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Darren Anderton in ITV Euro 96 podcast - The Dentist's Chair created a club environment in the England Camp

Darren Anderton in ITV Euro 96 podcast - "The Dentist's Chair created a club environment in the England Camp"

ENGLAND Euro 96 star Darren Anderton says despite criticism Gazza and the England team faced for the infamous Dentist's Chair incident in the tournament lead-up, it fostered the team spirit to spur them on to success.

Darren and a number of other England players including Paul Gascoigne, Steve McManaman and Teddy Sheringham were pictured soaked in booze during a pre-season trip to the far East in Hong Kong, leading to lurid tabloid headlines going into Euro 96.

Speaking to Mark Pougatch for ITV's Euro 96 Relived podcast, the former Spurs winger, asked to recount his memories of the events that night, says:

"I can't remember it [Laughs]. Bit of a blur, bit of a blur. To be fair, a lot's been said about it, and, of course, we didn't start the tournament very well, and didn't play well in that first game with the Swiss. But for me, and all the lads were part of that, it created a club environment, which is what you need. Lots of egos in international football - to get them all to be on the same sheet and get on as a good young set of lads is what you need. And there were great characters in that team. It was a great night, no doubt about it, in and around Gazza's birthday. We'd been in China and Hong Kong, it was the end of the season, and Terry was that way: you do your work, but also he'd let you have your night out and let your hair down a little bit. As long as you behaved, of course, and maybe we could have done a little bit better there.'

Asked for his thoughts on the allegations about what happened on the plane home, when two TVs were said to have been smashed, and whether he felt the media were out to get them after that, he says: 

"Oh, absolutely. I mean, we get the Hong Kong thing, and the dentist's chair and the pictures and everything else, but the plane thing was nothing. You know, one of the TV monitors wasn't working, was broken. And that was it really. So I remember from there, getting off the plane, then getting picked up by cars and that sort of thing, and it was already on the radio! And I honestly had no idea. That's what was so strange about it. It wasn't like something had happened and we were like oh no, what's gone on here and who did this or who did that? I literally didn't know about it. You know, it was a 14 hour flight, few the boys had a couple of beers, some played cards, some watched films, we were up on the top deck on our own. That was it. It was such a surprise, and so in that sense, did you feel like they were after us? A little bit."

After England beat Holland 4-1, the atmosphere in the country totally changed, even when leaving the team hotel to go to games at Wembley, he says: "You see that sort of thing when pop stars around the world are coming in and out of hotels and things like that. So it was really surreal, and something we really enjoyed as lads. You know, the stick we'd taken before and we'd now turned it all around and we were being loved. And on the way down the A40, the M40, the bridges, crowds everywhere coming into Wembley. I remember Alan Shearer always going up to the front of the bus and putting Football's Coming Home on - we really took it all in and enjoyed it. Those were really special times. Of course, [it] didn't end how we wanted it to but those journeys into Wembley were very special."

Asked if it was one of the happiest times of his footballing life, he says:

"Absolutely. I mean it has to be. I went through so many emotions that summer. The best summer of my life, no doubt about it. Of course it could have been even better, maybe should have been even better - I definitely think that. But in terms of memories, talking about it now, with unfortunately no tournament this summer, but so many things were being spoken about, about Euro 96 within the build up to that, that it's lovely to reminisce over it."

Darren Anderton's interview - which also includes the thoughts of Swiss international and Spurs team-mate Ramon Vega - is the second in a series of podcasts hosted by Mark Pougatch for ITV's Euro 96 Relived with a stellar line-up of legends who will give their own reflections on the tournament to help give fans a real insight into their mindsets, the era, and the atmosphere.

They include: 

  • Ep1: Tony Adams podcast (Tournament Preview) 
  • Ep2: Darren Anderton and Ramon Vega vodcast (released Tuesday May 12) - on England's match with Switzerland, which airs on the Hub and ITV4 from Monday May 11.
  • Ep3: Steve McManaman and Ally McCoist vodcast (released Friday May 15) - on England's match with Scotland which airs on the Hub and ITV4 from Sunday May 17.
  • Ep4: Teddy Sheringham and Jordi Cruyff vodcast (released Tuesday May 19) - on England's match with Holland, which airs on the Hub and ITV4 from Wednesday May 20.
  • Ep5: David Seaman and Stuart Pearce vodcast (released Friday May 22) - on England's match with Spain, which airs on the Hub and ITV4 from Saturday May 23.
  • Ep6: Paul Ince and Christian Ziege vodcast (released Tuesday May 26) - on England's semi-final with Germany which airs on the Hub and ITV4 from Thursday May 28.

With Euro 2020 postponed for twelve months, the ITV Hub has raided its archives to provide football fans with a slice of sports nostalgia as the platform unearths every match from 1996's tournament, hosted in England, for Euro 96 Relived.

Airing from May 11, ITV Hub takes a trip down sporting memory lane and will transmit all 31 games from one of the most closely contested tournaments in recent history. 

In addition, ITV4 will also play out the five games that featured the England football team in some of their most memorable head to heads, as well as the final between Germany and the Czech Republic.

In the absence of live football, the lead-in to the tournament features a series of classic big matches returning to ITV's main channel which have so far included the 1987 FA Cup final, with Coventry City taking on Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal v Man United in the 1979 FA Cup final. Coming up on Saturday May 16 is England v Cameroon in the 1990 World Cup, with the 1989 Liverpool v Arsenal title decider, and England's game against Colombia in the 2018 World Cup in Russia among the matches in the following weeks.

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