This is in today's (London) Independent. Journalist is Jason Burt who covers all Irish international matches for this paper. He's pretty good though I don't know much about him.
Andy Reid: Fame is the spur
Andy Reid, The New Boy At White Hart Lane, Talks About Tradition, Joke Texts And Being A Father At 16
By Jason Burt
22 April 2005
The text message read: "Hi, Andy. This is Martin Jol here. Really looking forward to working with you." Andy Reid stared at his mobile phone. It was deadline day for the January transfer window and it was looking like the move to Tottenham Hotspur he had dreamed of might - yet again - fall apart.
And then he received that text. Not having Jol's number in his phone, he was in a quandary. "I was looking at it and thinking, 'I don't really want to reply to this'," he says. It could have been anyone. "But I'm also thinking, 'If it really is him and I don't do anything then...'"
Not wanting to risk upsetting his prospective new manager, he replied but the texts became increasingly bizarre. "Stupid things like, 'How is your mental state?' and so on," Reid says.
His mental state was, to be honest, not great. "I was trying to stay calm but it was a strange situation." All January Reid had sat - as he had done the summer before and the January before that - and waited for Nottingham Forest to accept Spurs' offer. "It went on and on and on," Reid says.
Finally, on the afternoon of Monday 31 January, Forest relented. The price was right. "I jumped in the car," Reid says. "I think I ended up with a couple of speeding tickets on the way down. It was just one of those things. Mad, really. All the time I was thinking, 'It's not going to happen'."
And then it did. It was gone 11pm when Reid - along with Michael Dawson - signed in an £8m deal. "It's the first move I've ever made," Reid says. "So I turned up at this big club like a schoolboy just hoping that everything was going through. I'd never even had a proper medical before. But as soon as I signed I just said to myself, 'I'm here now'."
It wasn't until his first day of training with his new team-mates, that Reid discovered the text messages had come not from Jol but from Robbie Keane, his friend and fellow Republic of Ireland international. It was Paul Robinson who, inadvertently, spilled the beans. "I won't tell you what I said to Robbie," Reid says.
But though Spurs' interest in the Dubliner predated Jol's appointment, the Dutchman was a confirmed fan. Jol has played the 22-year-old at every opportunity and has not been disappointed. The coach likes Reid's style, his creativity, his belief and, above all, that remarkable left foot which had already led to him, for Ireland, being regarded as a natural ally to Keane and Damien Duff, someone he desperately wants to emulate.
"Spurs made me feel wanted," Reid says. "It's one reason why I had my heart set on the club. For me there was just something about Tottenham. The history and everything.
"As well as that, when I was watching games on television there was something that really, really intrigued me. I just thought, 'I want to be out there'. It wasn't even the club I had supported but Tottenham are renowned for playing football and it would have been pointless for me going somewhere that didn't do that."
Such was his belief that he rejected other offers - most notably Southampton, much to Harry Redknapp's disappointment - even though their offer was accepted before the Spurs deal. Despite his desire to join the Premiership he was prepared to wait. His resolve did not even waver after a conversation last summer with another Irish international, Stephen Carr, who was also then at Spurs.
"He was saying, 'Come down here it's great'. Then I saw him on an Ireland trip about two weeks later and he had signed for Newcastle. I said, 'Nice one for that, telling me to come and then you go'."
Reid had arrived in Nottingham when he was just 14, fresh from the Crumlin area of Dublin, close to Lansdowne Road, where he grew up as one of five brothers. It was hard to leave a tight-knit family - his father, Bill, who had played for St Patrick's Athletic, his mother Dinah and the rest of that Reid five-a-side team. "Yeah, we wouldn't be bad," Reid says. Two of his brothers now play Sunday league football for Dublin Transport.
But he had to come to England. Football was his life, ever since he turned out for the boys' club, Lourdes Celtic (where Duff also started) and at Forest he had the perfect schooling. Like Spurs they had a tradition to uphold, like Spurs they had a strong and long-standing Irish connection. He shared a hostel, which backed on to the City Ground, with six others from home and they went on to dominate the Forest youth-team. Nevertheless, he had to grow up quickly - and for more reasons than leaving Ireland.
