Dyer: The Most Demanding Challenge of My Life
Sunday, 29th Aug 2021 16:51
Town’s U23s manager Kieron Dyer says Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, which starts this Sunday evening at 9pm on Channel 4, was the “most demanding challenge of his life” but one which he is glad to have undertaken.
Dyer is one of 12 celebrities who are put through physically and mentally testing SAS selection tasks and interrogations on the Hebridean island of Raasay.
The former Blues, Newcastle, West Ham, Middlesbrough and QPR midfielder is joined on the show by singer Alexandra Burke, rower James Cracknell, Kerry Katona formerly of Atomic Kitten, rapper and Love Island contestent Wes Nelson, presenter and businesswoman Saira Khan, ex-Geordie Shore star Vicky Pattinson, TV personality Jake Quickenden, presenter Ore Oduba, BMX and track cyclist Shanaze Reade and Paralympian Aled Davies.
Reflecting on what must be TV’s toughest reality show the 42-year-old, who previously spent time in the I’m a Celebrity jungle, told TWTD: “The best way of describing it is that I probably trained for six weeks like an absolute madman.
“I had the weighted vests, I did my runs at night, I’d run in my boots, I’d be in the gym, I do my swims.
“When you get on the show they ask you to do the challenges that they ask the contestants for the non-celebrity civilian version of the show to do. They have to do these trials and challenges in certain times or certain distances to even be considered.
“And I performed so well in the challenges that if I was just a civilian, I could have entered the show, so I was prepared physically.
“But after day one, I realised that all the training that I’d done meant absolutely nothing because nothing can prepare you for the terrain.
“It’s alright running on a road or in a park, up a hill, but that’s different to terrain where your legs and your ankles can just give at any time.
“You can’t prepare for the cold. I was laughing because people come to my house and say my house is like a sauna because it’s so hot.
“Obviously I lived in Newcastle for nine years and Newcastle is like Dubai compared to where they sent us in Scotland. I have never experienced cold like it!
“I’ve dipped my feet in the sea at Felixstowe a few times and that seems like a Jacuzzi compared to the seas up in Scotland.
“You just could not prepare for what was to come. And on top of that, you’ve got intimidating DSs [directing staff] that could just rip your head off in seconds, are very intimidating, they swear a lot.
“I went to places physically I never thought were possible, and this as someone who has had probably 15 operations in their career.
“It took me places mentally that I never thought were possible. Again, I’ve lived a lot in my young life and it was the most demanding challenge of my life.”
The 33-times-capped England international says his family laid down the gauntlet after comments he made when watching the previous series.
“There were two reasons I did the show,” he said. “One, I’m competitive, even when I play games with the kids and the wife or join in training, I still want to win every five-a-side, I still want to win every board game, you’ve always got that competitive fire inside you.
“I can remember I was quite late to the series. The first season I watched was the one with [boxer] Tony Bellew. I was watching it with the wife and kids and I was saying ‘I could do this, I would have done it this way’ and they were all laughing and saying I wouldn’t last a second in there.
“It was like they threw a challenge down to me, so I rang up my friend David Manasseh, who used to be my agent, and said ‘Get me on this SAS programme please, if I haven’t got any coaching gigs at the time I’m all for it’.
“Even he texted, ‘Are you bloody mad? With your injured, broken down body?’ or something like that with a smiley emoji. I said ‘Yes, just get me on it’.
“Two weeks later, he rang me back and said ‘We’ve got you a casting for the show’. So it happened very quickly.
“The second reason why I wanted to do it was because when I left Anderlecht and [U23s coach] Craig [Bellamy, who he had been shadowing], I’d spoken to Bryan [Klug] and Lee [O’Neill] quite a bit and I knew I was getting offered the U23s role.
“It was meant to happen a lot quicker than it did, but obviously the pandemic was starting to take full effect and we all know that [former Blues owner] Marcus [Evans] likes to save some pennies here and there, so he wasn’t going to employ me earlier than he needed to.
“When they did come to me with the proposal they said they could see me starting the new role at the end of October, early November 2020, and it just happened that the show was being filmed early October.
“I wanted to do the show because I was going into this job and one of the things I talk to the young players about is them not realising what their bodies can endure.
“They think they’re tired but they’ve got so much more to give. The human body is the greatest design, it can do things that are incredible at times.
“And the mental toughness that they need when they feel like quitting as well. They have to have that mental approach that they’ll never quit, so I just thought that the sometimes the best way to teach people is to show them.
“I thought if I was to go on the show and after day one I’m throwing in my armband and quitting because [the show’s chief instructor] Ant Middleton’s shouting at me or I’m finding a task hard, it’s going to be very hard for me to come back and be the U23s manager to this group because they’ll laugh and say they’re not listening to a word I say because I’m mentally one of the weakest people. I thought that was another good reason why I should do the show.
“I’m just so thankful that I did the show because I think it enhanced me as a person, it definitely enhanced me mentally, it improved me as a coach.
“Yes, they have completely different methods but every word they say [is for a reason]. All you see on the TV when you watch the show is them being horrible and shouting and swearing, but every little word, every way it’s delivered there’s method behind their madness.
“They’ve got very powerful messages, everything is not to be horrible, everything is to try and improve that person and to make them a better person or heal that person because every person in there will have their own side stories.
“I can’t wait for it to start on Sunday. I kind of know the episode breakdowns but I don’t know how they’re edited. It’ll be just as new to me as it will to everyone watching.”
He says Middleton will be spending time at Portman Road when he visits Ipswich later in the year.
“What’s great is that all the players know, even the senior players know from the first team and are already asking questions, ‘What are the DSs like?’,” Dyer continued.
“One of the good things to come out of the show is that I still speak to Ant, I know that Ant is doing a tour and he’s coming to Ipswich in November, I think Foxy [DS Jason Fox] has just announced he’s coming in January.
“I said to Ant that when he’s down in Ipswich to do his show that night, I’d ask the club if they’d like him to come and speak to the players and the staff.
“Not just my players but the first team players because I think it would be of huge benefit. I told Rollsy [director of performance Andy Rolls], I told [CEO] Mark Ashton about it, they seemed on-board with it.
“I told them this in June/July and November is a long way away but they said closer to the time to come with the plans.
“These DSs, because they’re so popular, all football clubs are using them. I know Ant did pre-season with Birmingham, I know Foxy’s been at Aston Villa. I know they’ve been at a lot of Premier League clubs and that these guys can charge up to 10 grand a pop.
“Ant said because he’s already in Ipswich and because he likes me, he’ll come in and do it for nothing, which was very nice of him.
“If we can get Ant Middleton coming to speak to all the players and the staff, that will only improve us mentally and it’s something that I’m really looking forward to.”
Asked whether he can give any hints about how he did on the show, he laughed: “I can’t say anything, all I would say is that I think the young players won’t be calling me mentally weak!”
Photos: Matchday Images/Contributed
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