Plymouth Vital continues its interview series with an exclusive Question and Answer session with Plymouth Argyle legend Ronnie Mauge.
Ronnie put himself into Plymouth Argyle folklore with his winning goal against Darlington in a Wembley play-off final back in 1996. Every Argyle fan at Wembley that day has ingrained in their memory the sight of Ronnie soaring through the air to head that ball in and create his own little bit of Argyle history. From that day on Ronnie became an Argyle legend. Ronnie was signed for Argyle by Neil Warnock in 1995 from Bury and went on to make nearly 150 appearances for the Pilgrims before leaving in 1999 to join Bristol Rovers.
Ronnie, now 37, has also played on the international stage for Trinidad and Tobago including playing in the 2002 World Cup qualifiers, winning a total of 8 caps. His international progress was interrupted due to a broken leg sustained playing against Mexico in the Gold Cup competition in 2000.
These days Ronnie is player/manager of Whitton United of Suffolk who play in the First Division of the Ridgeons League, playing in familiar green shirts.
Ronnie talks to Plymouth Vital about Neil Warnock, Dan McCauley and his love for Plymouth Argyle and the Green Army.
Q: You have now moved into management at Whitton United, what is it like now you are the boss?
RM: Being the boss has made me realise how difficult I must have been as a player! Other than that it is a great experience. I have taken all the best attributes from my previous managers, Neil Warnock, Ian Holloway, Peter Reid and Sam Ellis and tried to incorporate them into my managerial role.
Q: Do you now have a day job outside of football?
RM: Being the manager of Whitton takes up a lot of my time but I am also director of the Kieron Dyer School of Soccer. www.kierondyersoccerschool.co.uk
Q: What would be the highlight of your football career so far?
RM: The highlights of my football career would have to be playing at Wembley for Plymouth Argyle and playing for my country in the World Cup qualifiers.
Q: Are you still in touch with any of your former Argyle teammates?
RM: I keep in touch all the time with Neil Warnock who is not only a great manager but also a family friend as well as my mentor. Also Paul Wotton, who has been a fantastic servant to Plymouth Argyle and a great player although I sometimes have to remind him I taught him well when he was my apprentice.
Q: Your old Argyle boss Neil Warnock is on the verge of reaching the Premiership, what was it like working under him?
RM: To me Neil Warnock has a knack of getting the best out of ordinary players, he has a knack of building great team spirit. He has the ability of making you feel like you are the best player in the world (when really you're not) He instills that belief in all of his teams. One of the best managers and motivators I have ever worked under.
Q: Would it be true that you had a love/hate relationship with former Argyle chairman Dan McCauley?
RM: It is true that I had a love/hate relationship with him. Dan McCauley's love for Argyle was unbelievable without question and I am sure that man has green and white blood running through his veins. A great character and a lovely man I am sure but as a chairman he allowed his personal pride and his feud with Warnock to perhaps cloud his judgement on moving Argyle forward. If he had allowed Warnock to do his job he would have been chairman of a Premiership outfit by now I am sure and with the amount of money he put into the club he deserved to be.
Q: Do you still have your Argyle Wembley shirt?
RM: No I do not have my Wembley shirt; it is where it belongs, at Argyle. I feel the shirt would mean more to the true Argyle fans, as it is now part of Argyle history, which I am very proud to be a part of.
Q: All Argyle fans still remember your Wembley goal, you are a legend to them, do you still visit Plymouth and follow Argyle's results?
RM: Plymouth will always have a place in my heart as not only did I spend many great years there and met some fabulous people but it is where I met my wife Tracey and where my son Daniel was born and of course Argyle's results are the first I look for in the Sunday papers.
Q: Apparently you were not quite sure about what part you should play for that short corner routine at Wembley from which you scored that goal and asked Mark Patterson where your position should be. Is that correct?
RM: No comment.
Q: You were capped at international level with Trinidad and Tobago, that must have made you very proud?
RM: Of course, any young man would be proud to play for their country at any level and to play alongside the likes of Dwight Yorke and Shaka Hislop was a very proud moment.
Q: Are you still involved with Trinidad and Tobago in any capacity and will you be going to the 2006 World Cup?
RM: Yes I am still involved with Trinidad and Tobago and yes I will be going to the World Cup in June. In what capacity remains to be seen. I have been invited to join the squad through Jack Warner, the TTFF president.
Q: Finally, do you have a message for all the Argyle fans?
RM: I would like to thank all the fans for the wonderful times I had with them. I hope I brought some joy to the best supporters in the country. From the bottom of my heart I thank you all.
A special thanks to Ronnie for taking time out to speak to Plymouth Vital