Questions & Answers
How were you introduced to table tennis and how old were you at the time?
Joined a boys club at 13 and just started playing.
What was it about table tennis that sucked you in and got you hooked?
I loved all sports, but it was table tennis that I got best at.
As a player you were well known for your technical knowledge, tactical awareness, mental preparation and psychological astuteness. Is it fair to say it was these qualities that set you apart from other players and made you the country’s best? …Or was there a lot more to it?
That, plus most importantly I got myself really fit. I trained at Middlesbrough football club for 5 years and practiced at least 6 hours every day for a lot of years.
You had a very successful career and played at a time where table tennis players were better known and more respected by the British public. What were the highlights and fun moments?
I enjoyed every moment of my career. Every day was fun and I just loved table tennis. I still do, it is very important that you like playing.
What were the low points and frustrating times?
Every time I lost. I hate losing at anything!
From the perspective of been one of the best players Britain has ever produced as well as currently being one of the top coaches in the country, how do you rate Barrow’s new signings?
Good player who can improve, but must work harder. Needs to be stronger mentally. The saying, “the more you put in, the more you get out of it” applies to Darius. He can be a much better player, but he must do it in the next few years.
Good athlete who gives 100% every time he plays. Top class serves and will give most players trouble, even at world level. The only thing that has stopped Gavin going right up in the world top 100 is lack of power.
Paul has everything to be a top 50 player in the world and even top 20. He has the desire, but I don’t think at the moment he has the hunger. If he got the hunger, Paul could go all the way to the top. It is up to him.
Finally, I have to ask you. Do you believe, had you been born of a different era, you would have been European or World Champion? …If so, when would this era have been?
I believed in my era I could be World Champion and European Champion. I reached the quarter-final of the Europeans 3 times and I placed in the last 16 of the World Championships, so I wasn’t that far away. I have played people before my era – Johnny Leach (World Champion) when he was 40 and I was number 1 in England. He was a fantastic player. All players can only play in the era they were born and they are the best at that time – that is it!
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