Touted as a future England captain while on United's books as a teenager, John Curtis never fulfilled his potential at Old Trafford. He left in 2000 and enjoyed a successful spell with Blackburn Rovers, helping them regain Premier League status in 2001. He then plied his trade for numerous clubs outside the top-flight before swapping England for sunnier climes earlier this year...
What are you doing at the moment?
I’m in my living room, which is about 35 metres from the beach on the Gold Coast. I figured if I was coming all the way to Australia I may as well open my curtains and look at the Pacific Ocean each morning.
How did you end up playing for Gold Coast United in the A-League?
I had a bit of a nightmare the last couple of years in England, so I started looking for other things. To be honest, I was trying to follow in Terry Cooke’s footsteps and go to America. But the football seasons don’t tally up. A friend suggested Australia and I thought, ‘Why not?’. I came out in May, had a two-week trial and after a week the manager told me he wanted to sign me. It’s a nice part of the world so I thought I’d give it a go.
What’s the football like in Australia?
Very, very different. It’s almost like a total football style – there’s a lot of pass and move. It’s nice football to watch but it lacks the structure of English football where people stick rigidly to formations and stay in their positions. Here, everybody seems to play man-for-man and follow their man around the pitch wherever he goes. In England, if you move out of your position you’ll get exploited.
And the lifestyle?
It’s absolutely fantastic. Summer’s approaching now and we’re already starting to train earlier and earlier to avoid being out there in the middle of the day. We'll get to the point where I'll be finished by 11am and, theoretically, on the beach by 11:30am. It’s a great lifestyle but don’t get me wrong, it’s also a very professional set-up here at Gold Coast United.
What are your abiding memories of your time at United?
It was fantastic, a terrific experience. I was lucky enough to work with some top coaches and also some great players.
As far as league debuts go, yours was pretty routine for a defender, wasn’t it?
Yeah, it was. My Premier League debut was against Barnsley and we won 7-1, which was obviously nice. But