Throughout the years, I’ve come across many dressing room pranks. Some were better than others and some were truly unforgettable!
I played alongside Erik Thorstvedt when he came over to Tottenham and I helped him out because he had a bad start to his time in England. I remember telling him before we played Middlesbrough away that it is customary for the away fans to applaud you, so you should put your gloves down in the goal and clap them back. I said that’s a tradition.
As we were coming back onto the pitch at half time, I saw him running back towards the goal and I said to the lads, "Watch this." Erik put his gloves down and as he applauded their fans, they started throwing Mars bars and coins at him. He was fuming after the game. It took him a while to grasp the English humour and couldn't quite understand that if you let someone in a football dressing room know it's a secret - or worse still a weakness - then it will be used against you!
When Ben Roberts first came to Albion, we found out that he didn't like insects. There must've been a spider or something in the dressing room and that's how one of us found out about it. Adam Virgo had a tarantula that he used to feed live crickets to. We asked Virgs to bring some live crickets in a container and someone got Ben's keys out of his pocket, opened his car door and put them in his car with the lid slightly off. When Ben was driving home, all the crickets were jumping around inside his car!
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If ever there was a player who wrongly thought they were trendy, and came into training wearing some outrageous gear, then it would normally be hung up on the lights or hanging down from the ceiling. If you had some trainers that were horrible, they would be hung up from a light tied up, but in about 50 knots!
You had a choice; either you stayed there and undid all the knots, or you just cut the laces and bought some new ones!
At Tottenham as an apprentice, you had to clean your own boots and were given two professionals' boots to clean as well. I had was given Paul Miller's and Ossie Ardilles's. One pair was massive, the other was small. If the player just flung his boots off on a matchday without untying his laces, then it was your job to undo them. The kitman would then hang it on the pegs.
If they were going to an away game, then they would travel on a Friday and you would have to clean yours and your pro's boots before they left. If you didn't do it properly and undo your pro's boots, the kitman used to cut the lace at the top. Then if a player's boots came off in the middle of the game, he would end up blaming you!
When I was apprentice, we had to collect all the pro's kit in and put them in these massive wicker baskets. The minibus would turn up and take all the apprentices back to the stadium from the training ground. The driver would leave dead on 2pm and wouldn't wait for anyone! Even if someone was running behind trying to get on the bus!