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superblue24

Director
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
3,192
Location
Ipswich
Picked this up off the net.....quite a good read for those who remember the legends of the early 90's...

Andy Ansah’s wing wizardry for Southend United between 1990 and 1996 helped propel the club into the upper echelons of English football, as the Shrimpers bagged back-to-back promotions from Division Four to Division Two.

Many fans will remember him for his glorious goals and numerous assists, which led to the legendary ‘Ooh-Andy Ansah’ chant. Since Andy retired from the game he has carved out a successful career for himself as a football consultant / director for films and adverts, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Pele and Ronaldinho. Earlier this year he was named one of the 30 most influential black footballers in the UK along with two other former Southend players, Chris Powell and Chris Ramsay. Ed Beavan caught up with him back in late 2007 - and for the first time the interview is reproduced on the internet.
Andy, what are you up to at the moment?
I’m currently working on an advert for Nike Evolution for the European Championships, it’s a two-and-a-half minute film and I work with Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez, and next month I’ll be working with Ronaldinho. I’m based in south-east London with my wife and three children, but spend a lot of time working in Los Angeles. My son Zak is an academy player at Arsenal and has been there four years.
How did your career in directing football scenes in films and adverts come about?
I started out as an actor in Dream Team and then found my niche as a football director in films, to try and make football in films more believable, so obviously it helped having been a player. The first film I worked on was Mike Bassett: England Manager, where I met Pele and worked with him in Brazil, that was fantastic. I also worked on Goal 1 and 2 which were filmed in Los Angeles, Newcastle and Real Madrid, which was great, and I also worked on the first ever Bollywood football film last year, called Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, and I was football director. It’s a long old journey from Roots Hall to Hollywood!
You signed for Southend late in the 1989/90 season, tell us about how it all happened.
I signed for Southend on deadline day. I was at Brentford and had played a reserve game at Roots Hall, and scored a couple of goals. Richard Cadette, who was at Brentford, told me David Webb really wanted to sign me. I played for Brentford in an FA Cup quarter-final at Anfield, but things weren’t working out for me there, and David Webb was still showing an interest. On deadline day he called and Brentford let me talk to him, and I signed, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Those days at Southend, nothing can beat that, all the players, Keith Jones, Chrissy Powell who went on to play for England, all the boys always reminisce about those Southend days, what we had then you’ll never get back. I was chatting to Brett Angell about it last year.
Tell us about your memories at Southend.
My first game was Maidstone away and then I remember a game away at Colchester we won 2-0, and then I tweaked my hamstring and didn’t play again, but we won promotion at Peterborough when David Crown scored both goals. [For the record Andy’s first goal was in a 3-2 win v Rochdale at Roots Hall on April 14, 1990]. And then we got promotion the next season. Playing under David Webb was great, he was such an honest manager, he always made you feel confident and gave you a licence to go and express yourself, like Steve Coppell did when I was a youngster at Crystal Palace. We were such a confident team we actually used to work out how much bonus money we’d get before games, we were so sure we’d win. It was amazing but we knew we’d win most of our games. We were so confident in ourselves and had such a good spirit, even the reserve team players would be with the boys all the time. I remember we played Bristol City, and Andy Cole was playing for them, he’s a good friend of mine, and we beat them 2-1 on a Friday night and I told him to stay down and come out with the boys. That kind of stuff doesn’t happen now! The camaraderie we had as a team was so tight.
What about some of the individual players in that team?
There was Chrissy Powell, Ian Benjamin, unbelievable players, Brett Angell. I can go through the whole team now. Paul Sansome, what a goalkeeper, very underrated, he was the older statesman of the team, he grounded everybody and was a real gentleman, and he was like a father figure to everybody, he would put you in line. Dean Austin at right back played behind me, fantastic footballer, Spencer Prior, who went on to have a great career, Andy Edwards, now a coach at the Arsenal academy. Then Chrissy Powell, what a player, we’re still great friends now. In the midfield, Peter Butler and Dave Martin, amazing players, and then your manager Steve Tilson. I still come down once or twice a season to see Tilly, he’s been such a great servant to Southend United Football Club, he’s an unsung hero and I’m glad he’s got such recognition as a manager. I think he was very underrated as a player, his service to the club as a footballer was second to none. And then upfront, Brett Angell and Ian Benjamin. Those two guys were phenomenal. What a player Benji was. People looked at him and thought he wasn’t an athlete but technically he was superb, and his understanding of the game was brilliant, he never got substituted and was a fit guy.
