A Question and Answer Session With Craig Armstrong

Huddersfield Town story posted by Sean Makin on 27/05/2011
Former Huddersfield Town defender Craig Armstrong, who was the 2001 Player of The Year for the Terriers, has taken the time out to answer a Q&A session for Terrier-Bytes.com. Armstrong came through the ranks at Nottingham Forest and went on to make 40 appearances for the club and spent time on loan during his time at the City Ground with Burnley, Bristol Rovers, Gillingham and Watford (twice). In February 1999, Armstrong, then 23, signed for Huddersfield Town by the then manager Peter Jackson for 750,000. Craig spent three years at the Terriers making 108 appearances scoring 5 goals and in 2001 he won the Hargreaves Memorial Trophy (Player of The Year). With Town being in financial hardship, Armstrong was sold to Sheffield Wednesday for 100,000 in 2002. Armstrong was injury-plagued during his time at Hillsborough and only made 35 appearances (scoring one goal) for the club. The defender, who could also play in midfield, was released in early 2005 and signed for Bradford City until the end of the 2004/05 season, making 7 appearances for the Bantams. Armstrong enjoyed two spells at Cheltenham Town between 2005-2009 were he made 98 appearances scoring two goals and had a brief spell at Gillingham in the 2007/08 season. Towards the end of his time at Cheltenham, Armstrong had a brief loan spell at Burton Albion before signing for Kidderminster Harries in January 2009. In the summer of 2009 the former Town player moved on to Mansfield Town and made 17 appearances for the Stags before leaving for Forest Green Rovers in March 2010. Armstrong took up the assistant manager role whilst still playing in his first few months at Rovers but reverted back to playing once the club appointed Gary Seward as the number two. In just over a year at the New Lawn Stadium he made 37 appearances before being told his contract would not be renewed last month. Craig has just recently been appointed player-manager of Eastwood Town of the Blue Square North.A Question and Answer Session With Craig Armstrong

Q1. Hi Craig, thanks for taking the time out to answer these questions. You started your career at Nottingham Forest, how was it progressing through the ranks at a big club like Forest? Which others players were in the same youth team as yourself?

The progress through the youth set up at Nottingham Forest was some what strange. I was fortunate enough to have played under Brian Clough and be at a club with greats such as Des Walker, Stuart Pearce, Nigel Clough and later on Stan Collymore and many England internationals. My education was fantastic to learn from these players so growing up was an unbelievable experience and I was lucky enough to be involved with the first team sitting on the bench several times as a 17 year old.
In my youth team there was only a hand full of players who had long careers, Steve Guinan who played for several league clubs and has just signed for Kidderminster Harriers. A lot more played in the league but fell by the wayside.

Q2. You signed for Huddersfield Town in February 1999 for £750,000 how did the move come about?

My move came about at the time we were struggling in the Premier League, Dave Bassett had been sacked and Ron Atkinson had took over. I had been playing all season but coming to February Ron pulled me aside and mentioned to me that they had an offer on the table and he was told he would get the money to strengthen but said it was up to me. I new Stewy (Marcus Stewart) and Marcus Browning and Dave Phillips so I always said that if the club ever accepted a bid for me I would leave.

Q3. You played under three different managers in your three years at Huddersfield Town (Peter Jackson, Steve Bruce and Lou Macari) what was playing under each manager like?

Playing under Peter (Jackson) was fantastic, he loved the club and he brought me to the club so I was grateful to him for that.. He was a winner and hated losing, he could sulk but only like I said hated tasting defeat. Steve was different, had an aura about him, I learnt so much of him but didn't realise how much till he left. Looking back I showed lack of respect to Steve at times as he would always single me out for criticism but I couldn't have done that bad form him as I always played. He's gone on to show what a fantastic manager he is to go along with what a fantastic player he was. Also he's now manager of my boyhood club so want tickets lol.
Lou was different, another legendary footballer, no nonsense personality. Things were black and White with Lou but he was great for me. One day, turned up playing centre midfield away to QPR leaving Dean Gorre and Kenny Irons out who were quality players, made me captain and the rest of the season I didn't look back.

