Steve Nicol, Liverpool legend and manager of MLS’s New England Revolution, was the most versatile footballer of the 1980s. In his time at Liverpool, the Scotland international played 343 times and scored 36 of his career 38 goals at the Anfield outfit. Nicol spent 14 years in Merseyside, winning five First Division titles, 3 FA Cups, and the 1984 European Cup. The defender represented his country 27 times, most notably at the 1986 World Cup. MLS Talk had the opportunity to ask Nicol about the development of MLS, his view on end line officials, and his emotions after the 1989 FA Cup Final.
Alexander Fairchild (AF): As a coach of the New England Revolution since 1999, what developments have you noticed in Major League Soccer over the past decade?
Steve Nicol (SN): The biggest development is the interest in MLS around the world. When I started here 11 years ago, basically outside the United States, no one knew anything about MLS. Now everywhere in the world, everyone knows about MLS, and obviously our big-name players. And now teams are sending scouts here to look at younger American players.
AF: What is your favorite memory as a Liverpool player?
SN: Too many to pick just one, but when you’re on a team that’s winning and playing good football, it’s hard to explain how enjoyable it is, not only on the field, but off the field, as well.
AF: Do you believe that MLS can one day reach the quality of the top flight leagues in Europe?
SN: I think it’s too early to say that’s what would happen. Certainly with the interest from the rest of the world and interest from players around the world, it’s possible one day given a change in the wage structure. But that’s many years away. But yes, it could happen.
AF: What are your opinions on the following topics: Goal-Line Technology
SN: We absolutely should have it.
AF: End-Line Officials
SN: I believe it would be a waste of money and time.
AF: After playing for Kenny Dalglish in your time at Liverpool, what is your fondest memory of King Kenny?
SN: Too many to mention, but when you walk through the door of a new club – or you walk through the door of the European champions – and a player of his caliber is the first person to meet you and look after you, that says a lot about the person.
AF: How did you feel after defeating Everton 3-2 in the 1989 FA Cup Final? Describe the emotions of yourself and the team?
SN: It was more one of relief, because we felt that if we didn’t win it, we’d be letting people down.
AF: As a child, who inspired you to become a professional footballer?
SN: I wouldn’t say any particular person inspired me. I just loved the game. From as long as I can remember, I always just loved the game.
AF: Which competition is the most challenging to play in? The First Division, European Cup, FA Cup, or FIFA World Cup.
SN: The World Cup.
AF: How does winning a cup as a manager compare to winning one as a player?
SN: To be honest, one’s as satisfying as the other. You just won a cup. Player, coach, whatever it is – it’s just as satisfying.