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Blues, Brexit, Beer - BiG Talk with Bobby Latchford

A couple of days after the Euro 2016 final Anke and Tom from "BiG - Bluenoses in Germany" met Blues legend Robert Dennis "Bobby" Latchford in a café in Nuremberg. The 65-year-old lives nearby with his wife Andrea and the two children (13 and 10).

Anke Reinitz, Bobby Latchford und Tom Kleine
Anke, Bobby and Tom in Nuremberg.

Bobby Latchford, winner of twelve full caps for England and still a cult figure at Birmingham City (160 games, 68 goals) as well as at Everton (236 games, 106 goals), took the time to chat about many things on and off the football field.


A couple of days ago the Euro 2016 ended. What do you think about it?

BL: I have to admit I didn't see much, maybe 40 % of the games. It's difficult with kids. As a family man kickoff times at 3 pm and 6 pm weren't exactly the best for me. I missed the semi finals and the first half of the final because I was at a birthday party. On the whole I think it wasn't the most exciting tournament. I tend to think that the top Euro teams have come down and the weaker nations like Iceland, Wales or Northern Ireland have risen. Only Germany and Italy gave something new. The German team could have scored enough goals, but they couldn't score.


Did Portugal deserve the win?

BL: Yes, at least the final. They did more in the game than France. They defended well and when it counted they scored. Football can be so easy. (laughs) In the French team especially the top players Payet, Griezmann and Pogba didn't perform in the final. Maybe the pressure to win in your own country was too high.


What's your opinion about the English team?

BL: England has some talented players, but they weren't organised as a team. They stuttered, weren't fluid.


The football association is looking for a new England coach. Rumour has it that Jürgen Klinsmann could take over.

BL: I don't know Klinsmann as a coach, the USA is too far away from the European football. But he would be a good alternative concerning training methods, particularly as there aren't any top English coaches available at the moment.

"The BREXIT is a total disaster for everyone in Europe!"

Tom Kleine und Bobby Latchford
Men at Work.

Another important topic: the BREXIT. 

BL: The BREXIT is a total disaster for everyone in Europe. I fear a knock-over effect on other countries with riots and the break-up of the UK. Many older Labour voters felt they have been left behind economically and then they fell for the promises of the BREXIT supporters. I fear many people don't understand the effect of right wing parties and the far right will only get stronger. I hope Theresa May will sort things out, particularly as she looks very calm, she looks like she knows what she's going to do. She seems very determined.


Does the BREXIT have any effects on you as an Englishman living in Germany?

BL: Of course. I'm losing money. I'm paid in pounds which is going down, my health care is covered by the UK.We don't know if there will be any obstacles for my me and my family on our travels to and from England.


Since when have you been living in Germany and how do you like it here?

BL: After moving from Salzburg, Austria, my family and I have been living near Nuremberg since 2005. Life in Germany is changing, it has become more expensive over the years. And the dynamics is shifting. There are lots of worried people who don't know what's going to happen especially when it comes to the topic of immigration.


As an Englishman you have to compare the food and the beer in both countries.

BL: Both countries are similar in many respects. Both are meat and potato countries. In the UK there is more mixture because of the influence of the immigrants. Concerning the beer I appreciate the greater selection of locally produced beer here in Germany.


And what about the humour?

BL: The English are more sarcastic and have a rather black humour. The Germans on the other hand laugh more openly at things where the English are more reserved and don't laugh out openly at the same things like the Germans.

Two geese in the garden

Bobby Latchford mit seinen Brüdern David und Peter und seinem Vater
Dad Latchford, David, Bobby and Peter. (Foto: A DIFFERENT ROAD)

Tell us something about your childhood and youth in Birmingham.

BL: I grew up in Kings Heath, in the south of Birmingham. The social culture and the band culture in the 60s and 70s was very good, with musicians like Jeff Lynn or bands like ELO. There were also a couple of night clubs where players used to go to after the games.


How often do you travel to Birmingham today?

BL: Unfortunately not very often, maybe two or three times in the last ten years. The last time was for the launch of my book. One of the reasons is that I don't have family there any more.


What do your brothers live today?

BL: My oldest brother John lives near Bristol, David in Alicante, Spain. And Peter lives on the Scottish west coast.


Are the three still involved in football?

BL: John was never a big football player. He had a lot of talent as a defender at an amateur club, but my parents were against a career as a pro. They wanted him to get a proper job. (laughs). David doesn't have anything to do with football today. Peter does some work on the Celtic Academy as a goal-keeping coach.


What about you?

BL: Well, I sometimes do charity stuff, and now with the book I could refresh some old contacts like my old Everton team-mate Mick Lyons, who lives in Australia, and Dave Thomas. As I decided at an old age to found a family (laughs), I live a normal life with a wife, two kids, a cat, a rabbit and two geese.


Two geese?

BL: Yeah, we always leave them at the neighbours when we go on holiday.

Only 12 caps:: "I think it was a personal thing."

Bobby Latchford im Trikot der englischen Nationalmannschaft.
Only 12 caps. (Foto:

Why do you only have twelve caps on your record?

