What do you like to do when you're not working in football?
I've always enjoyed a round of golf. I've stayed at Breadsall Priory and one or two other venues in the area which have supported golf courses and haven't been able to get on them.
I've not had chance to play a full game of golf because four or five hours is half a day to me and that's very important time. Maybe after August 31st I may be able to fit a round in!
Well Derbyshire does have some nice courses...
|Phil in 1996|
Yeah and perhaps I might get an invite from one or two Derby County supporters one day!
I had a shoulder operation in February which is still causing a little niggle. But it's shortened my back swing and kept the ball straight so it's actually improved my game!
So how long have you been involved in football?
I signed my first professional contract at 20 which is quite late. I'd served my time as an electrician from the age of 16 for four years.
I was offered a contract at Hartlepool when I was 18 but turned it down because I wanted to finish my apprenticeship.
Then they offered me the same contract when I was 20 and I signed it. So I've been involved in football for 26 years now.
So I suppose if the floodlights go down you can fix them then?
Yeah! I'd always have that banter with Stuart Pearce who was one of my main rivals when he was at Forest.
Stuart did the same thing as me - I think Forest was his first professional club and they let him advertise in the matchday programme!
And when did you decide to stay with football beyond your playing days?
|Flicky fringe during his early coaching career!|
When I started, everyone kept telling me the retirement age was 35 - which was something I could never get my head around because surely if you were fit enough you could keep playing.
So I played on till I was 36 and the only reason I retired was because I was given my first coaching position by Sam Allardyce.
I made a vow to myself that by the time I was 46 I'd be on the international scene. I haven't achieved that goal but I have at least achieved one of my other goals which was to manage a proper football club.
I suppose you have to be patient with that sort of ambition because there are so many other people who want to do it?
Yeah and the guy in charge of England has been at the helm for a while now and I know there are five or six major candidates where that's concerned.
And for me, wet behind the ears with only six weeks in management behind me, people probably hear me talking like this and think what's he talking about?
|With Sam Allardyce at Bolton|
But I do have ambition and that ambition will remain intact until the day I walk away from football.
Which managers have you enjoyed learning from?
Well obviously Sam's a major one, being fresh in the mind. I had six years of unprecedented success with Bolton.
As for my playing days, well Bruce Rioch without a shadow of a doubt. I played under him for three years at Bolton and he taught me a lot about psychology, new ideas and embracing modern technology.
Prior to that I had Phil Neal. One of the reasons I signed for Bolton in 1987 was because he had 50 caps as an England number two, and being a full-back I thought he must be able to teach me something. And Mick Brown was his assistant at the time.
And of course Steve Mclaren, a former assistant manager at this club, probably epitomises the way I want my career to go. He's making a great job of running Middlesbrough in the North East, where I was born.
Are you a family man?
Very much so. I've got a lovely wife, Karen, and a four-year-old daughter called Sophie.
I've got a son in the north-east who's 21 and would have loved to have been a professional footballer but unfortunately wasn't good enough.
I was the unfortunate one who had to tell him. When you have to say to your son 'let's pursue something else because you're not good enough', that's not a very nice thing to say.
That must have been really tough?
Yes it was but there are layers of reality in life and if you lead someone down the garden path saying they're going to achieve this and that but then they don't achieve it, well they're not going to look upon you as the right guidance.
|Phil likes a bit of Genesis|
I was just being a father and eventually you have to let your sons and daughters down sometimes. Then you pick up the pieces and get on with it.
What music do you like?
I'm very diverse in my music tastes. In my younger days I really liked Genesis, and definitely a bit of Queen. I like anything that sounds good live. You get a vibe.
Modern day, there's the Scissor Sisters. I'm quite interested in what they do, as a performance. They're very different from anything else I've seen for a long time.
And also I'm quite a traditionalist - I like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin - the crooners! I fancy myself as one someday but not just yet, maybe in about 20 years time!
What do you think of the music the players listen to?
Well Morten Bisgaard seems to be the one who brings the music in but I do believe in music in the changing room before a game - I think it creates an environment and an atmosphere, though I suppose everyone's doing it now.
And of course you get these iPods which can hold 10,000 selections and then you get an argument in the changing room - who's the strongest? Who gets their own way?
But it will be something we'll be working on - and not just Morten Bisgaard's selection!
What are your film tastes?
I'm a big Jack Nicholson fan. I think he's quite diverse in his choice of films - from Batman to Terms of Endearment. He's a fantastic actor.
Individual films, I like Gladiator, Any Given Sunday - films with these words and big speeches in. And of course classics like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.
Who have you identified as the main characters in the changing room?
Well obviously Michael Johnson's a bit of a fly-by-night in the changing room. He'll stand up to any sort of criticism for the lads and if it's collective criticism, he'll be the spokesman.
Same with Jeff Kenna. It was a real tough battle between the two of them who was going to be club captain. Jeff expressed a desire to get into coaching and I think that's a good way to extend your career in football.
Campy's a good character - he'll stand up to you. There are a lot of good personalities in the changing room, some nice lads, some not-so-nice but as a group of characters I think we can do something this season.
Interview by BBC Radio Derby's Charles Collins