The Gooner speaks with
The Gooner: Everything considered, you’ve lived the kind of life that makes for a good book. Why has it taken so long for your autobiography to appear? Peter Storey: Because no-one asked me before, frankly! How did you get the nickname 'Snouty'? I got it when I was in the youth team, some nicknames stick and other last for a little while and then disappear. This one seemed to stick. I think it was David Court who actually started it. Was it to do with your nose? Not really, I think sticking your nose in or something, I don’t know. Was the Swindon League Cup Final game as awful to play in as it was to watch? The pitch was in a terrible state due to the Horse of the Year show, but that’s an excuse really. We should have beaten them, but they played better and won. By contrast, the Ajax team that you beat in the 1970 Fairs Cup campaign went on to win the next three European Cups. When you played them, did you think they were a bit special? They were a great team, yeah. They had more or less the whole Dutch team with a couple of exceptions. Do you have a memory of specifically trying to compete with Cruyff? He was the best player I played against. Do you feel you won your battle with him over the two games? I don’t think I did too bad, no. Going back to the final of the Fairs Cup, did you really believe that the team could win the trophy after that first leg?
1971 Double legend Peter Storey, whose autobiography ‘True Storey’ was recently published
I did, yeah. We were 3-0 down in the first leg and at the time Anderlecht were one of the top teams in Europe. If it had stayed that way I don’t think we’d have fancied our chances. But when Ray Kennedy came on as a sub and scored a goal, all of a sudden, 3-1 doesn’t look quite so bad. You’ve only got to win 2-0, you’ve won the game. At 3-0 you’ve got no chance, at 3-1 you’ve got a chance. Like in all these European competitions, that away goal counts for a lot. In the game at Highbury we really fancied our chances. We went out and we were all over them, and the rest is history. People who were there talk about how good the atmosphere was on that Fairs Cup night at Highbury? Do you remember it as being something unusual? It was the greatest atmosphere I’ve experienced, even better than a Wembley final. Even before we’d scored the first goal? Yes, even the crowd thought we had a good chance. That one goal makes a hell of a difference. You think you’ve only got to win 2-0, it’s not impossible. We went at them from the start and I think we overwhelmed them. They got a bit scared. I’ve seen pictures of Frank McLintock being chaired by the fans after the game. Did you get off the pitch quickly or were you engulfed as well? I got off the pitch quickly. I remember sitting in the dressing room with just Peter Simpson. You played Lazio the season after. I’ve heard different accounts of the brawl after the game in Italy, what’s yours? The game was very bad tempered. I think we drew. There was a lot of bad feeling as the Italians – as they do – were kicking and punching and all the niggly tricks. Afterwards we went to a reception in some restaurant in Rome which is quite unusual for a game like that because normally you go your own way, back to your own hotel and have a meal and that’s it. You don’t mix with them after the game. To be fair, I’m not sure
4 what started it, but apparently Ray Kennedy went outside the restaurant and there were a couple of Lazio players who started arguing and it all went off from there. In the end everyone was bundled out and there was a kind of riot going on. Then the police turned up, got their guns out and everything. Funnily enough a lot of the reporters never even knew about it. They’d all cleared off back to their hotels, so the stories they got were second hand. Possibly why there is more than one account. I don’t think anyone’s sure what went on. It was a kind of riot with pushing and shoving and punching, but the reporters weren’t there. Do you have a memory of the Italians presenting you with male leather handbags, one of which was reputedly thrown back at a Lazio player to spark the fight? No, I’ve never heard of that. You only missed two league games all season in 1970-71, but one was at White Hart Lane when the title was clinched. Did you attend the match with the team? I did, I was sitting on the bench. It’s hard to explain. You want to win obviously, but you just don’t feel part of it really. Like Jimmy Greaves in the World Cup. Who would you say was our most undervalued player in the ’71 Double side?
I liked to try and, not break their legs, but get a couple of heavy tackles in early on because you knew the first five, ten minutes you’re not going to get your name taken
Peter Simpson. Maybe Ray Kennedy. It was more of a team effort than one or two stars really. We all played together and helped each other out. Aside from the occasional reunion dinner, do you keep in touch with any of the players? Not really. I speak to Bob McNab, Sammy Nelson and John Radford on the phone a couple of times a year. You looked quite at home in both full back positions and later in midfield – where did you feel most comfortable? I liked playing as the defensive midfield player, but a lot of people thought I was best at full back. Perhaps I was really. Maybe right back was my best position.