We Interviewed Ex Lincoln, Newcastle and Man City star Tony Cunningham and here is what he had to say on topics such as how the game has changed to racism in football, writes Alfie.
First, we asked him about what football was like for him growing up. He told us that at he grew up in Kingston Jamaica until he was about 7 and that he didn’t really play football there but when he moved to England he started to play a lot at the end of his cul-de-sac as cars rarely passed through. We then went on to ask if he has always had a natural talent for football. He responded that he wasn’t sure if it was a natural talent or practice that made him so good but he did think that being a very good athlete and runner helped him a lot. He told us that he also used to play centre half as well as centre forward. He is a Leeds supporter as when he was growing up in England they were the top club and always at the top of the league. He was playing for Barnsley whose manager at the time was Ex ex Leeds player Norman Hunter, who has unfortunately passed away from Covid 19 this year, but so he had a good relationship with him.
He told us that at this time his favourite player was Allan Clarke the Leeds United striker as he was scoring a lot but he admitted that they weren’t very much like one another as one had better pace and the other had better control. He has played for 11 clubs throughout his career but Lincoln City stood out to him as a favourite because it was his first club and he felt that if anyone has played for a lot of clubs and becomes a professional footballer they are always going to remember their first club. Another reason to remember his times at Lincoln was that it was a successful time for the club as they had achieved promotion and had good players.
We then went on to speak about the fans and how they might have changed over the years. He told us that he was one of the first black players at Newcastle when he first started playing for them and because of that, there was a bit of racism when he wasn’t playing too well. He feels that the attitude about racism is worse than when he played and that it is covered up quite a bit but in terms of fans there is a lot of abuse in football. He went on to talk about how away fans treated him and he said that every club was different and it depended on the score and whether you had scored against them.
Finally, we spoke about how he was quite a forceful player and that he might have been influenced by others to be more forceful but at the time it was about domination between centre halves so you had to be quite tough in order to intimidate the centre forwards but it didn’t really work for the likes for him as if they hurt him he would sometimes try to get his own back. He said he doesn’t remember starting any fights but he definitely remembers finishing a lot!