last game at the end of my first spell at QPR which was at Portsmouth when I picked the ball up on the left wing and cut across and scored a really good goal.

PF: Matt also asks if you think you were treated poorly by the club the first time you left ?

KG: Well, not really. I don’t think I was treated that badly. At the end of the 99/00 season, if I wasn’t playing that was the Manager’s decision obviously. Gerry had his way of playing, I’ve got the utmost respect for Gerry, I love Gerry, I think he’s the greatest QPR player ever. I’ve got no problem with Gerry thinking that Chris Kiwomya, Sammy Koejoe and Rob Steiner were ahead of me, that’s no problem but at the time I thought that I needed to get away. They were ahead of me in the pecking order but that was the Manager’s decision. That’s why I left because I knew that I wasn’t going to play. We never fell out over that but that was the situation, I didn’t think that I was ever going to play. He didn’t say that I was in contention but he wanted me to stay as well. If I hadn’t of left at that time, I probably wouldn’t of come back. I would of left the following year and that would of been the end because what happened with the Administration situation, everything might of happened differently.

I went up to Huddersfield under Steve Bruce who I thought was a good Manager. I was only under him for three or four months and then he got sacked. I met some new people, a different way of life from London. I enjoyed my time but a year was enough really and I would like to clear up another thing, when during the following year when Ian Holloway was in charge, I went back training with QPR and I read somewhere along the lines of that they offered me a contract, which they didn’t. I went to Barnsley, no contract was offered to me at QPR that summer. The first contract I was offered was from Barnsley and Nigel Spackman was the Manager. It was a decent contract, so I took it. QPR didn’t offer me a contract until I came back in November that year.

PF: That’s good to clear that one up. How are you finding life at Luton ?

KG: Luton, yeah I’m enjoying it. MK Dons I know was a situation where a lot of supporters didn’t like what had happened. It’s there, it’s going to stay, it was a case of was I going to Plymouth for a year ? Ian Holloway wanted to take me down to Plymouth after I’d been there on loan. For one year, I didn’t want to up-root my family. My youngest was just about to start Nursery and Paul Ince rang me up and offered me two years at MK Dons. I went there that season and ended up winning the League Championship, playing at Wembley and winning the Johnson Paint trophy. I won two medals, he left and a new Manager came in, Roberto Di Matteo…he knew my QPR connections (laughter).

I missed the whole of pre-season last year because I had an operation on my toe and by the time I got back, basically fighting to re-gain fitness, I needed to go out on loan to play some games, I went to Luton and Mick was there and I have to say that as soon as I got there, it reminded me of when QPR were in Administration. The club’s been pulling together, been knocked down and so unfairly treated, docked 30 points because of a previous Chairman and the previous regime. The team won the Johnson Paint Trophy but unfortunately I was cup-tied but I did get to go to Wembley again.

PF: To be fair to Luton, the Football League should be there to help football clubs not hinder them, even a club which we have a huge rivalry with.

KG: I know that, the first day I went there I got interviewed. I said look I’m a QPR fan, I played for MK Dons, probably two of your most disliked teams. I told them straight away and I’ve told them loads of times since and they respect it.

PF: They’ve actually changed the song.

KG: Yeah, MK Dons changed it and now they’ve changed it. There’s only one version (laughter).

PF: He also says thanks for all the memories of your time at QPR

KG: Ok, that’s nice of him.

PF: Next question, can you tell him thanks again for signing my QPR shirt on Football Aid Day five years ago. The shirt is hanging in my Dining Room with his and Richard Langley’s signatures on it. He also says that you’re a true QPR legend and that he had a brilliant day on the hallowed turf which made a 35-year-old feel like a 5-year-old.

KG: Who’s that from ?

PF: That’s from XKR who lives in leafy Surrey.

KG: He’s got a Jaguar hasn’t he ? (laughter)

PF: Another one from jjcolls, he would like to know when will you be in Mayo next as he would like to buy you a pint. He says that he’s met Jim and Tess on many occasions.

