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'My dream job would be to manage Cardiff City'.

Byline: By Terry Phillips South Wales Echo

As he prepares to return to Ninian Park for his benefit match, ex-Cardiff City favourite ANDY LEGG talks to TERRY PHILLIPS about his future and the lessons he has learned during his career

THE future for Andy Legg is clear.

He wants to get back into football - be it as a coach or a player.

Legg plays in his own benefit match at Ninian Park on Tuesday, a past v present match, and will then aim to sort out his football life.

Work on his new house in the Nottingham area is almost finished and the former Cardiff City defender knows what he wants to do.

'I've passed my coaching B licence and I'll be doing the A licence this summer,' says Legg. 'I want to break into coaching or management.

'I'll look round, see what opportunities are around, at all levels.

'I don't mind working as an assistant, youth coach or whatever, it's a start I need.

'I've worked with a lot of managers and I've learned something from every one of them.

'The best? Frank Burrows or Howard Kendall.

'And I'd have to plump for Frank.

'Everywhere you go in football he is held in such respect.

'His coaching ability is fantastic and he knows just how to deal with players.

'He's a brilliant coach and manager.

'My worst experience with a manager? I would think everybody will know the answer to that. Tommy Burns at Reading.

'But I also learned a lot from Tommy. We fell out, but you still learn from every situation.

'My dream for the future, of course, would be to manage Cardiff City.

'I had the best moment of my career in Cardiff when we won the play-off final against Queens Park Rangers.

'That was a dream moment.

'I'm not sure anybody is allowed two dream moments, but we'll see.

'I didn't want to leave the club, but my time was up.

'One regret was the play-off final was my last game for the club and I didn't have the chance to say goodbye to fans who were fabulous to me.

'Now, on Tuesday, I can say goodbye to people who took me to their hearts. I thank them all.

'Perhaps, one day, I will be Cardiff City manager.

'I'd love that, but it's something a long way into the future.'

Legg was a late developer, worked for the Forestry Commission in Wales as a young man and did not play in the Football League until he was 22.

'At 16 I could not get in the team at Baglan Boys Club,' he admits.

'My dad was running the side, but I still couldn't get in.

'The truth is I wasn't good enough.

'I was a little dwt and I went in goal for one season.

'Then I developed some muscles and grew a bit.

'I started playing Welsh League football for Briton Ferry and then Swansea City signed me.

'I was earning pounds 200 a week working outside of football and playing for Briton Ferry at the time, but I went to Swansea for pounds 80.

'I just wanted to play football.'

Legg made more than 700-first team appearances during a 17-year Football League career which ended at Peterborough United.

He scored 76 goals and was renowned for his long throw.

'I have had a great career, every season was a bonus from the first onwards,' said Legg. 'That's why I always did my utmost to try harder than anybody else out there.

'Other players maybe had more talent, but I always gave 100 per cent. Every time.

'Looking back, I had my best time at Cardiff City.

'They were five terrific years. I am delighted that I have the chance to say goodbye to the Cardiff fans on Tuesday.'

As Legg thinks back over his full-time playing career he reflects on the managers who moulded him along the way.

Terry Yorath (Swansea City)

'My first manager at Football League level. He toughened me up as a player. When I went to Swansea City I was a young lad still being pampered at home.

'Terry soon sharpened me up, helped me develop the attitude that I wanted to win - badly. I became that bit more aggressive and Terry taught me how to go about that in the right way.'

Bruce Rioch (Middlesbrough, on trial)

'I went to Middlesbrough on trial, played in a game and was asked to stay for a month.

'It was great until Bruce Rioch said: 'Get your hair cut or go home'.

'I had long hair back then, I was still pretty young and I rebelled. I went home and that was that.'

Tommy Burns (Reading)

'I was one of the 'Death Row Five'.

'That included two other Welshmen, Jason Bowen and Gareth Davies.

'The manager didn't want us there and we weren't allowed to even train with the first team or be around when they were training.

'But the other lads kept us going. We'd turn up to do our training and find little gifts like string tied into the shape of a noose.

'It was a bad time for all of us, but we were able to have a laugh as well.'

Frank Burrows and Billy Ayre (Cardiff City)

'I rate Frank Burrows highly his partnership with Billy was outstanding. They just bounced off each other so well.

'I played for Frank at Swansea City and Cardiff City. He gave me the confidence to go out and do the things I was good at.'

Mel Machin (Manchester City)

'I went to Maine Road and played up front with Imre Varadi.

'Mel Machin was manager and he wanted me to go back. He offered me a month-to-month contract, but then Terry Yorath came in for me and took me to the Vetch Field.'

Barry Fry (Peterborough and Birmingham City)

'Barry's a great character. Nothing ever seems to get him down.

'Not all players get on with his methods, but I like him and enjoyed playing for him.'

Howard Kendall (Notts County)

'For me, Howard is right up there alongside the best.

'It would be a tough choice between Frank Burrows and Howard which was the best manager I played for. I'd go for Frank, but Howard is a top manager.'

Trevor Francis (Birmingham City)

'Trevor took over from Barry Fry at Birmingham City. He was a completely different character to Barry, he had to be, and we got on well.' Legg's family affair: Andy Legg's benefit match is played at Ninian Park on Tuesday (7.45pm).

It will be a big family night for wife Lucy and their daughter Alicia, who is six-years-old this month.

'Alicia loves football and she's better than the boys,' says Andy.

'The Notts County coaches go into her school to take sessions and she really enjoys it.'

Welsh international Legg, who made six appearances for his country, started his career in 1988 - and finished at league level last year.

Neath-born Legg has battled against cancer - and has helped make large donations to cancer research and in particular the leukaemia charity Latch.

He will donate a percentage of Tuesday's takings to Latch - and plays a one-off game at Aberdare next month when another pounds 1,000 is likely to be raised.

Tickets are on sale now and car parking opposite Ninian Park will be free for Tuesday's match, which will feature Cardiff City players past and present.

For more ticket details contact 0845 345 1400.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 11, 2006
Words:1249
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