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Keith Pritchett interview
From "The Sitter" magazine, reproduced with permission
Keith is the assistant coach of the All Whites, NZ's national team, who recently completed a tour of South America.

Sitter(S) Keith, welcome back from your travels! Having had a couple of weeks to mull over the tour, do you consider it to have been a success.

Keith Pritchett(KP) It was a success, because the players have an acceptance of what the coaches want and they know they can compete at a very high standard. In terms of exposure it was fantastic. The games in Chile went out to about 15 countries, China being one, and they now know we will give them good games. I have no doubt we were invited over there as cannon fodder in their preparation for the Copa America but we can hold our heads high after one month away.

S What were the high and low points for you?

KP There were two low points for me. The game in Tahiti where we had them on the rocks and didn't put them away losing 2-1 and the 7-0 against Uruguay. High points were the recovery after the first Uruguay game. As a coach the exposure to the South American game was great. I've played against players of their calibre in my professional days but never on their own patch.

S What do you think will be the main things learnt from the trip?

KP Make no bones about it, our preparations are only the beginning for France 1998. This trip highlighted the fact that technically we need to work very hard. It proved that the time spent together and the games against top class opposition are essential.

S You must be pleased with Waitakere's performances this season.

KP Superclub is in its final year and we have not won a National League title since 1992. We are well placed for a top three place. We are well on course for a successful season. (Waitakere play the Chatham Cup final next weekend and are unbeaten this season)

S I remember you from the heady days at Vicarage Road Watford during the late 70's and early 80's. These must have been great times. Do you still have contact with the club?

KP The club tracked me down a couple of years ago with an invitation to attend the Centenary Dinner but most of the players and staff have moved on. I played there from 1976 to 1982 and had a fabulous time with them climbing up to the first division. I think the only people I know there now are Kenny Jackett, who is youth team coach, and Billy Hails, who is now the club physio.

S Did you go to the dinner?

KP I had to send an apology for missing the dinner. It's a bit far to go over for the night, however Watford was one of six teams I played for professionally, but by far the most exciting period of my fourteen years of full time football.

S Who was the better, Steve Sims or Steve Terry?

KP Both players were centre halves at Watford, and weren't very well known in New Zealand. They both had different styles, Terry was an uncompromising, no nonsense centre back while Sims had the skills on the floor. If I had to choose now it would be Steve Sims.

S How did you get into professional football?

KP I was spotted playing for Scotland U18 against England by Wolves chief scout. After two one month trials I was given a two year contract. It seems such a long time ago the 1971 season. The Wolves team at that time were top of Div 1 and had several internationals. I never played in the first team but it was a great place to learn my trade.

S Is it true Waitakere are poised to sign John Barnes?

KP Unfortunately he turned us down only to sign for Liverpool for a three year deal. We were only prepared to offer two years and our reluctance to offer any petrol money halted all negotiations with him personally. Because of our friendship we had no dealings with his agent.

S Do you think that Rugby Coverage on TVNZ is sadly lacking?

KP Yes it is sadly lacking entertainment value.

S Who is the best player that you have ever played against?

KP This is a tough one because there were so many. At Wolves I played Man Utd reserves with Denis Law in the line up. At the same time I played against a 16 year old Trevor Francis.

When Watford beat Man U in the FA Cup there were Bryan Robson and Ray Wilkins in the team. One of the best performances I saw was when we played Notts Forset in the League Cup. John Robertson was on the left wing and ripped our right back to peices...

Stan Bowles, Gerry Francis and Terry Venables were all at QPR when I was there, they were all very talented individuals.

John Barnes was a youngster when I was at Watford he was very difficult to knock off the ball.

For you older readers there were also Derek Dougan, John Richards and Dave Wagstaff at Wolves, Sorry I got lost in the 1970's...

S What went wrong with GT in your opinion?

KP He lost the England Job. I thought you would have known that. Seriously, from the distance that I was looking at it, he seemed to carry his club style into internationals and it did not work.

S Have you accepted any bungs recently?

KP That is a very personal question but if you slip me $500 I will tell you the answer.

That is all for the interview. As a footnote, Keith is highly regarded in NZ soccer circles as he was a member of the Watford team that toured here in 1982. He is now a successful coach and has been undefeated this season with Waitakere in Auckland. His club play the Chatham Cup final next weekend and this would be the first stage of the NZ soccer double.

Keith Pritchett update
Graham Taylor on Pritchett