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  Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
You quizzed Rodney Marsh
Former Queens Park Rangers and Manchester City legend Rodney Marsh answers your e-mails.


Marsh was one of the true mavericks of the golden era of the 1970s, a hero to fans of QPR and Manchester City.

Following a successful career in England, including nine international caps, Marsh moved to the US to play for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the late 1970s.

Rodney's autobiography, Priceless is available in bookshops now.


You've got a book out, Priceless. Was it a therapeutic exercise getting it all down in print?

The first few chapters were very therapeutic because it's something I haven't discussed for a long time, growing up in the East End of London, and that brought back a lot of memories and it was good to talk about it.


Terry Jones, Australia

You once said that football in England was "a grey game, played on a grey day in front of grey people". What made you think that and do you still think the same?

I've changed my view on that completely with the advent of the Premier League and the foreign players coming into the game. I now believe that the football played in this country is the best in the world.

At that time football had gone from being a wonderful wide-open game in the sixties and seventies and had gone into the doldrums. Teams were playing the long-ball game, lump it and get on with it.

In the early eighties there were teams like Watford, Sheffield Wednesday, Wimbledon just lumping it and it became successful. And for a player that used to like to get the ball down on the floor and do creative things it was a complete change.

But when you look at some of the football played today, with teams like Arsenal, it's just wonderful to watch. Great passing, off the ball running, players like Bergkamp and Henry, it's just a pleasure to watch.


Wayne Johnston, Belfast

What do you make of the present City side? They are already entertaining their long suffering fans but, long-term, do they have what it takes to land some silverware?

The days of teams coming up and winning something are long gone. There's an opportunity for City to maybe go a long way in the Worthington Cup what with the big teams fielding weakened sides.

But in terms of the Premier League, to consolidate would be the way to go and then maybe in four years time if they continue to add to their squad and keep the manager they may have chance. Remember it took Alex Ferguson five years to win the Championship at United.

Do you think Keegan is the man to bring success?

Well, he's already brought success. Man City are a very exciting team and when they signed Anelka, that set the standard because it proved they were going to try and got out and do well in the Premier League. Other teams have come up and not made the commitment.


Danny Murray, UK

Did players in your day behave just as bad as today off the field as those of today?

Definitely yes. Footballers are footballers and the attitude has always been then same from the forties to the present day. The only difference now is the media attention which has reached such a climax that players can't do anything now without being in the press. I'd also say that there was more discretion in my day.

To go out in the middle of town wearing your team colours or an England tracksuit is madness. We would go to a nice restaurant, a nice bar and have a good time and keep a low profile.

A couple of years ago after an England friendly about six England players went out in London wearing their England tracksuits. If you do that it's fair to say you're going to get noticed.


Joel, UK

Have you been down to Loftus Road recently? And do you believe that the worst is finally over both financially and in football terms?

Last year I got into a lot of trouble with QPR supporters for saying that if they don't sort themselves out they could end up in the Conference. But I'm finding now that a lot of QPR people are agreeing with me.

The club is still in a state, and even though Ian Holloway is doing a fine job in terms of keeping the team on the pitch steady, I don't think QPR are out of the woods yet. It might take a long time to turn that ship around.


Steve Ruby, UK

What was the most defining moment in your career?

There were several defining moments, but in footballing terms it would be the game at Wembley for QPR. It shot everyone into the limelight. We were a Third Division team who won the League Cup, and in those days it was taken seriously.

There were 100,000 people at Wembley and I scored the equalising goal and suddenly all the papers stood up and took notice.


Paul, USA

Your move to Man City in March '72 has often been cited as the reason City failed to win the title. Now, 30 years on, what do you believe was the reason City failed to win the league?

I wish I had a pound coin for every time that's been mentioned! And it's actually the 30th anniversary this year! Sometimes in life you have to hold your hands up. It was a mistake by Manchester City to sign me because I upset the balance of the team completely.

