Monday, 12 March 2012


One thing I love about these twinterviews is that two are never the same. By their very nature, they are fairly impersonal affairs, as all communication is via the keyboard or touchscreen. As such, you have no idea what your twinterviewee is doing while talking to you. They could be sitting in front of a computer, playing on their phone, at home, out with friends, at an airport, anything. Some chats are wrapped up inside an hour. Others take longer, days even. This falls into the latter category.

Ebbsfleet United midfielder Neil Barrett isn't a prolific tweeter by any means. Therefore, I was delighted when he took up the offer of a twinterview. Having seen he was sitting on 99 appearances for the club, I was keen to speak to him before he chalked up a century. The Fleet had no Saturday fixture, so answers either side of the weekend suited us both fine.

Barrett, in his second spell at Ebbsfleet, has experienced much during his 11-year professional career. A Chelsea trainee, he went on to play for Portsmouth, Dundee, Livingston and Woking before winning the FA Trophy with the Fleet in 2008. Two seasons at York City followed, and then a short stay with Havant & Waterlooville before his return to Stonebridge Road. This, I thought, was a man with plenty of tales to tell.

Your next Fleet appearance will be your 100th. Did you know that? And are you bothered about milestones like that?

I knew I was getting close. It's certainly an achievement and something I'll be very proud to have done, if I manage it!

What do you remember about your first game for the club?

I remember it being at home and winning, I think it was 2-1. The thing I remember most is Gary MacDonald rupturing his achilles.

Whose results do you look out for on a Saturday evening, and in what order?

I'd tend to look at results in our league, then old clubs and then how my mates have got on. Craig Stone looks at Gillingham first

What team should England pick for their Euro 2012 opener against France on June 11?

I'd go Hart, Walker, Cahill, Jones, Cole, Parker, Barry, Rooney, A Johnson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck. Spain to win, technically so good.

They say travel broadens the mind. You've played for clubs up and down the UK, so is that true for a footballer too?

You certainly grow up quickly. I feel pretty lucky to have had that opportunity to travel. York was my favourite place to live.

I read that you had a trial with New York/New Jersey a few years back. What happened there?

I went for a week, it went really well and they offered me a deal. As I flew back, they changed director of football who then decided against it.

Who are the best players you've played with and against?

With: Robert Prosinecki and Peter Crouch. Against: Henrik Larsson, Craig Bellamy, Juninho, Frank and Ed de Boer.

Why did you decide to give Liam Daish a call earlier in the season?

I left Havant for financial reasons, so called Liam to see if there was a possibility of coming back, to which he agreed.

How had Ebbsfleet changed since your first spell there?

Liam's not changed a bit! Or Macca [Paul McCarthy], Docks [Ian Docker] or Ron [Hillyard]. Many of the players have changed apart from Westy [Michael West], Ricky [Shakes] and Stoney [Craig Stone]. It was strange.

Who are your best friends in football?

Stacy Long, Mark Ricketts, Michael Gash, Courtney Pitt, Ben Purkiss, Dan Parslow, Richard Pacquette and Alex Lawless.

How hot do you have your chicken at Nando's?

I'm embarrassing in Nando's and with food in general. I'm so fussy. I have my chicken plain, not even lemon and herb!!

Best game you've played in?

FA Trophy Final at Wembley against Torquay. Stoke and Bolton in FA Cup. But my best game played would have been West Brom at home for Portsmouth.

Craig Stone said you were pushing Tom Phipp for the 'biggest moaner' tag at the Fleet. Here's your chance to respond...

I used to be bad but I think I'm better now! Stoney would get worst dressed if you'd asked me that. Haha.

What sort of clobber does he turn up in?

He wears tracksuits that don't match. The other night I thought he had a fancy dress party to go to.

Two other team-mate questions. Who's the smartest and who's the best dancer on a night out?

I've not been on a night out yet. Lorro [Paul Lorraine] keeps telling me how good he looks on a night out. Ricky would be best dancer, easy.

Tell us something we wouldn't know about the gaffer...

Occasionally he works as a stand-in for Zak Dingle on Emmerdale.

Imagine you're the boss and money's no object. Which Conference player do you go out and sign for the Fleet?

Jamie Vardy from Fleetwood. I didn't know much about him before this season but he was very good against us a couple of weeks ago.

And finally - you've got one tweet to tell the world about Ebbsfleet United. Go...

A worldwide local community football club with honest, hard-working and generous staff and supporters watching proper football.

You can follow @NeilChezBarrett on Twitter

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