When I meet Dwight Yorke in the function room of a London hotel, he had a severely bloodshot left eye. “I have just flown in from the Trinidad Carnival,” he explains. Enough said.
The main premise of the trip back to England was to attend Sunday’s Carling Cup final between two of Yorke’s former clubs, Manchester United and Aston Villa. United won 2-1.
During his visit Yorke was also planning to catch up with Sir Alex Ferguson, and continue his education towards trying to make the step into football management.
One of Yorke’s big aims is to return to Villa as boss and if he is ever given that chance, he has one promise. “I will never tell any of my players to get married,” he said. “When it comes to women, my only advice will be to have two or three.”
He laughs, but there is an interesting theory behind Yorke’s bravado at the end of a month that has been dominated by stories of sportsmen’s infidelities, marriages, divorces and the knock-on effects for their careers.
Yorke, 38, combined successful spells at United and Villa with a hard after-hours party lifestyle. Goals were flowing and so were the women.
Ultimately, that playboy image brought a premature end to Yorke’s four-year United career, but he has no regrets. Would he swap some of the women for another season at Old Trafford? No chance. “Would I give up the women and nights out for another year at United?
Would that make me happy? Would that make me the person I am today? I’m not so sure,” he said. “What you see is what you get with me and that’s how I was.
Even though my time was cut short at United because of my nights out and the women, I have no hang-ups about that, it made me feel happy. I went to United to win things and I achieved that.
“Fergie once told me to get married. I just smiled at him. What am I supposed to say? ‘All right boss, can you find me a woman?’ I think we have slightly different tastes in women. “I’ve thought about getting married before. I nearly proposed to Katie Price [Jordan] just after she had Harvey. I thought maybe that was the right way to go.
But, looking back, it would have been the biggest mistake I ever made. I thought it was the genuine thing to do, have a kid, get married, but it would not have changed me one bit and it would have been the biggest cock-up of my life. “Will I ever get married now? No chance.
The old-fashioned relationship has gone out of the window. People no longer try to save their marriage; as soon as they have a chance to get divorced they take it.
“When I came to England, getting married was a tradition. But three quarters of the players who got married then, at the age of 24 and 25, are probably divorced. Players should just enjoy their lives and when the time comes they’ll know if it’s right to get married.
“Being a single man and having different women is the way to go, rather then being married and having all these other women on the side.
“When you’re married, it looks bad if you’re fooling around. If you’re single, then you’re just enjoying your life. I’d rather be in my position than be in the position of Tiger Woods, trust me.”
Although marriage would never be part of a Yorke pep talk, he does have strong views on how young footballers should behave and believes it is crucial to earn the right to splash the cash on fast women and even faster cars.
“To earn respect in the dressing room doesn’t take a lot these days, it’s too easy,” said Yorke, who won the League Cup at Villa and three Premier League titles, a Champions League and an FA Cup at United.
“Everybody can go out and buy the fancy car and all the fancy things. My first car at Villa was a club-sponsored Montego. I was 23 when I got my first flashy car, a BMW.
“I have done a lot of things in my life that players could throw back at me, but I have also achieved a lot. I’ve won trophies. “When I was at Sunderland, I looked through the dressing room and thought.
‘Who has won anything substantial here?’ Nobody in that dressing room had won any real trophies and yet they all had an opinion and all had flashy cars.
“I remember when I arrived at Villa, David Platt had a simple car, yet he was an England international, the captain. You need people in there who have that life experience to tell the young guys, ‘Okay, you can have all these things, but you have to work for it first, like I did’.”
As I prepare to leave, I ask Yorke if he minds me mentioning the bloodshot eye and the Trinidad carnival. “Of course not,” he replies. “Just make sure you mention Beyonce was there.”
The following article was done by Daily Express.co.uk reporter MATT LAW. DWIGHT YORKE was a studio expert for Sky Sports’ live and HD coverage of Saturday’s Carling Cup final.