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‘Getting Personal’ with Grant Hanley

12 March 2015

Blackburn Rovers defender Grant Hanley is the next player in the hot-seat for our feature where we get to know the person behind the player...

What’s your earliest memory?

I used to go on holiday with my nana and granddad to the same place in Spain every year. We went every summer to a place called Benalmadena. It wasn’t the nicest hotel in the world, but it was nice to get out with the family and I used to enjoy it.

What sort of child were you?

I was quite quiet really. I didn’t really get myself into much trouble and I was always quite active.

What are you best at outside of football?

I’ve got a dog and he’s quite well behaved, so I’ll put that down to me! 

What would you like to be better at?

I play a lot of golf, so I’ll probably go with that. Most of the lads would probably say that too. I’m going to have a bit of a go this year at getting my handicap down as low as possible. I play off about 14 or 15 at the moment. 

What is your most treasured possession?

My shirt from when I made my debut for Rovers. I got all the lads to sign it and I have it framed too.

Who is the biggest star name in your phone book?

It’s difficult because a lot of the lads I’ve played with are ‘famous’, but I don’t really see them in that way, they are just like mates. I’ll go with Rhodesy.

What has been your most embarrassing moment?

Me and Jake (Kean) moved into a house together when we were younger, about 18, and he used to take the mick because I got a lawnmower and I used to cut the grass. One day I got home and there were molehills all over the garden. So I came in the next day and asked all the lads how to get rid of them. But every few days I would get back and there would be more. I thought I was losing the plot! I went back home for the summer and didn’t think anything of it. Anyway, my mum said to me one day ‘remember all those molehills you were getting – it was David Dunn!’ Apparently, he had been turning up at my house with bags of soil!  

Who do you most admire?

It’s probably a standard one, but I’ll say my dad. I wouldn’t have been anywhere near where I am now if it wasn’t for him. He’s a good man and someone who lives his life properly and someone that I would like to be like.

Your room, your football boots and your car – which do you clean first?

Well, Harry Kenyon cleans my boots as soon as I get in from training so they are cleaned first. I’m quite house-proud, so I like to keep that nice and tidy. But my car is a bit of a pig sty - mainly because of the dog!

Could you survive in the wild on your own?

I’d like to think I could. No reason particularly, I just think I could. I look like a bit of a caveman anyway!

What kind of people do you dislike?

Arrogant people. People who think they are something special because of who they are.  

What makes you angry?

I was driving along the other day and there was a big group of cyclists. They were in rows of five across the road and there was a big queue of traffic behind them. Just get in a single line so everyone can get past! 

How many close friends do you have?

I’d say the lads from back home that I grew up with. A group of three or four of us.

What is the funniest thing that you have seen recently?

Due to the amount of games we have had recently, we get recovery bags that we take away with us. One of the things in it is a little cherry-flavoured sachet that you put into water, but even then it tastes quite bitter. However, Tayls (Chris Taylor) thought you just took it straight out of the sachet! He was in the Players Lounge after the game looking like he was going to be sick!  

What is the worst/best decision you have ever made?

The best was taking the opportunity to come here. It gave me a massive chance in my career to play in the Premier League at the time. And then in turn playing for my country. I might not have had those opportunities had I not come here. The worst was probably my red card at Wigan a couple of years ago. It wasn’t a good time in my career. I still maintain to this day that I didn’t mean it, but my arm was up there, so I’ll go with that. 

What has been your most bizarre life experience?

When I was playing for the Reserves, we went to Egypt. The hotel was lovely, but as soon as you left the complex it was chaos. The motorway was just a big road and everyone just went wherever they wanted. Lorries would go flying past with people sat on the roof!   

What are three things that you would like to do before you die?

I’d like to play in the Premier League again. That’s the top one. I’d also love to play in a major tournament like a Euros or World Cup. And I want to travel around the world at some point too.

What other team(s) do you support outside of football?

I like to watch golf, especially the Majors. And I like to see Andy Murray doing well, because he’s Scottish (not British!). 

Are you an animal person? Do you have any pets?

Yes, I’ve got a dog. A german shepherd collie cross called Shuggie. I’ve had him for just over a year now.

What last kept you awake at night?

When we got beat by Norwich. We were ahead and I thought we should have got something out of the game.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

I’m lucky because I don’t have many big decisions to make. I just come in and enjoy my football. I bought a house about a year ago, so that was quite a big decision at the time.

What film, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, do you have to watch when it’s on?

I’ll go with Happy Gilmore. It pops up on TV quite a lot and I always watch it. 

Tell me about the last time a team-mate got angry with you. What happened?

That was Tayls at Cardiff. I’d intercepted the ball and given him a bit of a rubbish pass and he didn’t get to it. As the play moved away I looked at him and made it sound like his fault and he just lost it! He started pointing his finger and shouting at me, so I gave him a little smile and he realised I was only winding him up.  

What business would you love to start?

Nothing at the minute. I’d like to do something with my dad one day. He’s a plumber, but he works abroad a lot and he’s very stressed, so I’d like to get him away from that.

Did you have any other jobs when you were younger?

When I was playing at Queen of the South we used to work the turnstiles for home games and we got 12 quid a week for doing that.

Could you find your way around a foreign country using just a map?

Tough one, but yes. I think my sense of direction is quite good.

What are you most proud of? 

What I have achieved up to now in football. Captaining Rovers, playing in the Prem and playing for my country. 

What is your idea of fun? If given a chance to skip training for a day, how would you spend your day off?

When the weather’s nice we like to have a golf day. Wednesdays are usually our day off, so I’d try and do that. 

What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

Haggis, but I can’t believe people in England don’t like it. Perhaps it’s just because it’s a Scottish thing!  

If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be and why?

Having to clean up all your pots and pans after making tea. It really annoys me.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without?

My dog, I’ve only had him for a year, but I can’t imagine what it would be like without him!

Would You Rather ...

... skip Christmas for a year or skip your birthday for a year?

Birthday.

… live without your computer/laptop or your television for the rest of your life?

No laptop.

… be able to fly whenever you want or be invisible?

Invisible.

… have a beautiful house and ugly car or ugly house and beautiful car?

Beautiful house, ugly car.

... visit the world 1,000 years into the past or 1,000 years into the future?

Future.

... be rich and ugly or poor and good looking?

Rich and ugly.

… go sky diving or deep-sea diving?

Deep-sea diving.

… have a chef or a cleaner?

Chef.

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