KG: I haven’t been to Mayo for years, great place, er, he’ll have to buy me more than one though (laughter).

PF: QPR Meath would like to know what the story was with you and the Republic of Ireland ? He says that a lot of people there believe that you only wanted to play for the Republic when you knew that you weren’t good enough for England. Not him personally, but he adds that if you mention to anyone there that you support QPR they tell that story.

KG: To be honest, when I was young I was never asked to play for Ireland. No one ever contacted me from the FAI. They changed the rule about five years ago, wasn’t it Tim Cahill who got it changed ? I think he played for Western Samoa and Australia ? So some people I knew on the Irish Post wrote a letter to Brian Kerr and I signed it, so it was from me, asking him if he would consider me playing for Ireland. He then wrote back thanking me for the letter and invited me over to Ireland, or he could come and see me when he was over in London and we would have a chat. I was then going over to Ireland in the summer to get married. I spoke to his secretary and told them that I’m over in Ireland on the Wednesday and could I meet Brian Kerr, here’s my number but I never got a reply.

A lot of people have asked me that question, thousands of people, mostly all my family (laughter). My two brothers played for the Republic, one for the U21’s and the other for the U18’s, but I never really got asked. It only got brought up at my first England U21 game in Dublin and that’s when the Irish Press all wanted to interview me. I told them the whole story and it was on the back pages of every newspaper on the day we played Ireland and I was very shocked. I got absolute pelters in Dublin, I was called this, that, which made me chuckle but it wasn’t very nice for my mum and dad who were in the crowd. My uncle was there wearing an Irish scarf, but no regrets because when I was a kid all I wanted to do was play for QPR. If someone said to me, ‘Who would you rather play for next week, QPR or England, I would say QPR and that’s the truth.

Paul Finney

13 thoughts on “Interview With Kevin Gallen – Part One

  1. Great interview, nice to hear Kevin’s views and opinions.
    He lived the dream and it doesn’t get any better than that
    ‘Who would you rather play for next week, QPR or England, I would say QPR and that’s the truth.’
    Enough said…….Top man.
    The Kevster = Respect.
    Well done Paul and Steve Russell, good stuff.

  2. Great interview but I’m presuming you’ve missed out the part of mentioning Kevin’s Magic Hat song…or have I missed something?

    KG: I know that, the first day I went there I got interviewed. I said look I’m a QPR fan, I played for MK Dons, probably two of your most disliked teams. I told them straight away and I’ve told them loads of times since and they respect it.

    PF: They’ve actually changed the song.

    KG: Yeah, MK Dons changed it and now they’ve changed it. There’s only one version (laughter).

  3. Nothing missed out Moreno. I could of typed it as ‘THAT’ song or ‘THE’ song but that’s the way it was asked/answered

  4. The best player I have ever seen at QPR with my own eyes was Sir Les, however my most favourite player was King Kevin Gallen, love the man.

  5. I have just now managed to read through and digest all this.

    You know with better good fortune Kev could have gone on to beat Tony Inghams record 513 appearances for QPR FC.

    Well Done Paul and Steve

  6. Kevin Gallen was a QPR fan playing for QPR. As has been said, living the dream for the rest of us. A class player who could do no wrong for most Rangers fans. I remember Robbie Fowler saying how good Kevin was. Truth be known I suspect he should have really have gone onto greater things at bigger clubs. I never really understood why he didn’t. Kevin looked better than Clive Allen throughout his career. Maybe one day he’ll be back as manager.Enjoy the memories Kev. *Pint raised in the air*

  7. Wonderful friendly Kevin,
    Who always plays to win,
    Always with a happy glow,
    Whether in London, Donegual or Mayo.
    A supporter and star of QPR,
    He fulfilled his childhood dream,
    No matter who he plays for,
    He always adds class to the team. Dennis Ealing

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