Sheffield Wednesday: Owls great vows to speak his mind

Carlton Palmer
Carlton Palmer

His controversial views on Carlos Carvalhal’s squad rotation policy caused quite a stir.

But Owls legend Carlton Palmer makes no apologies for telling it how he sees it.

Carlton Palmer

Carlton Palmer

For Carlton, who played 750 league matches in his career, will continue to speak his mind no matter who he upsets.

“The one thing I am is honest,” he said in our phone interview.

It will probably not be the first, or last time, Carlton has ruffled a few feathers in his life.

Carlton is an engaging, straight-talking individual. He is not afraid to challenge anyone or anything.

There are likely to be plenty more candid, forthright opinions from Carlton when he launches his first book this summer.

He said: “The book is a celebration of my life and the things that I have gone through.

“When you do a book, it forces you to look back and recall the good and bad things.

“I can certainly look back on my life with a certain amount of satisfaction and contentment. I re-married and have been together with Lucy for nearly 14 years.

“There are bits in the book which my kids won’t be happy to read but they are old enough to handle it now.

“It is the right time to do the book and I am hoping people will find it a fascinating read. The fact is I love football and I hope that comes across at all the clubs I played for.”

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So who persuaded Carlton to write a book?

“It was not something I was really thinking about but I was in Shanghai and I met an author of a play,” he said. “I really liked the way the play was written and then we spoke afterwards and he said to me ‘it would be criminal for you not to do a book’.

“And I said ‘I don’t want to do a book on the back of telling stories on Paul Gascoigne and people like that who have been my mates for years’.

“If I was going to do a book, it had to be funny about my career, life and the things I have gone through.

“It is well on the way now and gone off to the publishers.”

Carlton, who earned 18 England caps, is quick to stress it will be different to other football books. A number of subjects will be covered, ranging from racism to divorce.

“We have got a blend of football and important topics,” said Carlton. “I get footballers contacting me a lot on Twitter speaking to me about not being able to see their children and the courts not backing them up.

“I have no doubts whatsoever the book will cause controversy. There will be people out there who don’t agree with my opinions but it is my book.”

Carlton hopes his story will inspire the next generation.

“People only see the bits where you are successful so it is important that they see how hard I worked to achieve what I did in my career and Sheffield Wednesday was crucial to that,” he said. “It was the best period of my life.

“It is good for young sportsman to read in terms of setbacks and things that don’t always go right for you.

“Luck plays a part but eventually it boils down to hard work and determination.

“You will get knock backs but you can go far by working hard. I got 18 England caps and had a positive effect on other people.

“Hopefully young kids who aspire to do something with their lives will read my book and see what is possible with hard work.”

As you might expect, Wednesday feature prominently in Carlton’s maiden foray into the literary world. After all, he racked up 286 appearances for the Owls across two spells.

“All the clubs I have played for will be in there but Sheffield Wednesday is crucial and very central to the book,” said Carlton. “It was the best nine years of my playing career. They are still my club.

“The supporters at Wednesday took me to heart from day one.

“I come from a working class background so a lot of supporters identify with me.”

If everything goes according to plan, Carlton hopes to release the book around May/June time.

“It would be perfect with the book coming out if Wednesday were to get into the play-offs and possibly get promoted,” he admitted. “Fingers crossed that will happen.

“The chairman has made a lot of noises and put his money where his mouth is. They will be play-offs if not better.

“I have just got a sneaky suspicion Wednesday will run it very close on getting promotion this season.”

The Owls host Yorkshire rivals Leeds United, one of Carlton’s former clubs, tomorrow.

He said: “When George Graham was the manager at Leeds, he didn’t want me so I took a £4,000 wage cut to go and play at Southampton.

“George stopped me from going to Everton and West Ham who were doing well in the Premier League at the time. He knew I was a good player. He just didn’t want me to embarrass him and he even even used those words. But I didn’t want to stay there on my four-year contract, on the money I was on, and not be playing football.

“I went off to Southampton and it was interesting George put a clause in the contract saying I couldn’t play in the first game against Leeds. We ended up finishing above them in the league and we were eight points adrift at the bottom of safety when I went there.”

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