Date: 10th March 2010 at 8:16am
Written by:

Clarets legend and current Burnley FC Director of Youth Development, Martin Dobson talks with Vin Rogue in an exclusive interview for Vital Burnley.

In the summer of 2009 a Portuguese Prem Liga Youth Side (Academica) visited the North West, pre-season, playing Burnley, Blackburn, PNE and Myerscough College. Unknown to some Vital readers Vin Rogue (as he is often called on this site)organised that pre-season tour. Vin has been associated with Academica since 2003 and has been instrumental in many of the youth team developments. Since last summer Vin has been speaking with staff from Burnley about future youth team games with Burnley. This culminated in Martin Dobson, Director of Youth Development at Turf Moor, visiting Academica last week and being hosted by the Portuguese Club and of course Vin was there albeit without his nurse! Regular readers of Vital will know all about Vin`s Nurse!

In the photograph below from left to right you can see Andre Vilas-Boas (Academica Coach, ex Inter Milan, Chelsea and Porto), Jose’ Eduardo Simoes (President of Academica), Vin aka Al Lee Project Coordinator Academica/Myerscough College), Martin Dobson, Camilo Fernandes (Vice President Academica responsible for Youth Football).

Vin had plenty of opportunity to talk informally with Dobbo and in an exclusive for Vital Burnley, Dobbo kindly agreed to do an interview about his career and work for Burnley FC.

Below we provide his answers to a series of questions that Vital Burnley had prepared:

Back in the 70`s which matches, in Claret and Blue, do you consider your best and worst?

MD “The first time I scored for Burnley. It was against Man Utd at Turf Moor in the 1967/68 season. I was substitute and came on with about 20 minutes to go. I had been given a ‘free` by Bolton but had worked hard and this game just made me realise I could do it. At the end of the game Bobby Charlton, who was one of my heroes, came over and shook my hand and said “Well done, son” It meant a lot to me and my career was up and running. Similar in many ways to what Jay Rodriquez did last season.”

“My worst game as a Claret was a pre season game at Middlesborough 1970/71 season. Jimmy Adamson was the Manager, I was the Captain and we were being tipped as ‘The team of the 70`s ‘. I broke my leg and dislocated my ankle and all the hopes I had for that season, disappeared. I didn`t even know if I would play football again. I did play later that season but we were relegated. It was an awful injury and to be relegated as well- put the tin lid on it”

When you left the club the first time, it broke many a Clarets Heart, but how did you feel?

MD “Initially very upset. A friend of mine rang me at home over the weekend and told me that Burnley were listening to offers. I felt I was being pushed out of the door. When I went to the ground on the Monday, Billy Bingham, manager of Everton, was already at the Turf and the deal was already done before I got there. Jimmy Adamson didn`t want me to leave but Burnley needed the money and there were no agents around at that time. But I was lucky to join a great club and really enjoyed my 5 seasons at Goodison Park”

How are you enjoying your current role at the club and what is giving you job satisfaction?

MD “FANTASTIC – to be asked to come back in this role was unbelievable. The advice and knowledge I learnt from Harry Potts and Jimmy Adamson I am now able to pass on. I learnt so much from them both that is still relevant today. I can honestly say I look forward to every working day.”

Who was your favourite Manager?

MD “I would put both Harry Potts and Jimmy Adamson together. Harry was the manager when I signed and Jimmy the first team coach. Harry had great knowledge and enthusiasm and Jimmy was tactically brilliant. He was responsible in helping me to achieve International football after being given a free transfer. So it was difficult to separate them.

‘Joe Mercer was my favourite England manager. I played 5 times for England under 3 different managers. I don`t know whether they got rid of me or I got rid of them! First game was against Portugal 0-0 in -Alf Ramsey`s last. Then Joe Mercer, who was Man City manager at the time, took over in a caretaker role and we played E Germany, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. Very successful tour. Then Don Revie was appointed at the start of the 1974-75 season and he brought in his own players.”

Were you put off management after Bristol Rovers sacked you?

MD “Probably. Wrong place, wrong time and it affected my confidence. I`d been successful at Bury – we gained promotion in the first season and brought through a lot of good young players who ended up playing in the top division. Players like Lee Dixon (Arsenal), David Lee (Bolton/ Southampton) Andy Hill (Man City) Jamie Hoyland (Sheff Utd).
But at Bristol Rovers it didn`t work out and after 4 months I left.”

What was your best moment in a 3 Lions shirt?

MD “That`s easy to answer. It was putting on the shirt for the first time in Lisbon at The famous Stadium of Light. I had thought when I broke my leg at Boro I may never play again and so to get my first cap meant so much to me.”

Changing the subject a bit, how is your book doing?

MD “You mean ‘Ultimate Goals` – about two lads trying to make a career in the pro game! There is a warehouse in Watford with around 300,000 copies! It was something I had always wanted to do and it gave me great satisfaction. I learnt new skills. Alistair Campbell helped promote it and the fans of both Burnley and Everton were really supportive. I am glad I did it.”

What do you think of unofficial fans websites?

MD “Personally I don`t look at them. But it appeals to a new generation of fans. But and they are a vehicle to air grievances/ support/praise. But personal attacks on players` performances can be very negative and affect confidence. If I had a decent game I would buy the papers; if I`d had a poor game then I`d give them a miss. You don`t want to read about it – it would just make it worse. I left it to the manager to tell me how I`d done.’

All football fans love a funny anecdote can you share one?

MD “Easy to answer, as we are in Portugal, and it goes back to my first cap. I am walking out on the pitch with Mick Channon and we look around the wonderful Stadium of Light in Lisbon. I turn to Mickey and ask “What`s your favourite ground?”
Without a pause he said “Good to Soft!”

Shirt on after a Hat Trick or Shirt Off?

MD “Trick question Al! My wife Carole was hoping Ronaldo scored a hat trick on Wednesday against China and took his shirt off! Last weekend I scored against my 7 year old grandson, Thomas, in the garden and was about to peel my top off when Carole shouted “Dobbo – don`t even think about it!!!”

Finally Martin, Portugal?

MD “Magnificent. Huge positives. Enjoyed the Portugal v China game and that Ronaldo could play down the Turf if he ever got tired of Real Madrid.Myerscough and Academica Coaches and youth players made me feel very welcome and it was great to exchange ideas. Carole and I know we have made friendships that will last a long time.”

Dobbo presented the Trophy after the match on Thursday evening to the winning Captain. Academica had won 1 – 0 and it was the first time in 3 attempts that they had won it. I feel sure we will hear more from Portugal in the future. Martin and Carole went on to tell me how Dobbo became the manager of a Cyprus club but I will save that for a later date. I thank them both for their time, openness, warmth and good humour throughout our trip in Portugal.

VinRogue aka Al Lee

Vital Burnley would also like to thank Martin Dobson for carrying out the interview and answering all or questions. Many thanks also to Vin Rogue for suggesting and carrying out the interview. Nice one, Al!!