Interviews

Bob Mortimer on Middlesbrough: "Emerson was a s*** dancer..."

Bob Mortimer Middlesbrough

The legendary funny man chats dodgy hot-stepping, Oldham's pies and his love for Juninho

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Favourite car?

A 1990 Lexus LS400 in white, with red seats and a fake fur leopard-print steering wheel cover.

Favourite singer?

Bishop Bullwinkle.

Favourite food?

A Teesside Parmo with very dark, very limp chips.

First game you ever attended?

Italy vs North Korea at Middlesbrough’s Ayresome Park in the group stage of the 1966 World Cup. I have no memory of it other than being lifted over the turnstile by my dad to get in for free.

Who was your childhood hero and did you ever meet them?

Football-wise, it was John Hickton. I never met him but I did get quite close to him when he opened a toy shop in Middlesbrough. He wore a fur-collared sheepskin coat and I’ve wanted one ever since.

Finest moment as a player?

I once scored a goal for my university from an angle so acute that afterwards a team of mathematicians were called in to assess whether I had actually reversed time.

What do you like most about going to a match?

That journey to the ground, full of hope, and the first look at the pitch from the top of the steps.

How has watching football changed for you since you were a kid?

It’s less scary now. In the 1970s and ’80s, the last 20 minutes of a game were often ruined through fear of getting your head kicked in.

Middlesbrough

Who from your club’s past would you bring back for your current side?

It would have to be Juninho – he was just a joy to watch... although, in our current team, Paul Gascoigne would be a perfect fit.

Who’s your current favourite player?

John Obi Mikel, but it changes every day.

Who has or had the hardest shot you have ever seen?

Peter Lorimer, with his half-volleys that never got above knee height.

Who is your club’s unsung hero?

Graeme Souness was a magnificent player, but never seems to be held up as one of the all-time greats.

Who do you admire in football?

I really admire Sian Massey. She never seems to make a duff offside call.

Which player do you like even though they never played for your club?

James Milner.

Tell us something we won’t know about one of your former players.

Emerson was a shit dancer.

Emerson

What’s the most important piece of memorabilia you have?

One of Aitor Karanka’s training shirts – very precious. He’s an excellent man.

Favourite football book?

I’ve never read a football book, but I do enjoy reading books about serial killers and one or two of them probably enjoyed a kickabout.

Favourite club badge that isn’t your own club’s? 

Wolves’s, because it’s got attitude and a real apocalyptic vibe.

Where was the best place you’ve ever watched a game? 

Wembley for the England vs Germany semi-final at Euro 96. The atmosphere brought a tear to your eye.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard at a game?

Outside Nottingham Forest’s City Ground, a programme seller was repeatedly shouting “Dry Riser Outlet!” And, sure enough, he was stood right next to one.

Do you have any matchday routines or superstitions? 

I always take the same photo of the Riverside the moment I sit in my seat. If watching on TV, I’ll always go to the toilet if we’re in desperate need of a goal.

Riverside Stadium

What’s the best bit of advice you have ever heard or read from a player or manager?

Aitor Karanka once showed me a little technique that will make a forward believe that you’re right behind him, when in fact you’re a couple of yards off him.

What football media do you enjoy? 

All of the Boro Twitter feeds.

What’s the best food you’ve ever had at a game?

The pies at Oldham.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever encountered at an away game?

The pies at Oldham.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever met a footballer?

I once met Dion Dublin in a swimming pool in Barbados.

If you could drop yourself into your all-time team, who would you be playing alongside? 

Terry Yorath or Graeme Souness. They would look after me.

Graeme Souness

Favourite room-mate? 

Paul Whitehouse. He’s an easy-going, nicely mannered young man.

Who should we find to answer these questions soon?

Give Paul a try. He’s a Spurs fan.

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