BL: During the research for my biography author James Corbett found out that I had outscored everybody in the First Division in eleven successive years between 1972 and 1983. I asked him: "Is that true? So why do I only have twelve caps?" (laughs). When I played in the English U23, Alf Ramsey was the English coach. He didn't think I was enough prepared to play for England. Then England was knocked out at the qualification for the 74 cup against Poland, and Ramsay was sacked. But also Joe Mercer and Don Reevie didn't give me a real chance and favoured players like Paul Mariner. I think it was a personal thing. Peter Shilton had the same problem because he couldn't pull past Ray Clemence. I hoped to be nominated for the Euro 1980 under Ron Greenwood, but unfortunately I wasn't.


So the real big success in your career failed to appear. You must have been bursting with envy thinking about the red rival in the city.

BL: Absolutely no. I am an Evertonian through and through. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute at Everton although we didn't win any cups. I have never regretted going to Everton.

FA Cup Finale 2017 between Birmingham und Everton and THE DERBY

Bobby Latchford im Trikot des Everton FC
Bobby Latchford: " I am an Evertonian through and through!" (Foto:

How will the new season 2016/17 end for Birmingham City and for Everton?

 BL. I think it will be pretty much the same like in the last season. Gary Rowett is doing a marvellous job. He manages to keep the team going. It will be important for the club to sort out this mess with the owner. Everton will have high expectations with the new manager (Ronald Koeman) and a new board. I think Everton will end up a bit better than in the last season, ending up 11th place. Actually they could have ended up 6th, but there were some unlucky defeats. It wasn't the season they were expecting to get. They are now in a situation where they need a new stadium or to expand Goodison Park to compete.


In May 2017 Birmingham City and Everton will play against each other in the FA cup final. Who do you support?

BL: I can't and and I won't decide. Birmingham is my soul, but Everton is my big love.


And when it comes to the penalty shootout…

BL: …I'll leave the ground. (laughs)


We Blues fans look feverishly forward to the derby agains V***. What do you expect of the Second City derby?

BL: That will be hard work for the Blues. I think Aston Villa will be back again after relegation. They won't want another disastrous season. And Villa is also considerably ahead of the Blues in terms of money, so I'm afraid the Blues fans shouldn't get their hopes up.


You never played in this derby.

 BL: That's right. During my time at St. Andrew's Villa was always below us.


Did you never get an offer from V***?

BL: Yes, I did. I got an offer to play for Villa in the season 1979/80. But I couldn't go there at all. I was born and bred in Birmingham, that's why I also put down an offer from the Wolves during my time as a youth player. But I didn't like their golden jersey either (laughs).


One statement about Jürgen Klopp?

BL: Klopp knows how to win. If he's given the time and resources to bring in the players he wants he will bring success.


Which coach had the greatest influence on you?

BL: Freddy Goodwin. I wouldn't have turned into the player I have been without him. He worked on me in every area of the game. He made me a senior very early. Well, maybe it was because Birmingham City couldn't afford expensive transfers (laughs). Freddy brought many fresh ideas from the USA. He'd be a top manager today in the PL for all his knowledge and his media-friendliness.

"Trevor wouldn't have given Rooney any chance in a one-to-one situation."

Bobby Latchford im Trikot der Blues

What was the time with Trevor Francis like?

BL: Incredibly good. Trevor was the greatest player with who I ever played. He was better at 16 than Wayne Rooney would have ever been at 16. Trevor wouldn't have given Rooney any chance in a one-to-one situation.


Which opponents do you like to remember - or not? 

BL: There were many who didn't make life easy for me (laughs). Jack Charlton was one of them. The "giraffe" with hands and feet everywhere (laughs). Or Colin Todd, as he wouldn't make any physical contact against you. Roy McFarland, Terry Butcher and Kevin Beattie also had outstanding defensive qualities.


What was your most important goal for the Blues?

BL: Probably the goal to get promotion in 72. Against the shoulder and into the net. I'll never forget that.

Promotion party and German Bluenoses

Talking about promotion: any advice for the promotion party in case our boys will succeed this season? 

BL: First: win promotion (laughs). Second: worry about the party afterwards. You can't plan the party, but I'm sure that there will be one in Birmingham. (laughs)


What is your opinion of a Birmingham City supporters club here in Germany? 

BL: It's incredible for a team like BCFC to have supporters over here, especially as you only founded the club one year ago. An Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United supporters club in Germany would seem logical. But Birmingham City? That's incredibly good.


Bobby Latchford und Anke Reinitz präsentieren die Biografie von Latchford


How did the idea and the title for your book evolve?

BL: James Corbett convinced me in many reunions that there are many people who are interested in me and my story. I wasn't sure I was doing the right thing, particularly as I'm not good at remembering details of my career which have long been forgotten. But it was fun remembering things. The title "A DIFFERENT ROAD" was found here in Nuremberg when James and I were talking about the book in a pub and were thinking about a title. As I had so many ups and downs in my life on and off the football field that we somehow came to the title "A DIFFERENT ROAD".


The road goes…where? 

BL: Life is too short not to spend time on the positive things in life. Learning from the past and enjoying life to the fullest right now is my way. There's not many English people who have started a new life in a new country, a new wife and children like me. At the end of any road there will be different roads.

We wish you lots of luck on all your future roads from the bottom of our hearts and thank you for your time.


KEEP RIGHT ON, Bobby Latchford!



You can order "A DIFFERENT ROAD" HERE.