by Harry Exclusive
A new and exclusive regular segment to Exclusive Sports News. Each week I, Harry Exclusive, go one on one with some of the biggest names in the world of Sport. It'll be no-holds-barred as I ask the questions that other interviewers are too scared to ask.
In yet another worldwide exclusive, last week I sat down with deluded Wales manager John Toshack and chewed the fat about Giggs, Wales, his time in Spain and if his daughter might like me over three bottles of Tesco Value Dry Cider. Frankly, I was shocked, appalled and totally bemused with pretty much everything the controversial manager said. Herein follows a full, blow-by-blow transcription of that beautiful, drunken evening.
Toshack, drunk and angry
So, John, the question on everyone's lips: How are you going to cope with the loss of Ryan Giggs due to his retirement from international football?
Well, I'm not worried about replacing him. We have a long history of producing world-class players here in Wales. Sometimes we have almost too many options. I'm sure that whoever I choose to replace him will be of the highest quality.
So, who is favourite to replace him? I can't think of a single other left-sided attacking midfielder who is Welsh. No-one who's any cop, at least.
(Winks) That's for me to know and you to find out, Harry. I've got a few irons in the fire, a few aces up my sleeve.
That's not really answering the question, John.
Ok, let's put it this way; remember when I was at Deportivo La Coruña? Which left-sided attacking midfielder did I sign? Yeah, that's right, Rivaldo.
John, he's Brazilian. And besides, you can't sign players for an international team.
What? You can't?! Aww, for fuck's sake! Why didn't anyone tell me? When I took this job I was told that resources were thin. I took that to mean that there would be no money for the first few seasons and I'd have to pick shithouses like Carl Fletcher, useless cunt that he is. So, I'm not allowed to pick any foreigners? Really? Shit. How else are we supposed to qualify for the World Cup? I'm beginning to regret taking this job.
Well, you could always go the Australian route. They've joined the Asian federation to make it easier for them to qualify for the World Cup.
Can I do that? That would make things a lot easier, just think if ....
No, John. I was joking. Wales is in Europe, there is no way you'd be allowed to do that.
Then I'm fucked! What am I going to do?! (starts to shake uncontrollably)
Calm down, John. Here, have some more of this cider. Have you tried looking for some players with Welsh roots? Y'know, Patagonia? There are some very talented Argentinians about. You have South American contacts, right?
Fucking good thinking, Harry. I'll be sending a few quid your way if I can pull this off. Jesus, fill my glass up again. Right, first thing tomorrow we'll get on a plane to Buenos Aires, don't worry about the cost, the FAW will pay. Then - after we've had a steak and a couple of bottles of wine - we'll get the bus down to Patagonia, turn up at the first club we find and sign as many players as we can. We'll get them all on long term contracts, I don't want to lose the fuckers on a Bosman.
John, I keep telling you, you can't sign players!
(Now visibly agitated) Can't? I can! Just watch me! No-one knows the South American market like I do! No-one! I'm going to come back to Cardiff with the best young players in the world to lead Wales to the World Cup. Now, are you in or are you out?
Ok, John, ok. I'm in. I'll go to Argentina with you. Ok, let's change the subject here. Tell me about your time in Spain. You had a fairly successful time over there, managed some big clubs: Real Madrid, Deportivo La Coruña, Real Sociedad ...
Yeah, I'm a legend over there, they all love me. I still spend more time in San Sebastien than I do in Wales. Just between you and me, I can't stand Wales. Do you know who got Chrissie Coleman a job in Spain? Yeah, me? Who signed Rivaldo? Me. Who made Xabi Alonso captain of Sociedad? Me. I tell you, I'm great. And another good thing about me is that I don't care what you or anyone else says.
Yes, but you weren't massively successful. Only one league title to your name, which you could hardly fail to win when you have players like Butragueño, Hugo Sanchez, Michael Laudrup etc. Hell, even I could have won the league with them!
You're always belittling me, Harry. (Begins to sob gently) You've never been a true believer in Tosh, have you?
Come on now, John. This is just the cider taking over. Don't get upset.
(Still sobbing) Do you ... Do you like me?
Er, yeah, sure. Well, I like your daughter. How old is she?
Just curious. Do you think she might like me?
What?! Why the hell are you asking all this?
Um ... no reason. Anyway, back to football. John ... John, are you falling asleep? Do you want me to go?
(Now heavily slurring and barely able to keep his eyes open) You can stay here. Spare room is next to my daughters room.
Sweet! Er .. I think I'll go to bed now. You'll be okay on the sofa, yeah?
Yeah, but don't forget we've got to get up early to go to Batagonia. They is Welsh in Batagonia, y'know.
Of course they are. Tell you what, you go on ahead without me and I'll get a later flight. I have a couple of things to take care of first.
Ok, Harry. I'll see you in the mañana por la mañana.
No problem. I'm off to bed. Night!
Toshack's daughter, Helen (from my private collection)
Worried that John might have developed a drinking problem, I went to speak to his daughter in her room to ask her opinion of the great man. Unfortunately, due to legal reasons, I am unable to publish the transcription of my interview with her.
John Toshack returned home from Argentina four days later without any new players. He has since left several threatening messages on my answerphone (re: his daughter) since.