Gary Pallister: I have a recurring dream about being attacked by crocodiles

The former Manchester United, Middlesborough and England defender answers silly questions from FFT's Nick Moore...

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Hi Gary. Bryan Robson once told us that he dreamt his alarm clock was an oncoming car and punched it to smithereens. Ever done anything similar?
Hmm – I wonder if Robbo had been out the night before? I do have a recurring dream about being attacked by crocodiles, though. I remember once being able to see a crocodile above the door in my bedroom. I was trying to scream, but I couldn’t – I was frozen. My missus woke up and somehow broke the spell, but it was so vivid it put the fear of God up me.

That’s weird. Gary Mabbutt has nightmares about being attacked by lions, while John Barnes has them about being savaged by sharks…
It’s strange. I’m fascinated by crocodiles and watch all the nature programmes, but I saw one in Disney World once and it sent a shiver through me. Apparently the United lads went to a crocodile farm in South Africa recently. There’s no way I’d have gone. My dream might have come true.

Have you ever punched a clock?
I get angry, but I don’t express it by punching clocks. The thing that frustrates me is assembling furniture. I did a bed recently and it drove me mental. The directions are never straightforward. The worst is on Christmas Eve. It’ll be 2am, time is running out, and you’re stuck there looking at instructions for a doll’s house.

If you could visit return to any time in history, when would you pick?
The age of the dinosaurs. I’d look at these massive creatures roaming the earth and see how ferocious they were.

Surely this doesn’t tally with your terror of crocodiles?
True. I’d have to be in a safe haven while looking upon these beasts. But I’d like to know why they became extinct. It would be research – maybe it could help mankind prepare for armageddon.

Good plan. What’s your favourite dinosaur?
I suppose it’s the T-Rex. Top of the food chain, the ultimate predator.

Saya berkhayal bisa jadi tidak terlihat. Dengan begitu saya bisa menyelinap kemana saja, mendengarkan apa pendapat orang sebenarnya tentang saya.

Everyone says T-Rex, Gary. What’s your second favourite?
Pterodactyl – the flying dinosaur. That’s quite scary, with its pointy head and massive wingspan. It’s almost bat-like, but massive.

I’m seeing an ITV show here: Dinosaurs with Gary Pallister.
I’d be like Ross from Friends – get a life!

Changing tack from palaeontology, would you spend a year dressed as a grandfather clock in return for a superpower?
[Long ponder] I do quite fancy being invisible. I’d sneak around everywhere. I’d be in top-secret superpower meetings and the manager’s office when he’s picking the team, listening in to what people really think of you. I’d be like Harry Potter.

But would you don the clock suit to earn it?
I think I’d have to say no to that one. They’d put you in the loony bin first. I’m not sure how it would go down in the sponsors’ lounge.

Sensible. Returning to Bryan Robson, he told us that if he could only drink three liquids for the rest of his life, they’d be Budweiser, white wine and Ribena.
He’s not thought this through. You need water in there. You can’t live off booze and Ribena.

Robbo says he can. But isn’t Ribena a child’s drink?
No. I like Ribena. I’ll often pick up a carton at the petrol station – get some Vitamin C back into the body. But you need water. I’d go for water, Guinness and Jack Daniel’s. Without water you’d be dead in a year… although it would be a fun year.

Your name is an anagram of ‘gallery art rips’. Ever wanted to destroy a piece of art?
Most modern art makes my blood boil. I see a lot of it that I’d happily destroy. And people spend fortunes on this crap. I like a nice painting, but I’m not a big gallery-goer.

Finally, what do you wish those boffins would invent?
Eternal life, I suppose. Then we could all be like Highlander. Mind you, it sounds good, but maybe it could be a curse – who knows? Forever is a long time.

Never a truer word spoken. Thanks for chatting, Gary!

This interview was originally published in the May 2013 issue of FourFourTwo.