Tees Lifestyle Q&A – Tony Mowbray

INTERVIEW BY: MICHAEL MCGEARY
PICTURES: CHRIS BOOTH

He might prefer fine dining to parmos these days, but Boro legend Tony Mowbray remains a proud Teesside lad at heart.

Six years after his time as Middlesbrough manager came to an end, his family – wife Amber and their three sons – remain happily settled in their Nunthorpe dream home.

That’s despite “Mogga” now spending most of his time in the North-West, where he manages Boro’s Championship rivals Blackburn Rovers…

Teesside Life

The Teesside restaurants I love to eat in are…As a lad from a council estate in Redcar I should say fish and chips but I like fine dining, and the Orangery at Rockliffe Hall is somewhere the two of us can go and talk about the kids and life, and eat nice food. For something more casual, Muse in Yarm. If I’m home, I’ll drop my kids off at school and go for coffee in the Mockingbird with Pally (former Boro team-mate Gary Pallister) and chat about football.

The meal I order most of all is…The Rockliffe tasting menu. In my playing days it was a parmo after a night in the Mall in Stockton – I’m giving away a few secrets here! My kids have just just discovered parmos and I don’t encourage them to eat them often, but they can have one occasionally.

My favourite tipple is…I haven’t drunk alcohol since I was a teenager, so usually sparkling water or maybe a Sprite.

The Teesside stores I love to shop in are…Flannels. My big mate Cyril is the CEO, so if I needed clothes, I’d go there. When I was a young footballer it was the time of Zone in Middlesbrough bus station and then Garage, which I had a business interest in with Cyril, and Changes was another iconic store.

The things I spend too much money are…gas and electric bills probably! I don’t spend any money on myself. We have a nice car and house.

For a day out, I…spend time with my family because I spend so much time away. I like walking up Roseberry Topping – and I’m finding that much tougher now. My wife and kids can run up but I need to stop!

One place on Teesside I’d like to visit is…I can’t remember ever going over the Transporter Bridge, so I’d do that.

In my downtime, I like nothing better than…watching my kids play football on Sundays. I have a cup of tea and stand well away from the pitch. I played for Nunthorpe, as my kids do now, so I reminisce with them about how different it was.

My perfect night out involves…the cinema. I’ve always loved the cinema experience. Watching a movie takes you to a different world. I like the privacy when the lights go down, nicking your kids’ popcorn and asking your wife to pass the sweets. Afterwards we’ll go to somewhere like Nando’s and just be a family together.

My perfect night in involves…watching a Premier League match on the telly. I love to clear the decks, get everything done and then I’m ready – the lights are off and I’m there. Amber brings me a cup of tea and it’s just bliss.

Life’s Loves

A book I love is…the one I read again and again is Legacy, about the All Blacks. I’ve got two copies in my office and I always take one away on the coach. It’s teaches you that what you give in life is what you get back.

A film I love is…I’m an emotional person and I like films to tug at your heartstrings and a story that teaches a lesson, makes you think about life and love. You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle and Jerry Maguire are all classics.

A TV programme I love is…I would never waste my life watching Game of Thrones or Peaky Blinders, which have nothing to affect my life. Thursday’s the only night there might be no football and then I’ll watch a documentary about a football club.

A song I love is…I’d challenge any person to pick one song. Adele and Coldplay are good and I’ve just been listening to Johnny Cash, who my dad used to play in the car.

A holiday destination I love is…Every second year while the kids were growing up we’ve been to Disney World in Florida and it’s just an amazing place.

People in Life

I most I like to spend time with…my wife and family

Biggest influence on my career…My parents. Bruce Rioch was the first manager who made me think about football in a tactical way and George Burley at Ipswich was also a big influence.

The people who make me laugh…My kids – some of the things they do and say. They don’t know how lucky they are, though, and some of the stuff they think is normal makes me laugh. At Christmas I got a stocking with some nuts, an apple and a tangerine and, if I was lucky, a family tubes of Smarties – and it was brilliant!

The people who inspire me…Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.

The people who make me angry are…People who disappoint me. I understand people made mistakes in life and that can’t necessarily all live to the standards you might set yourself. But I want people to be honest.

Working Life

My greatest achievement was…Probably being a part of a Middlesbrough team that helped take the football club back in the right direction.

My biggest disappointment was…I could say not managing to get Middlesbrough back into the Premier League. It’s my club in my heart and that would have been great. I had three decent years, it just didn’t pan out. It was also disappointing not being able to give Celtic the run I would have wanted to.

My greatest regret was…I throw myself into everything I do and you can’t have regrets. You get on with it.

My business mantra is…I haven’t got one but my ethics are driven by that hardworking, industrial background I’ve come from.

The alternative career I might have had was…a teacher.