Nigel Winterburn: I wouldn't lick Lee Dixon's dog's face, no

FourFourTwo's poser of peculiar puzzlers, Nick Moore, asks former Arsenal, Wimbledon, West Ham and England fullback Nigel Winterburn about hanging with celebrity chefs, canine oral hygiene and bank security...

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Hi Nigel. Your PR man just emailed saying you’re “eating bear” with him. Do you often dine on endangered species?
Hi. Yeah, I like a bit of bear, or human flesh – I’m a vampire. I like to munch on the legs of Manchester United players, mainly.

He misspelt “eating here”, didn’t he?
He did. I actually can’t have anything exotic because I’ve got Crohn’s Disease. Adventurous dining doesn’t help the digestive system. The odd kebab, maybe.

Lee Dixon is pals with Heston Blumenthal. Ever been round for tea?
I’m not into name-dropping like Lee. I’m mates with normal people and stay out of the way.

But if you could be best friends with any TV chef, who would you go for?
The Hairy Bikers seem OK. I can’t cook, so they’d teach me a few things. But I’m not like Lee. Lee likes wacky things… like cycling.

Surely cycling isn’t wacky?
It is when you take it as seriously as Lee does, doing thousands of miles. He’s trying to stop himself growing old and using too much Grecian 2000.

Also, when asked how much money it would take for him to lick a sweaty dog’s face, Dixon said he would do it for free.
Well, he’s got dogs, hasn’t he? My dog licks my face every single night, so I suppose I’d do it for free, too. I’ve got an Irish Setter and a Cairn Terrier – a little dog with a big attitude.

Would you lick Lee Dixon’s dog’s face?
No, I wouldn’t. It’s different with other people’s dogs. You don’t know the levels of doggy breath.

Talking of Arsenal oldies, we’ve been trying to get Martin Keown to do this interview, but he keeps evading us.
Martin’s a control freak. He couldn’t handle the strange angles. He needs to have meticulous plan.

We once interviewed him and he constantly critiqued our questions.
That’s Martin. He likes to direct everything and test you out. He thinks he can turn his hand to everything.

Any comments on this interview so far?
I’m quite happy. I’ll give it a seven out of ten. It’s consistent, but there’s a bit of room for improvement.

Ta. Do you ever tell people how to do their jobs, like Martin?
No, I leave them to get on with it. If they do it wrong, I’ll shout at them afterwards. I’ve sacked many a plumber.

Did you know that there is a pretend Nigel Winterburn on Twitter?
Yeah, I’ve heard about this, and my son has got involved and tried to get him to stop on many occasions.

Doesn’t it irk you?
If I read what he was writing it probably would, but I’d hope that most people are sensible to realise it’s not me.

He seems to be Scottish, as he tweets in Glaswegian slang. He spends most his time trying to impress a woman called Deborah.
That’s really odd. At least my wife isn’t called Deborah so that won’t get mixed up.

Presumably his cunning plan would crumble if he ever met Deborah. What with him being Scottish. And an idiot. And not Nigel Winterburn.
I’d like to be a fly on the wall for that. But I’m not into Twitter or Facebook, so I don’t get involved with such stupidity.

Good man. What’s your second-favourite dinosaur?
I like the flying one with the straight beak. It looks evil. I can’t remember its name.

Me neither.
This wouldn’t happen to Martin Keown. He’d have done some dinosaur research.

He would. If you could have an extra arm, where would you place it?
Easy. In the middle of my back, to scratch my arse.

Finally, what’s your PIN?
It’s 7772. I’ve had that number for years.

Brilliant. You’re the first footballer to actually tell us.
It wouldn’t do you much good, even if you had my card. You’d probably owe money and someone would hunt you down for an unpaid loan.

Thanks for the warning!
No problem.

This interview originally featured in the July 2013 edition of FourFourTwo.