Topic: Dom Matteo
Not OMJ, but as this section seems dead and this was in todays Football Guardian and he's Leeds......and a top fella.
The former Leeds defender on being in U2's private jet, deep-fried Mars bars and setting fire to Manchester United shirts
guardian.co.uk, Friday 8 April 2011
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2011/ap … small-talk
Hi Dom, how are you? Very good, yourself?
Fine, just fine. What you up to these days? All kinds of stuff matey – trying to keep my head above water as they say. I bought a bar in Leeds last year so I've been cracking on with that.
Small Talk came across this during our research – the Rock Bar in Call Lane? That's the one. We're only a little boutique bar but because it's been so busy we've been trying to extend out the back. It looks like we've got the land we need so we'll be getting on with that in the next few weeks.
Just because of all the people hoping to meet you, we assume ... Is it heck! It's just because we don't rip anyone off and we're just a normal bar. We're not like one of those poncey bars you get in Manchester or London. This is a proper bar where you can go and have a bevvy and a dance and a laugh with your mates.
Interesting – we had read a review which suggested the clientele were 'too cool for school' … Is it heck! Is it heck! All my mates from Halton Moor and Seacroft, that's who's in there.
Shame, we were going to ask how cool you were in your school days. In my school days I was absolutely on fire! I had them hanging off me. Speak to any of the girls I knew at school and they'll back me right up.
Just because you were good at football? [Mock outrage] No! Are you joking?
Hmm, we'll take your word for it. Skipping on a few years, you're at Leeds and in your first season with the club and you've just scored against Milan San Siro, securing your team's progress to the Champions League knockout stage. What happens next? Well, we were staying in Lake Como, we went back to the hotel, had a bit of a sing-song with the boys back at the hotel, had quite a few beers, went back to the room, couple of bottles of wine on room service, played cards with the lads, bad head in the morning and then flew back to Leeds. But it was a special night, a great experience. The one thing we had at Leeds was a fantastic team spirit and it was always a sing-song and a few beers if the result went well.
What song? I am the music man, I am from down your way! I don't know why – I think it's just because we're all a bit wrong. It's probably also the one song we all knew.
Who had the best voice? Gary Kelly. His dad was in a band, and Kells was a really good singer. So were some of the other Irish boys. Let's be honest, it wasn't going to be us English lads.
That time at Leeds has also become famous, sadly, for the way the club's spending got out of control. Was there anything while you were there that made you stop and think that was a bit lavish? The rumour was that the plane we used was the same one U2 used. It was a very nice plane – a private Swiss airline ran it and the air hostesses were rather nice [chuckles]. Just the service and the food and everything seemed a bit better than the usual plane we would be used to.
Is that it, no half-time caviar and gold-leaf toilet roll? To be honest, no. Obviously the board were spending it but I think all the lads who wound up on the big, big dough were all quite down to earth. There was nobody who was too flash.
There's a story we've heard about Seth Johnson's contract negotiations … Yeah, yeah, we've all heard that one. I think it is true, to be honest. As far as I can gather anyway.
Did you have a similar experience when you signed for the club? Well, I was coming from Liverpool, so I think my negotiation went all right anyway. When I signed I was happy.
One other thing you're doing at the moment is writing a column for the Yorkshire Evening Post. What's it like being on the other side of the player-journalist divide? I find it a bit difficult when I see the players. I work at Leeds United quite a bit and sometimes when you're saying things the players don't want to hear it can be difficult when you bump into them. But as long as you're honest and it's your opinion I don't think anyone can judge you on that.
What's the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen written about you? They said that I had pig's blood put into my body when I went to see this doctor in Germany. And to be honest, I don't even know if it was. I just went and did it, then I got home and there was some picture of me in the paper and they were calling me Gobbler. It didn't go down too well.
You didn't find yourself hankering after truffles for the next month then? No.
As a journalist yourself now then, what question would you put to Dominic Matteo? The question I always ask myself is 'could I have done more with my career, could I have been better?' And the answer to that is 'yes'. My age group in football were the last of an era. We were brought up into football having a bevvy, enjoying ourselves, we were out three or four times a week. I think if I'd have lived my life better I might have played for longer, suffered less injuries, I might have had a chance at a bigger club.
But what if you hadn't got into football at all? Your dad ran a chippy in Dumfries. What's the best deep-fried snack? Well, you can get a deep-fried Mars Bar in Scotland but I never delved that far. But I don't mind a deep-fried sausage.
Are you a big cook? Not really, I try my hand sometimes but I'm pretty basic. I'd like to be good at it, I don't mind the old Come Dine With Me on TV. I'd like to see a few more footballers go on that, it'd be good craic.
If you had to go on one reality TV show, would that be it? Probably. It's the only one you can get a drink with, isn't it?
That's your main requirement, then? I'm not saying I've got a problem … but that is why I bought a bar [Laughs]! No, I just like the craic with the lads. A beer loosens everyone up, sometimes you see the real person after a couple of drinks.
It's your birthday later this month – what are you hoping for? I don't really want much, to be honest. Probably just a good night out with the lads in my bar, have a load of Guinness, then crack on with a doner kebab and I'll be happy.
Did you just open a bar so you wouldn't have to bother looking around for somewhere to drink? Yeah! And it saves me money. To be honest I've always fancied one, but it is nice to have. It's an expensive toy, but it's nice.
Does there come a point as a professional footballer where – because you can afford everything you want anyway – your birthday's a bit rubbish? I think that's true. Sometimes your family and friends think 'what can you buy someone who doesn't need anything?' As a footballer you go through your spells with your watches and your cars, but I think I've definitely come out the other side of that now. My friends who know me best would take me out for a curry and a drink and that's usually me down to a tee.
What's the best birthday present you've ever had? I hate to say it but often you buy yourself something that's the best present because it's what you want. I like my watches, I bought myself a nice Franck Muller when I was about 25, 26, it was my first real watch, it cost me a few quid so that was a nice moment for me.
Worst present? I've had stupid stuff like Everton tops and Manchester United tops that I've burnt straight away.
You actually burnt a shirt? Like those Newcastle fans on TV? Of course I have. It's either burn it or take it to the toilet, let's be honest.
What was the best prank you saw in your days as a footballer? At Leeds United we once put ducks in the indoor pool and let rabbits loose in the sports hall. And one of our physios had big fat fingers, his nickname was 'sausage fingers' so we just bought a load of sausages from the butcher and covered his car in them. It was funny at the time but we did feel a little bad afterwards because the car was his pride and joy and he was devastated. We did clean it, though.
How did David O'Leary react to those sorts of shenanigans? I don't know … That's just the way the lads were, to be honest. It all got tidied up afterwards, it wasn't a problem. I think David Batty took the rabbits home for his kids.
Or maybe his lunch. If you could have any one person – past or present – in your bar for the evening, who would it be? Without a shadow of a doubt, my old room-mate Razor Ruddock.
Eh? But you already get to spend time with him, we're offering you any person from all of history. Believe me, when you've had a night out with Razor, nobody can compete. To be honest, Razor and Charlie Sheen might be a good laugh nowadays [laughs].
Have you got any one story you'd like to tell us about Razor right now to embarrass him? I remember at one point we kept getting caught going out drinking so he said "don't worry son, we're going under cover, we've got a new car so no one will recognise us. So I turned up to meet him and he's only bought a yellow Porsche 9-11. I don't know how many weeks' wages he paid in fines after that.
Last up, can you tell us a joke? A bald guy got on the bus. Bus driver says 'where's your fur'?
On that note, you've been very generous with your time, Dom. thanks for talking to us. Thanks mate.