Reid was only 16 when his then girlfriend Pamela called him from Dublin to say she was pregnant. He had just returned from a summer in which he was part of the Ireland Under-16 squad that amazingly won the European Championship. More than 2,000 people cheered them on their return to Dublin Airport.
But Reid was earning just £42.50 a week as an apprentice footballer and needed to make a decision. "I was young and at the time it did play with my head," Reid says. "I wasn't sure that I wanted to be in England playing football if I had a daughter back home."
But both his family - and Pamela's - encouraged him to stay. "They were really brilliant to me. They let me know that if it's my dream then Saorise [his daughter] would understand. I'd like to think now that she's getting a bit older, she's six, that she will understand. And she is starting to understand why I wasn't there all the time. I see her when I can and I go back as often as I can."
However, concern grew that Reid wasn't going to make it in football. His form suffered and his then manager at Forest, Paul Hart, who was hugely supportive, began to question whether Reid had a future.
"It made me grow up," he says of fatherhood. "People say to me, 'How did you do it?' but you have to. You've no choice. That's the way it is, you have no choice. You just get on with it. It's the attitude you have to take because you can't change it. I'm not one for running away. I had to just face up to it. For me it was the only way."
His love of music helped. "Yeah, I'm into music quite big," he says. "Irish folk music. I play guitar myself. It's something I've been doing for four or five years now and just picked it up. Christy Moore, the Furies, I'm good friends with Patsy Watchorn. When I go home I try and see him and his band play as much as I can."
It's more difficult now that he has broken into the Irish team as the attention has increased dramatically. The maturity also helped Reid cope with the turmoil at Forest and the hype surrounding him, the likening to John Robertson, the throwback to the glory days. It's a strength that was recognised by Brian Clough - albeit in his own singular fashion. Reid met Clough just the once and retells the story of encountering the man who still had "that aura around him".
"I got a man-of-the-match award last year when we had lost 1-0 to Coventry and he was presenting the award," Reid says. "He said, 'Well done, son. It takes great character to come in and pick up a man-of-the-match award when you have lost. I will just be giving you one tip: don't be watching that Jonny Wilkinson because you're not supposed to kick the ball over the bar, you are supposed to kick it under it.'
"So I just said, 'OK, thanks Mr Clough'. What else could I say?"
Nottingham Forest's plight hurts Reid. "It's such a big club and such a shame to see it down where it is," he says, "but I don't want to get into that too much because you end up criticising. I don't want people to get that impression. But every game I played I gave absolutely everything. I can walk away with my head held high."
Walk away is exactly what he had to do. "I really, really got sick of losing matches. It was depressing me. I would go home after a game thinking 'what's going on?' I was there eight years, a long time, and have so many unbelievable memories, I grew up there and that's where I learnt my trade. There are so many friends. Not just players but people who work at the club. In that respect it was heart-wrenching to leave and I still do miss it.
"I was talking about it the other day and Robbie [Keane] just said, half-jokingly, 'Oh, come on you have to leave Nottingham behind now'. But it's not that easy when you have been somewhere for so long. It's been a big, big part of my life. People were a bit upset when I went round to say goodbye and it was only then, I guess, that it sunk in how much I would miss it."
Despite that Reid, with his first north London derby to look forward to against Arsenal on Monday, says he's not one to look back. "I really have moved on," he says.
He also shrugs at the weight of expectation at Spurs. "I put that weight on my own shoulders as well, you know. It doesn't really matter if other people do it. If I don't perform then I'm the first to say 'it's not good enough'. So it doesn't really get to me all that much."
It's why he has no problem talking about what he wants to achieve and he is eager for his career to progress. And the club, with a refound sense of youthful vibrancy, need to do so too. "Champions' League," Reid says. "We are putting together a great squad and there's no reason why we can't qualify and go further. If this club is doing that then it can only improve, attract better players and that's what everyone has to aim for."
It won't happen this season as time is running out. Nevertheless, European football - albeit via the Uefa Cup - remains achievable.