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Cassidy Interview
 First appeared on the "Sligo Rovers website (undated)

Tommy Cassidy ... the Player

What team did you support as a boy?

“Like all young Belfast boys, Manchester United”.

Who was your favourite player and why?

“George Best, was the best I played against & played with, I played against Eusebio, Pele, Cruyff, & I stay with Bestie & the reason is, he did it in all conditions for 60 games a year, one week snow, next week hail, next rain, the Pele’s & people like that played 25 games a year in the sunshine, Bestie just did it in all conditions”.

What was your most memorable moment as a player in the Irish League before you left for England ?

“I have two memorable moment’s, One was in Waterford, believe it or not. At Waterford, we beat Waterford 8-0 & I scored 4, I was only a kid, only 17, & then scoring a hat trick in the city cup, that was when I played for Glentoran against Bangor, & the day I left, I signed for Newcastle after we played Ballymena, it came so quickly”.

How did you come to join Newcastle United?

“Well they were watching, at the time I knew, Man U were watching me, Sunderland were there as well, as I said, the day we played Ballymena at the Oval, after the game, the manager their top man was in the office & they agreed terms with Glentoran & we agreed terms within 5mins me & my dad with Newcastle, & on Monday I was on my way.

What were the high points and low points at Newcastle?

“The high point at Newcastle, let me think, the high point, the low point first of all was getting relegated in 1978, it was on the cards all season, we were a very poor side, I was there for ten years & it was the worst side I ever played in, to be honest, (Bill McGarry) was manager & we got relegated.

“The high point was probably the cup final, walking out at Wembley in 74 in the cup Final, that was the high point, although we had a very poor game, but I thought that was the high point, walking down the tunnel at Wembley for the cup final, in 74 against Liverpool”.

What do you remember of your debut for Newcastle, & Northern Ireland?

“At Southampton at the dell, they beat us 2-1 in 1970. I was only at Newcastle six weeks before I made my first team debut, I remember we had a big centre forward, Pop Robson & I played up front beside him. I remember it quite clearly, actually, but I was nervous as hell, it was in the first division, I can remember as if it was yesterday, to be honest with ya”.

“My first game for Northern Ireland, was against England at Windsor park, England just back from the World Cup in Mexico & had some great players, & I remember playing my first game against England & thinking what am I doing on the same pitch as Martin Peters & these guy’s. Gordon Banks was in goals, Bestie was playing, & I’m thinking looking around Windsor park, their was 45 thousand there, & I’m thinking what am I doing here, to be honest with you, I was only 19, it was a bit awesome that day.

What were the high points and low points?

“High point obviously, no doubt, was the World Cup in 82. Beating Israel at Windsor Park to qualify, beat them 1-0. It was my 30th birthday & we had to beat them to qualify, & Windsor Park was full to the rafters & the atmosphere was unbelievable & we beat them 1-0 that was the high point.

“The low point was 1977 when we went to Iceland & Danny Blanchflower was manager & he left me out of the team. I played 38 games that year in the first division & he played a couple of Manchester United reserves, David McCreery & Chris Mc------ & I was very upset & I said to him after the game that I didn’t want to play for Northern Ireland while he was manager. He proved his point, he didn’t pick me for two years, but we’re friends, god bless him, he’s dead now, but we made up two years later he came to me & he asked me back, life’s to short, that was the low point.

What are your memories of playing in the World cup finals?

“Just unbelievable, I played in the game against Spain where we beat Spain 1-0 in Valencia. I’ve still got a tape of it called ‘A night in Valencia’ & the whole two or three weeks we were there was just unbelievable. The referee blew the final whistle against Spain & if we had scored again they were out of the competition completely, Spain. We were 1-0 up & it was like the Alamo the last 20mins, Pat Jennings was just unbelievable in goals & there was a big clock in the corner & it never seemed to move, the hands on the clock & the referee blew the final whistle we just couldn’t believe it, to beat Spain 1-0 the host country, to qualify for the quarter finals, was just unbelievable.

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Page last updated 24 June, 2009