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Q&A with Crystal Palace, Arsenal and England LEGEND Kenny Sansom

Ashley Calver recently got the chance to have a Q&A with Crystal Palace, Arsenal and England LEGEND Kenny Sansom.  

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Kenny for answering our questions and wish him the greatest success in the future.  

You can follow and support him on twitter here @kennysansom03

You did of course start your career at Crystal Palace, were you there as a youth player? How did you first get involved there? 

Because I was part of the England Youth Schoolboy set up there was a lot of interest, however Crystal Palace was close to my family and that’s why I signed. It was a fantastic time of my life, it was the start of the best time of my life. My family had some great days, personally and professionally it was probably the happiest time of my life.

The transfer to Arsenal some say was a strange one involving cash plus Clive Allen for your services with Clive only recently signing for Arsenal, when did you discover they were interested in you and did it take a lot of persuading to leave Palace? 

I received no monetary reward whatsoever in that transfer. I was offered a 3 year contract by Crystal Palace which I was ready to accept, but one or two days later I was told to go to Arsenal to have talks. I had no say in the matter. I didn’t think I was ready to make such a big move at that time, I was only 19, but I was persuaded it was the right thing and professionally it proved to be the right move.

What about the club back then, we obviously see from the outside the way it’s run at present, was it as professional and as good as any other in the country at that time too?

I was very naive at that time and had no idea, I just put pen to paper. I just enjoyed my football, the camaraderie, everything.

We do of course have to talk about your England career. You were pretty much ever-present once you got in the side, 86 caps what an achievement, were those the proudest days of your career and how did you feel that first time you got called up? 

My proudest moment was the England Schoolboys call up. Wembley is a massive stadium, but when you are 15 it is 10 times bigger! Of course I enjoyed the professional occasions but its the schoolboy stuff that stays with me the most. I suppose I’m still a big kid really.

What was the experience of working with Sir Bobby Robson at that time too? Or just Bobby as he was then, a gentleman of the game and many people’s hero, what was he like to be managed by? 

Bobby was a true character, more than a character in fact. He was a warm, friendly but massively knowledgeable man, I loved him. Bobby was very honest to us as players, which made it easier for us to understand and know our job on the pitch.

You worked with some top managers and players in your time, is there any one on the pitch as well as off it that influenced you more than others during your career?

On the pitch it was Bryan Robson, he was the most honest player I have ever played with. The best captain hands down! The best manager / coach was Terry Venables. I have worked for many great managers and many great coaches, but Terry was incredible at both.

If we skip forward to the present day, your currently doing some after dinner speaking and everything that goes with that, are you enjoying that? I’m sure fans would love to hear your stories so how can they see you doing that? 

I am really enjoying the guest speaking, I am a chatterbox and I love talking to people. Palace and Arsenal fans will always hold a special place in my heart, I did some hospitality work at the Palace v Man City game the other week, and the reception I got really moved me. I am a normal bloke at the end of the day, I am a working class boy from a South London estate and I don’t think I’ve changed that much.

And finally what is the future for you, I know you did some media and radio in the past, are you looking to get involved in that side again? 

I am loving the corporate work I am doing, but I still think I have something to offer the game of football. I enjoy getting involved with kids at grass-roots, and would love to get back into TV and radio.

Follow Ash on twitter - https://twitter.com/AshleyCalver1

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