Ferguson, Mourinho, Wenger and Gabriel Clarke on new film ‘Finding Jack Charlton’

As a renowned reporter and filmmaker, Gabriel Clarke has regularly interviewed many high-profile names in football management over the years – many of these opportunities coming in a long-standing role with ITV.

Clarke, himself one of the most recognizable names and voices in football media, recently sat down as the latest guest on the 90-minute Voice of Football podcast series, and opened up about That it has been like interviewing managerial giants Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and Jose Mourinho. Arsene Wenger.

Away from television, Clarke co-directed a 2018 feature-length documentary about the life of former England manager Sir Bobby Robson, while his latest project, released next month, is about the late Jack Charlton. is a unique emotional insight into his life and career, using previously unseen archive footage and filming during the last 18 months of his life.

Listen to the podcast and jump ahead for some of the best bits from the episode.

Sir Alex Ferguson had a certain ‘aura’ / Getty Images / Getty Images

“Ferguson was a force of nature. He didn’t do that much in terms of television interviews, but it was always a challenge, and a really special one. I think his only request was that you don’t waste his time. do

“He had a spark. It wasn’t just after the match. I’m also referring to the interviews we did with him regularly for preview magazine shows. During the 1990s, we had There was a Champions League show and Manchester United were consistently in the Champions League at that time.

“They will be fighting battles where you will have a news story with Manchester United like any other club.

“There’s always news in the background, whether it’s their transfer failure, whether it’s a player in the squad, whether it’s Ferguson’s team selection, whether it’s the last game he’s played. There’s an agenda that’s on. You will want to act and then he has his way of doing it, which is his own agenda.

“Often, his schedule was interesting. So you rarely came away from an interview with Ferguson with nothing. There was always something. It’s just a matter of how much you wanted to get, and How much of it was what he wanted to tell you?

“Every time you interviewed Ferguson it was a potential lesson and always a challenge.”

Jose Mourinho had charisma from the start of his career / Ben Radford / Getty Images

“I was lucky enough to interview Mourinho when he was assistant manager at Barcelona and unknown. We wanted to interview Louis van Gaal before the game. [against Valencia in the Champions League semi-final]But he won’t. But there was this guy named Mourinho who spoke really good English. We had not heard of him, but we did the interview.

“We used him because he said something in it that was provocative with Valencia’s tactics. [Barcelona] Beaten by Valencia in that tie, Mourinho was on his way.

“At that point, I could feel a charisma in him. There aren’t that many number two coaches you interview that you think, ‘That guy is impressive and stands out.’

“We found out, of course, a few years later and we were lucky enough to cover a lot of that season when he really came out – Porto v Man Utd. His brilliant displays, not just as a coach. As such, but rather in front of the camera, that only captivated the English audience, and Chelsea was the next step.

“Interviewing Mourinho was a challenge because you almost expected to get something spectacular every time. It was, ‘Well, what did he say this time?’

“The challenge with him was not so much that he could talk, but knowing that is a real point. Mourinho always has something to worry about, always something he wants to say, potentially. But a small stick you can use to avoid it.

“Sometimes, he would come with his own agenda, which was incredible because you didn’t think about it that way. I think his latest and his best performance, between 2005 and 2010, was at Inter Milan. I, he was untouchable and very special in his all-round strategic, psychological and media approach.

Arsene Wenger strives for unattainable perfection / PowerSports Images/Getty Images

“You can ask Wenger anything, pretty much anything. He’ll give you an answer that’s clear and crisp. Whether it’s on his team selection or the tougher things in society at large.

“Wenger’s depth of knowledge… he’ll be able to give you, considering a very short approach [English] It has a third language, an insight you may not have thought about.

“Wenger was never really at his best after a match. He didn’t really enjoy the match-day experience, pre-match or post-match interviews. But the day before the game, or mid-week, he would rest. When it came to football, and other things related to football, his insight was amazing.

“I think he took the defeat very badly. He really struggled, almost if Arsenal’s performance wasn’t perfect. He found it harder and harder to deal with, whereas a lot of managers have experience. , you’d think it would be easy.

Did Arsene Wenger peak with the ‘Invincibles’ in 2004? For the next 14 years, it will probably never be that good. But he was always trying to get back to that point, or trying to perfect the way his team played. So I think the quest for perfection ended with Wenger being too hard on himself after the match and therefore it became more thorny than it should have been.

“That ‘invincible’ team was built on strength and power, not the kind of beautiful football that Wenger played. [wanted] In his second or third Arsenal team from 2008 to 2012 – the Fabregas years, or Van Persie. He wanted to win with a style of football that was the best. This was the challenge he had set himself and he was never going to get there at all.

Search for Jack Charlton/Noah Media Group

Clarke’s new film Finding Jack is a portrait of Charlton, England’s World Cup winner and legendary Republic of Ireland manager.

Charlton’s family have given access to the detailed, handwritten notes he kept throughout his career, offering an intimate window into the man and his management philosophy. There is also new unseen archive footage that has come to light, with Ireland at the 1990 World Cup and on their way to qualifying for the 1994 tournament.

Charlton sadly passed away in June 2020 at the age of 85. Having suffered from dementia in the last years of his life, that contemporary narrative is also central to the story.

“We made Bobby Robson: More than a Manager and didn’t really set out to make a film about another great English manager. But I was just talking to a few people about Irish football. My Andy Town. “Talked to Sand, who is the executive producer, and he said there hadn’t really been a film made about Jack and his influence on Ireland from an English perspective,” Clarke said.

“Andy put us in touch with Jack. It was the autumn of 2018 when we met Jack at the pub his son has in Northumberland. Jack was suffering from dementia and because of the stage he was at, he told us Jack won’t be able to do the interview.

“We were wondering where we would go with the film, but John, his son, was very keen to help. So it became a story during filming, not just about Jack and his success. “I who changed Ireland, not just the team but the nation, but Jack’s struggles with dementia, which is certainly a problem that is becoming more and more prominent in football. It’s about football.”

“So those are the two main pillars of the film.”

Released in UK and Irish cinemas on 6 November and available to buy on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download from 23 November, Finding Jack Charlton for the first time explores key figures in his life and career, including his family. The contribution has been highlighted.

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