“The only way you’re going to Old Trafford,” Ron Atkinson remembers telling Bryan Robson, “is if I go there too.” Atkinson didn’t expect Robson to be the first one on the phone when he got the Manchester United job in 1981.
Episode seven of the Talking Devils podcast is a special archive interview with the former Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson. With this being FA Cup weekend, what better time to release this 2019 interview with ‘Big Ron’, undertaken by Wayne Barton.
Atkinson is a controversial figure in Manchester United and football history but was a necessity to be interviewed for the integrity and completion of the book Que Sera Sera.
And his place in United history should not be understated. His footballing ideals, and their attachment to United’s cultural identity, are explored in that book.
This is part of the interview that was undertaken for it. In this podcast you will hear stories of the great visionary coach Jimmy Hogan and how Robson and Remi Moses arrived at Old Trafford. This is not how you would usually hear Ron Atkinson talk, and despite the controversy, it felt like an important conversation to share.
“The brilliance of Jimmy Hogan was in the way he put it across,” Atkinson explains. “He was very unique. Everything was done with the ball – even running. At the time in English football that was not known. We played in the Birmingham league with a lot of experienced pros and Jimmy Hogan would get us all in a huddle. His standard thing would be to say that wherever we were on the field, if we had the ball, we were attacking. If they’ve got the ball, wherever they are on the field, we’re defending. And he’d talk to the wing-halves and tell them they had to be like waiters in a restaurant serving the front players.”
Ron also tells a couple of amusing stories about Gordon McQueen being ‘guided by the lines’, Mickey Thomas’ seven-minute transfer request, and the incredible stories of Bryan Robson and Remi Moses’ desperation to sign for Manchester United.
The episode is available on Spotify and will be on all major podcast streaming platforms today.
Talking Devils is brought to you in association with Classic Football Shirts. Listen to the show to get an exclusive discount code of 10%. Review the podcast and post that review to @TalkOfTheDevils on Twitter for a chance to win a £50 website credit with CFS. (Winner picked in the July 20th, 2020 show)