They were a fast, raiding, attacking team with two wide players and Colin Bell up and down the pitch and Frannie Lee scoring the goals. They were a wide open attacking team and I slowed down the pattern of their play.

A very similar situation to Veron at Man Utd.

Not dissimilar at all. But in those days City were a huge club and were racing away with the Championship when they signed me. So maybe Veron's not the best example because United have Arsenal to contend with at the moment.

A better example would be when Kevin Keegan signed Asprilla for Newcastle because they were racing away with it and lost it.


Stephen Goodearl, England

Did you ever consider football management?

Not in England, although I did manage teams in America for 11 years. I didn't want to manage in the UK because I think there is an unfair burden put on managers today, and that is something I didn't want to deal with.

An example of that is peter Reid at Sunderland. He's a terrific football man and is obviously passionate about the game, but every time they lose three or four matches he gets crucified. I just didn't want that. I was in America, where I was almost a messiah, and it's a country where people look very positively on everything you do.

In this country you lose a few games and it's a case of 'sack the manager' straight away.


Luke Jarvis, UK

Do you think the modern game has a place for mavericks like yourself, or is it now far too professional?

Professional is probably the wrong phrase, but I do think the game has become too structured. When I played for Man City it was a highly professional club. Malcolm Allison had us on strict diets and we had carbohydrate meals before every game. We also did altitude training in the Swedish mountains - Allison was way ahead of his time.

So the game has been professional for a while, but when I say it's too structured I mean that days when you could have a maverick player who played completely off the cuff have all but gone.

I think Paul Gascoigne was probably the last Player like that. In the 70s and 80s there were so many of that type of player - Stan Bowles, Charlie George, Peter Osgood, George Best, Tony Currie - who played completely off the cuff.

With me, Malcolm would change things around depending on who we were playing against. Sometimes he would tell me just to go and play my own game, and other times he would give me a specific job to do.


Jim Davis, England

Do you regret you didn't get more England caps? And do you think you deserved more?

I definitely deserved more caps, but I didn't particularly want to play for England in the first place. I told Malcolm this when I joined Man City, and the reason was that the manager played me out of position.

They had me running down the channels, which wasn't the way I wanted to play. I told Alf Ramsey about it, and he said that was where he wanted me - he wanted me to play like Geoff Hurst.

Do you regret not playing more for England?

I don't regret not playing, but looking back, I would have just played my own game for them rather than trying to conform.


John Oliphant, Canada

Do you think football will ever really take off in the States?

No. Having had a home there for 25 years, I've seen the ups and downs of football in America, and I think it's becoming a participation sport - like fishing! Millions of kids play it, but no one wants to go and watch it. There were some fantastic players in the North American Soccer League - when I went there Pele was on 33 years old, and still very much at his peak.


Tim Scott, UK

Is anyone really worth 60,000 a week? And do you regret not making that sort of money when you were playing?

Yes, I definitely regret that! I suppose it's a relative question. If David Beckham earns Manchester United millions in commercial revenue and scores vital goals, surely that makes him priceless.

Some would say that. Others would say it's highly immoral.

But by the same token, isn't immoral that Elton John earns millions of pounds just for being a singer? I don't know people compare footballers to nurses - why not compare singers to nurses? What does Robbie Williams do other than sing?

The increase in money in football has resulted from Sky Television. They have invested hugely over the last few years, and every top team has wanted to acquire and keep the best players, so obviously the salaries rose.


James Brooks, UK

If Roy Keane were playing in your day, do you think someone else would have sorted him out by now on the pitch?

That is a fantastic question. I've always been of the opinion that there's always someone around to smarten someone else up. I always remember that Chopper Harris was a bit of a minder - if someone sorted out one of the Chelsea players, he would make his duty to go after them.

But Roy Keane is a handful, and he may be one of those that comes into both categories - a man for all seasons if you will! There would have been several that would have gone looking for him in my day.

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