Q4. Just after you joined Huddersfield Town, Barry Ruberry became chairman of the club and threw money into team. How did you feel when he sacked Peter Jackson despite the club just missing out on the play-offs?

Barry Ruberry actually signed me so you could say I was his first signing which was big for him at the time. I was gutted when Peter got the sack. Already mentioned what I thought of him, he'd brought me to the club as a centre half, a lot of uncertainty surrounds players when managers come in and you don't know where you stand. Maybe Barry didn't feel that Peter had the know how and the pull to get players to get promoted. It nearly proved right in his decision as we should have at least got to the play offs missing out on the final day. However the demise of the club and Peter coming back and winning promotion shows that he was a good manager and ten years later he's down the road at Bradford.

Q5. The club started of the 1999/2000 season in fantastic fashion under Steve Bruce but the club sold its star striker Marcus Stewart to promotion-rivals Ipswich Town later in the season. Did the sale of Stewart damage team morale?

I don't feel Stewy being sold to Ipswich was the reason for our failings at all. We had enough in the squad and the signing of a good friend Martin Smith was more than enough and it certainly didn't ruin our moral and team spirit. At the time 3 million for Stewy was thought to be good value as I believe Steve didn't think he could cut it in the Premier League. How wrong was Steve!

Q6. The club went in financial meltdown after missing out on the play-offs in the 1999/2000 season. Steve Bruce was sacked and replaced by Lou Macari just months into the 2000/01 season. Macari switched you into midfield and you revelled in that position, how did you feel when you was voted Player of The Year in 2001?

When I won Player of the year in 2001 it was a strange feeling. To win every award going and to be relegated that same day was weird, strange. It's a great accolade to receive but some what annoying that we should have stayed up. Had our form been better under Steve then we wouldn't have been in the situation to be relegated.

Q7. With the club being in dire straits you were sold to Sheffield Wednesday in 2002 for £100,000 was you sad to leave Huddersfield Town? Was the club being a dire straits a factor in the move?

I was gutted to be leaving Town and I told the chairman at the time in the holiday when I played in a Huddersfield golf day that I was disappointed that I wasn't offered a deal or even spoken to. They assumed that I wanted to leave and didn't even approach me regarding a new deal. I loved the club and still look out for the results. I went to the play off final when Town beat Mansfield, I would have loved to have gone to the final this weekend.

Q8. Who is the best player, in your opinion, you've played with? Which was the best player you played with at your time at Huddersfield Town?

The best player I probably played with at the time was Roy Keane, he showed that when he went on to win everything with Man U. Best player at Town was Marcus Stewart, I'd played with him at Bristol Rovers and new everything about him. Would like to add I played against him for Forest at the McAlpine which we won 2-0 and I made him look average lol

Q9. Do you keep in touch with any of your team mates that you played with at Town?

I keep in touch with a lot of the boys, it was the best group of players to be involved with. Simon Baldry, (Steve) Jenkins, Stewart, Boothy a lot more and I'll be seeing a few boys when the Masters are on at Sheffield.

Q10. Any funny stories during your time at the club?

A lot of funny stories that possibly can't be repeated but one that sticks to mind was when Lou was in charge. He loved his fitness and we use to train at the University. He use to make us run from the changing rooms down the main driveway out the grounds and up the hill back to the changing rooms. Joe Jordan use to time it and the super fit boys as it was all up hill could do it in about 4 minutes flat. I proper blow, we found a short cut and had it on a clock so as we were walking up the hill thinking we were nearly there, realised we had a lot further to go, had to get a sprint on. It took us over 6 minutes and as we ran in groups and we were the only one who took the short cut, we got busted. The biggest bollocking you've ever seen.

And finally, You've recently left your most recent club Forest Green Rovers, what is next for Craig Armstrong?

I've recently left Forest Green and next season I've just been appointed Player Manager at Eastwood Town in the Blue Square North. It's an exciting time and a new chapter that I will definitely be taking something from every manager I have worked with, mainly the good bits

Armstrong gave 100% when he played in blue and white of Huddersfield Town and we wish him all the best with his move into management. You can follow Craig on Twitter (Spugdog123).
HTFC Tags: Craig Armstrong


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