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Martin Pringle Talks to the Fishy!

By: Tony Hamilton
Date: 25/02/2003

IN an exclusive interview with the Fishy, Martin Pringle talks to Tony Hamilton about his career in football with Grimsby Town and Charlton Athletic and his thoughts about his future.

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  Tony: How does the English game compare with that in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe? Do you the Premiership is the best league in Europe?

Martin: The physical nature of the game is similar, which is probably why Scandinavian players need very little adaptation period when they go to England or Scotland and tend do well. To say that the Premiership is the best league in Europe is a difficult one. For excitement and passion yes, but for technique and tactics not necessarily so. Although the introduction of so many foreigners has certainly changed and raised the ball playing technical level for the better.

Tony: Do you think England will ever win the world cup, and do you rate Sven Goran Eriksson as a coach?

Martin: Certainly England can win the World Cup. Look at last year, a victory against Brazil which was very possible would, I believe, have won you the Cup. Nobody can question Sven Goran's credentials as a coach.

Tony: What are you going to do now your playing career is over? Do you intend to stay in the game in a coaching or managerial capacity?

Martin: I am fairly confident I will do some coaching in Sweden and very possibly work closely with my agent spotting talent in Sweden.

Tony: Which English team did you support as a boy, and whom do you support now?

Martin: In all honesty I never really supported any specific club in England. I was always just a fan of the game as a whole. Craig (my agent) has asked me to say I supported Newcastle as an apology to him for scoring against them! I suppose I have to say that you cannot do anything but admire Arsenal and of course the long term dominance of Manchester Utd.

Tony: What was the highlight of your playing career?

Martin: Certainly the Champions League games I played for Benfica.

Tony: . How did Grimsby compare to some of the more illustrious clubs you had played for?

Martin: I started life in modest clubs in Sweden, so I did not have any "culture shock".

Tony: Do you think you came to Grimsby too soon after your previous injury?

Martin: Definitely not. I was fully fit and ready to get stuck in for Grimsby and Division one survival, but my doctors said almost nobody would have escaped from "that tackle" and sadly it has forced me to stop.

Tony: You've gone on record as saying your are not going to press Stockport for damages. Do you think there is ever a case for suing another club for career-threatening injuries?

Martin: Without being able to prove intent to finish a career and deprive someone of their livelihood, it will always be next to impossible under current legal regulations.

Tony: Do you think the Bosman ruling has been a good or bad thing for the game as a whole?

Martin: The Bosman ruling has been good for players and bad for clubs.

Tony: How do you see the game changing in Europe over the next decade or so? Would you like to see a European super league?

Martin: There is already a European Championship in a way now that the Champions League is no longer made up of only championship winning teams. I can see one day a fully fledged European League as politically this is the way of the future, but there are already such a large number of games and shrinking revenue that many changes would need to be made before it can really be viable.

Tony: Do you think there are too many professional teams in England, compared to other European nations, and do you think smaller clubs merging would be beneficial to the game as whole?

Martin: Actually I do believe there are too many teams for the amount of money distributed and earned, but in reality the fans voices would make it very difficult to merge many of the smaller teams. Ultimately finance will dictate this path.

Tony: .Do you keep in touch with anyone from either Grimsby Town or Charlton?? If so?? Who??

Martin: Not really at Grimsby as I didn't have time to build any friendships but Paul Groves spoke to me a couple of times while I was recovering, which I must thank him for. At Charlton I still have many friends and stay in touch, especially with Matt Svensson and actually via Craig (agent) with Andy Hunt.

Tony: Would you recommend Grimsby Town to another footballer if he were coming here on loan??

Martin: Without any shadow of a doubt.

Tony: Was it an easy decision to move back to Sweden when you knew your playing career was up??

Martin: Not really but I could not sit in London knowing I was not going to play - it is so horrendously expensive and not all football players are millionaires you know! Also my wife has a design and decorating business which was beginning to grow, so she had a few reservations, but Sweden is home with family and a house so it was the logical move.

Tony: Thank you Martin for giving us your time. It is much appreciated.

Martin: My pleasure!

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