So what about that day at Bury when you set up Benji for the winner which sealed promotion?
I have amazing memories of that day. I was playing against a couple of mates who were at Bury, Ronnie Mauge who I played with in the youth team at Charlton, and Roger Stanislaus who I knew from Brentford. Pat Scully got sent off so we played with ten men, the tackle he got sent off for, I’m surprised the guy he tackled has still come down to the ground now it was such a crazy tackle! Pat Scully would tackle brick walls for you. As for the goal, I remember winning the ball after a couple of lucky deflections in tackles near the corner flag, it was such a poor cross I put in with my left foot, but then the magic of Ian Benjamin, who took one touch to turn and then hit a shot straight into the back of the net, and then, you just knew, we’d won the game. And then the pleasure at the end of the game how joyful everyone was. We flew there, so got the plane back, and when we got to the airport it was unbelievable, so many fans were there, people coming over to congratulate us, really great times.
After David Webb left, you were under a number of different managers at Roots Hall. What are your memories of the various gaffers?
Well Colin Murphy came in after David Webb, whoever came in after Webby was onto a hiding to nothing. Webby had such a great rapport with the fans and was a Southend man through and through. Colin Murphy’s methods were a bit ahead of his time, he came in with this different philosophy but the players thought he was crazy, he used to write programme notes and poetry which no-one could make head or tail of! Then Barry Fry came in with Edwin Stein and David Howell, who were two fantastic coaches. They didn’t get enough credit, they were a great combination with Barry Fry, and the three of them made it work. And of course we had Stan Collymore, you’ve got to give Colin Murphy credit for buying Stan Collymore, a phenomenal footballer. Whoever you put in front of Stan at that stage, no-one was going to stop him. Then Peter Taylor came in but I had a few contract disputes with Mr Jobson (didn’t everyone?! – EB), and I was going to sign for Wimbledon and then West Ham but the deals didn’t go through. Under Peter Taylor we played an away game at Reading one evening and I got tackled by their centre half, and the tackle effectively ended my career. My knee could never recover, I came out of surgery and the surgeon asked me if I could do anything else apart from football, because he didn’t think my knee was going to heal properly. From then it was always going to be a struggle to get back to the top of my game which was built on my pace. I then went to Brentford and then to Peterborough, Gillingham, and Brighton, but it was never going to match the highs at Southend, as my body wasn’t up to it. I played under Steve Thompson and Ronnie Whelan as well at Southend.
You scored some cracking goals as well, do any stick in the memory?
There was an overhead kick against Tranmere, that was a great season when we went up from Division Three, and another goal was against Leicester, the following season, a left foot volley. But the one that sticks in the memory is a goal against Cambridge United who were our big rivals, and I scored a header late on in the game, which meant we drew the game 1-1. I remember an FA Cup goal when we won away at Leyton Orient when I ran through from the halfway line and scored. Those goals are memorable because they meant a lot to the whole team.
How did you feel being named in the top 30 list of the most influential black British footballers recently?
It’s a massive honour, I’m over the moon to be recognised, it’s amazing. It humbled me and I’m pleased to be recognised along with Chrissy Powell and Chris Ramsay, so there were three ex-Southend United footballers, for three of us to make it is amazing. I remember one year Andy Sussex scored a goal and there were six black players celebrating with him, and they used that picture for the Kick Racism out of Football campaign, and if you looked carefully you could just see Andy Sussex’s white legs under six black players – that would have been me, Ricky Otto, Chrissy Powell, Keith Jones, and Harry Willis and Dave Regis I think. All the time I was at Southend there was never any problem with racism, there were problems away from home, but as a team and a club we were always united. It was a real family from the players to the bar staff and those behind the scenes. The fans used to come to the Far Past bar and it was totally hands on, which was fantastic.
Do you have a final message for the Blues’ faithful?
Keep supporting the Blues and look forward to the new ground, it’s onwards and upwards. I remember dreaming about that ground and I can’t wait to see it. I just hope the club can continue to be successful, Tilly’s done brilliantly in getting the promotions and I just hope there’ll be more success. It’s getting more and more difficult as the game is governed by money these days, but I think you just want stability, and a club like my local team Charlton who haven’t spent millions is a good model to follow. When I tell people I support Charlton they laugh, all these big players I’ve met like Beckham etc, but they’re my local club and my son now has a season ticket. That’s football you’ve got to support your local team.
Wise words indeed, many thanks Andy Ansah for all the great memories from yesteryear, and we wish you well in your future career.
 
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