In this episode we’re rewinding the clock one year to June 2021, when we sat down with All Whites legend Ryan Nelsen.
I remember this as a breakthrough episode for us. It was our 50th podcast, our biggest guest and we were both really anxious about getting it right.
And Ryan couldn’t have been a better guest. Across nearly two hours he shared all the best bits of his life and career – and we’re really proud of how it turned out.
We talk about all the best stories from his seven years at Blackburn, his frustrations with the All Whites in 2010, what it was like playing with Tugay, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Harry Kane - and against Henry and Bergkamp, Ronaldinho and Neymar - the time he hit on Chelsea Clinton at Stanford and so, so many other cracking yarns from an incredible career.
Nelsen is a natural leader and this episode provides a pretty revealing picutre of why he was made captain of nearly every team he has played for.
2.20: Thursday night in Washington DC with Ryan, laying the blueprint for Steven at US College, and impressions of Seamus on the Olympic tour in 2012
8.26: Reflections on two Olympic Games: playing Brazil, Egypt and Mo Salah, the run-in with Dakota Lucas, and the cheeseburger challenge between Roland Jeffery and Seamus
19.00: We go back to Christchurch and the cricket career that could have been had it not been for a dodgy knee
23.38: The US experience: Stanford, MVP, All American, 'pulling the moves' on Chelsea Clinton, Tiger Woods in the medical centre, going #4 in the MLS draft, DC United, failures and lessons learnt
31.37: Heading to the UK: From “you’re not good enough” at Charlton Athletic and being on trial at Blackburn Rovers to the FA Cup semi-final within six months
38.42: Attracting the interest of Manchester United: What does that really look like?
41.23: Some of the characters at Blackburn Rovers: Tugay and his ciggies
45.44: A Cole Tinkler and Raj Naidu interlude
46.55: Back to Blackburn Rovers characters: Chris Samba defender turned striker, Mark Hughes at training, and Robbie Fowler sneaking in
51.54: Chris Wood and his incredible achievements in the English Premier League
54.37: The Burnley and Blackburn Rovers rivalry: pitch invasions, police, tribalism and hooligans
57.00: Ryan finds out he was named by fans in Blackburn Rovers’ greatest ever XI, the Venky's chicken ad and fighting El Hadji Diouf in the dressing room
1.01.48: Losing 1-7 to Manchester United: going after Sam Allardyce at halftime, and Dimitar Berbatov scoring five in the process
1.04.23: Toughest opponents: marking Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp in their prime
1.06.33: A sad end after seven years at Blackburn Rovers and the eventual move to Tottenham with Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and a young Harry Kane
1.13.49: "I don’t want to be here": QPR and Ryan’s eventual retirement and transition into management
1.18.16: Leaving everything on the pitch with the All Whites at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the pressures of club v country
1.25.27: Behind the scenes of the World Cup in South Africa: battles with NZ Football, the drain of the World Cup and the challenges after the tournament
1.38.05: Toronto FC and the end of the coaching journey
1.41.42: Moving off the pitch and on the line with .rugby and .basketball
1.44.54: Terrible haircuts at the Confederations Cup in 1999 and never being able to drink tequila again after a big night with Kris Bouckenhooge, RN Wines, and player representation
1.48.55: Last words: The Bob Smith Memorial Trophy, and rescuing Ryan’s boots from the rubbish bin at the Olympic Games