Dyer Admits to Nerves Ahead of First Game Back Home
Tuesday, 15th Mar 2011 11:56
Kieron Dyer admits to being nervous ahead of his first game for the Blues at Portman Road in 12 years. The 32-year-old loanee from West Ham’s last match for Town on home territory was the 1998/99 play-off semi-final defeat to Bolton Wanderers in which he scored twice.
Dyer said: “I’m quite nervous! I don’t know what to expect. I remember when Craig Bellamy went back to his home town club Cardiff earlier in the season he said that the week was a blur.
“I woke up on Friday morning and I had about 15 missed calls on my phone from the manager, next thing I’m at Leeds and playing back for Ipswich. It has been quite a blur. I’m quite nervous about the game, which is probably a good thing.”
The midfielder says Bellamy warned him about what to expect in the Championship: “He rang me on Friday and said ‘I can guarantee you that you’ll have the biggest wake-up call!’. When I left the Championship with Ipswich we were a great passing side, we used to pass teams off the park. He said, ’It’s not like that any more!’.
“To be fair to both teams [on Saturday], the pitch was horrific and it was hard to get the ball down. To see the ball flying over my head continuously was a bit of a wake-up call.
“I was expecting a bit more football to be played. I suppose it was a welcome to the Championship! Other than that I enjoyed it and I was really surprised to start and to get through 70 minutes. I thought the manager might put me on the bench.
“But I got through the game and now we’re at home with a decent pitch I think we’ll get it down. With the midfield three of me, Jimmy and Grant, all players who have played in the Premiership, it should hold us in good stead for the next few games.”
Football wasn’t the only thing on his mind over the weekend with his partner Josie close to giving birth: “Saturday was the due day. My car got driven up on the Friday. I thought that knowing my luck I’d be on the coach for five hours, get to the hotel and have to drive straight back! But fortunately the baby hasn’t come yet. Sunday will be perfect so I don’t miss any football.”
The midfielder, who already has three children, has mixed memories of a previous game for the Blues against Watford. In March 1999 he broke his leg and subsequently scored a goal, not all of which he’s looking to reprise this evening: “Hopefully we won’t have a repeat of that! Maybe the goal, but not the broken leg.
“Micah Hyde tackled me and I split the bone but it hadn’t fractured completely through. I scored the goal and then a minute later I twisted the bone and it completely went through. I think I’m the only player to score with a broken leg!”
Famously the incident led to an unusual half-time Portman Road PA announcement: “Could Kieron’s mum come to the dressing room?”
Capped 33 times by England, the former Westbourne High School pupil believes the current Town squad should have done better this season: “They’ve underachieved massively. If they can beat Cardiff and then get a draw at Leeds, they’ve definitely underachieved this season.
“There’s a lot of talk that the players didn’t get on with the old manager but there are no excuses because once you get out on that pitch, that’s when you give 110% and with the squad here from what I’ve seen in the last few days, they’re the ones who should be in the play-offs.
“They’ve definitely underachieved but with the new manager and the new coaching staff, and if they can get certain players’ contracts sorted for next season, then they have a great base to really push for the Premier League next year.”
Despite Avram Grant's view that he's only at Town to get games under his belt, Dyer says he’s looking at the month differently: “I don’t like to say I’ve come here to get fit because I think that’s disrespectful to Ipswich and disrespectful to the fans.
“When I’m out there I’m going to give 110% and hopefully shine and help this team. It’s a shame I didn’t come a couple of weeks later as I could have played in the East Anglian derby, which would have been nice. Stupid fixture list, I guess!”
The ex-Newcastle man sponsors Town’s U16s, with another former Blue Titus Bramble fulfilling a similar role with the academy’s U9s, and both have helped out the club’s youth set-up for some time: “We’re always grateful to Ipswich and have always tried to help out, especially when they were going through administration.”
He says plenty of other high profile players do similar things with their money: “I’d say 80 or 90% of the Premiership do a lot but they don’t want the publicity for it.
“There have been many times when I’ve donated large sums of money but I don’t do it for the press or just so people can say ‘Look at him’.
“Footballers have got a good side, a soft side, and not wanting the publicity from it is a credit to them.”
As for the future after football, Dyer is already ruling out becoming a manager: “I couldn’t manage players like myself or Craig Bellamy! I’d have a heart attack!
“I’d like to coach youth teams or kids, something like that. I’ve given the young players at West Ham advice.
“Myself and Scott Parker are doing our coaching badges in the summer and it’s a good thing to have if you decide to go down that avenue.”
But he feels that’s still a little way off and that he’s still got plenty of football left in him: “Maybe in a way me not playing that much football might have given me a lot more petrol in the tank.
“A saving grace is that even after all these injuries and me getting a bit older, my pace has never gone, which is a good sign.”
Photo: Action Images
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