- 29 Jun 08, 07:10 PM
It's only right and proper that I hand over one of my final posts to Mr Graham Taylor, a man who brought me a lot of joy back in the late Eighties during his time as Aston Villa manager.
Despite his standing in the game, he has suffered some terrible and unnecessary ribbing - some would say abuse - at the hands of his radio colleague John Murray during Euro 2008.
Now it's time to redress the balance, so over to you, Graham...
Thanks, Phil. Well, you can imagine my surprise and concern when John Murray, a man I have great respect for, informs me he is writing a blog about his Euro 2008 experiences - a kind of warts and all account of his travels through Austria and Switzerland.
But that's not all. He only tells me after he has already published several private and revealing details about me.
Not only do I find he has told everyone about my injured foot - I'd have hoped something as personal as that might have stayed secret - but he has also accused me of cheating at table football. You have no idea how I felt about that. Talk about kicking a man when he is down.
Mr Murray - I used to call him John but not anymore - has not so much crossed the line as obliterated it. Naturally, I have demanded a right of reply and intend to address the hurtful accusations he has made against me.
Let's discuss his claims of cheating.
Now, he can't help but notice during the first few days of our travels that I was struggling with my foot and should have been resting up with a nice cup of tea whenever I had the opportunity. However, my welfare was clearly of little concern to him.
His main concern was challenging me to a game of table football. Ever the gentleman, I gave in to his demands because I could tell it was a big deal for him. As for me, well, as a former professional player who has managed to a pretty decent level, you can imagine my thoughts. I wasn't interested, to be brutally honest.
When we finally settled down to play, Mr Murray quickly went 2-0 up. He was full of it. Modest? I don't think he knows the meaning of the word. I just wanted the game over, so I scored two own goals. I scored a couple in the right end, too, just to show him I could play, but I had no intention of making a game of it.
The score soon became 5-2, then 6-2. Mr Murray was jumping around as though it was the World Cup final. I'd had enough, so I decided to spin, which seemed to really upset him. Then I lifted the table. That really got him going. I didn't view it as cheating. I was doing it to help him. I wasn't bothered about winning.
Well, when he scored the 10th and winning goal, I'd never seen anyone so happy. It was though his life had finally been fulfilled.
Now, I used to like Mr Murray and I'm sure we can be friends again. But if that's going to happen and we are going to work together next season, he needs to apologise.
I don't want him to grovel, just say sorry. If that doesn't happen, our friendship and working relationship is over. There will also be a letter from my solicitors landing on his doorstep sharpish.
Now I've got that off my chest, I like to share a couple of my favourite Euro 2008 memories with you.
The first is the shooting of the Russian defender Denis Kolodin, Boy, could he let fly when he wanted to. It didn't matter if he was 45 yards from goal, you could see what he was going to do whenever he had the ball at his feet and there was a bit of space in front of him.
The second is a save made by Iker Casillas in Spain's semi-final win over Russia. The score was 0-0 at the time, so it was a crucial point in the game. Roman Pavlyuchenko tried to bend the ball into the corner of the net but Casillas just managed to get his fingers to it. The referee didn't even give a corner, but it was a fantastic save nonetheless. Who knows what would have happened if that had gone in.
Finally, there was one big disappointment for me - and that was Cristiano Ronaldo. Great players make great tournaments, and I had hoped he would shine brightly after a wonderful season for Manchester United. But it just didn't happen. Instead, the whole Real Madrid saga followed him wherever he went. A shame.
Still, it has been a fantastic tournament, one of the best I can remember. Hopefully the final will be just as memorable...
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