Thursday, 24 February 2011

Toro Talk : Tony Dorigo Interview

Thanks to the wonders of Twitter, this blog has been able to conduct its first interview with a former Torino player, ex England International Tony Dorigo, who played for the club in the 1997-98 season. Enjoy!

Hi Tony, you are currently working in the media side of football at the moment, Have you ever been tempted to become a manager?
Not when I retired, that was the last thing on my mind. But the more media work I do, the idea of getting back in the game sounds an option.

So, how did a Melbourne born England International end up signing for Torino?
I always wanted to play in Italy as I thought it would suit my style. There was talk of me going to Bari (from Aston Villa) at the same time as David Platt and that would have been a good age to go. Unfortunately that didn't work out and I thought I had missed the chance until Graeme Souness became the Torino manager. He tried to sign me several times for Glasgow Rangers from Chelsea, this time it did work out and I got my Italian experience albeit late in my career.

Were you weary about moving to Italy, and especially leaving the Premier League to play in the Italian second division, Serie B?
Yes and no. I had a few injuries which meant I lost my England place and at 31/32 years old I thought I could have a few years in Italy to finish, get Torino to Serie A, and then a couple more years and that would have been a nice way to end.

Did you know much about Torino's distinguished history before signing or were you made aware of it whilst you were at the club?
A little as my father is Italian, although I didn't realise how much of a powerhouse they were in the era of supplying 10 of the 11 players for the national team.

What are your memories of the Torino fans, and their rivalry with Juventus ?, Do you wish you could have played in a derby match?
They were great, the atmosphere was wonderful even though the Delle Alpi didn't lend itself to the greatest of atmospheres. They live and breathe the club and I would have loved to have played in a derby.

As one of the few successful English players to ply their trade in Italy, Do you think it would be beneficial for more English players to experience playing abroad?
Definitely, it is a wonderful experience and you come into contact with more styles/players that can only add to your game. I am glad you said successful because I am very proud that I was voted player of the for the only season I was there! I also won this award at Villa, Chelsea, Leeds (Championship winning year) and Torino - these are all fans awards and so mean that much more!

Unfortunately I'm going to have to ask about the missed penalty in the Playoff Final against Perugia, how did your team mates and the fans react to you afterwards?  Did their reaction help you get over it?
They were all great, I obviously desperately wanted a different outcome but that's football and all of the players and staff were very supportive. Unfortunately I went straight to Sardinia on holiday and when I check in and said "Dorigo" the response I got was : "I thought it was you, you missed the penalty!!" Haha, can see the funny side now...

Whilst perhaps not comparable with winning the league title with Leeds, or playing in the 1990 World Cup with England, what did winning Torino's player of the season award in your first season mean to you ?
Ah, answered a bit of this above - a great and cherished honour and a wonderful memento of a short Italian experience.

Sadly, you left Torino after playing just one season,  I understand it was due to the financial constraints at the club that led to you leaving, did you have any options to stay in Italy before joining Derby?
I was very disappointed, it came about as I was ready to board the plane for pre season training with Torino. Yes, there was an Italian option but unfortunately I had to go through a legal process first which meant I couldn't sign for anyone for a month or two. Then Derby came in for me and all the family were already based back in England, so I signed a 2 year deal back to the Premiership.

Although it is now more difficult to follow Torino's fortunes since they were relegated to Serie B, do you try and look out for their results, and do you keep in touch with any of your old team mates ?
I do look out for their results and it still seems difficult to be a Torino fan! I kept in touch a little with Massimo Ficcadenti (my room mate) and it's great to see him at Cesena, I really hope he keeps Cesena up. Also (Edy) Reja is doing great at Lazio but the language is now mostly forgotten so not so easy to communicate. When Massimo called it was like listening to a machine gun !

I would like to once again thank Tony for taking the time out to answer these questions, and you can follow Tony on Twitter Here.

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