Carl Young is one of the greatest British players of all time. The Welsh Wizard who now resides in Australia used to dominate the UK Subbuteo circuit in the mid to late 80s. Our exclusive interview reveals many memories including his exciting memorable explosive encounter with John McGiffen at the World Cup in Rome 1990.
1. When did you first start playing?
About 1978. OMG! I'm really old! NB: Picture taken from when I was not so old. :)
2. Which was your first ever big tournament?
Probably the Welsh Junior Championships in 1980, which to my surprise I won. This allowed me to qualify for the Subbuteo European championships in Rome, which was my first truly big tournament.
3. Which is the best tournament you have ever attended?
There were many but probably Sucy-en-Brie in France in the late 80s. I also thought the Austria's 1988 European Championships in Salzburg were pretty good as was Alan Collins Oldham Open in 1990.
4. What was the best goal you have ever scored?
Tricky one to answer as how do you pick 'the one?' Certainly the most memorable would have to be in the famous 'Justice' game against John McGiffin in the 1990 Subbuteo World Cup. Most people know the history regarding the lead up to that game, so to say it was tense would be an understatement. Despite dominating the game I found myself a goal down with just a couple of minutes left of the first half. I won a corner on the left. I passed the ball to the end of penalty box, while simultaneously ensuring the corner figure slide up the pitch and therefore into an onside position. As the ball was still moving as speed I hit the ball backwards with the figure I had passed to with just enough height to chip the keeper and score. A really difficult Subbuteo manoeuvre at the best of times, so to score one on TV, at a World Cup and in such pressurised circumstances was awesome. I got a bit excited after scoring that one. :)
5. Who would you describe as being the toughest player you have faced in England?
I don't know if there would be one player I'd single out but I had some great tussles against Kev Dyson, Bob Varney and later Jason Cook and Justin Finch. The English player I respected the most though was Kev Dyson. Not only because he was a gentleman on and off the pitch, playing the game hard but fair, but also for the fact that he competed so consistently at a high level while playing with flat figures. And this during the time of mainly 00s. That was a great accomplishment in the English game and one that should not be forgotten. Hall of Fame stuff.
6. Who would you describe as being the toughest player you have faced in the World?
At the time the most complete player (touch and temperament) would have been Willy Hoffman, he didn't let you get away with much (although he did get lucky against me in the 1990 wc). However, in all honestly the toughest would have been my brother Tim Young. When at his best he was unplayable, the only player I've seen time and time again curl figures around defends to hit a moving ball. If Tim's temperament and determination had matched his flicking ability he could have been a world beater.
7. What has been the best match you have ever played in?
One of my favourites was against Eric Naszalyi at the Hemel Hempsted Open Final (I think Eric refers to it as the Oldham Open - he could be right) in the early 90s which I lost 4-3. The skill and sportsmanship on display was of a very high standard and Eric scored a cracker, its what the game should always be about. My other favourite was against my brother when I won the English Open in 1989. I completely dominated the game, it was the closest I've ever come to playing a perfect match. However, having said that I failed to put the ball away in the final few minutes to take the score to 3-0. Tim promptly took the ball up the field to pull the score to 2-1 to give the score line some respectability. So not such a perfect game after all! :)
8. What has been your best moment or achievement in the game?
People have probably forgotten this now but winning both British Titles simultaneously in the Table Football (large ball) and Subbuteo (small ball) codes. In the time when there were astro pitches and cotton cloths it would have been the equivalent of Andy Murray winning grand slams on grass and clay. I don't think in today's modern game that this can ever be repeated and I was lucky enough to do it 2 years in a row so that was extra satisfying. I was also fortunate enough to win the English/British Table Football circuit 3 years in a row between 1989-1991, the first to do so. So I can't honestly say which was the single best moment - it was all special.
9. What has been the funniest moment you have seen on a trip away to a tournament?
David Pawsy taking a long run and somersaulting into a posh hotel Jacuzzi at the hotel in Vienna during a 1995 tour. It was a gutsy move and left little water in the Jacuzzi! Others would include the Welsh team borrowing all the international flags from tall flag poles at a historic square in Spa (long story). Coloured Bells handing from the bums/belts of Austrian players (never understood that one)and a list of weird activities undertaken by Mathew Rowley. So many that would take way too long to explain and might just get him arrested!
10. Which football team do you support?
Leeds United and in Australia Melbourne Heart.
11. What is your favourite food?
Any fine dining with a good red or white wine. It's one of the reason's why I love Australia and Melbourne.
12. Do you have any other hobbies?
Skiing, tennis, football (I enjoyed playing goalkeeper for Boroondara Eagles until recently - the mind was willing but the body not so), travel, and my family.
13. What is your favourite holiday destination?
Austria (Zell am See), such a beautiful country and lovely people (I proposed to Trish there). Very fond of Frazer Island in Australia too.
14. What is the best movie you have ever seen?
Back to the Future or the Matrix.
15. What is your favourite TV series?
It has to be Gavin and Stacey. It was lush it was!
16. What is your favourite music?
I like most types, except for country and western. Favourite bands, U2 and Garbage to name but a few.
17. Which person do you have most respect for in life?
Trish Young, my wife. A beautiful people on the inside and out. Other than Trish, I greatly admire Bono from U2 for his humanitarian work.