Legends Corner: Shane McGregor - bad boy not so bad
HE ONCE had a fallout with a national coach, an altercation with an influential club boss and some verbal exchanges with opponents and referees alike.
Such headstrong behaviour confirms one's personality.
It paints a picture of a petulant player who would surely like to put such incidents behind him after he had retired from football.
But not Shane McGregor, who maintains that he was not temperamental or troublesome during his glittering football career.
"I was passionate about the game and I gave my all to the game," McGregor told Sowetan.
"That is why sometimes I would react angrily when match officials appeared to lose control of the game. What also pissed me off was when players resorted to a dirty game.
"Football is a game of emotions."
We spoke to the 48-year-old former striker about his time scoring crucial goals for his clubs and life after the beautiful game.
You were perceived to be troublesome and bad-tampered how do you respond to this?
People had their own interpretation about me, but one thing for sure I was never a bad boy of match officials. For God's sake, I only received two red cards in my entire football career. Yes, I did have arguments with opponents but that was never real fights. I would just react on the spur of the moment and that was nothing serious.
Tell us about your fallout with then Bafana Bafana coach Stanley "Screamer" Tshabalala?
Screamer included me in the Bafana squad for our first international fixture after our readmission to world football and we played against Zimbabwe in Harare. I was irked by the coach when he changed our style of play on the eve of that match after we spent the whole week practising short passes with the ball on the ground. He told us to play long balls and in the air. I was not happy with the system as it benefited Zimbabwe and I told him how I felt at the interval. He was angry with that and I was substituted just after the restart and he never recalled me to the squad.
Tell us about your relationship with Anastasia Tsichlas at Mamelodi Sundowns?
She was Sundowns boss when I joined them as an assistant coach but took charge of about seven matches after Ted Dumitru left. I was not happy with how Natasha was going about things with the team and I told her how I felt. She blamed me for losing the BP Top8 final and then fired me. We did not fight but agreed to disagree. I respected her.
When did you turn professional?
I was a 21-year-old when I joined PG Rangers. I really enjoyed myself there. I was paid R250 per month and that was a lot of money at that time and I managed to buy my first car. It was a Ford Escort 1600.
You then moved to Kaizer Chiefs and became a household name there. Tell us about your stay at Chiefs?
Lovely. I really enjoyed myself there and I made a lot of friends and also came to know Soweto. I was close to Mark Tovey, Ace Khuse, Doctor Khumalo, Abel Shongwe, William Shongwe, Isaac Kungwane ... the list is endless. We were all close, a big happy Chiefs family.
How did you find Soweto?
I always enjoyed myself in Soweto and fans treated me with respect, including those from other clubs. I was never regarded as white and playing for Chiefs also helped me to learn more about other cultures.
Tell us about your combination with Fani Madida at Chiefs?
You will never see such a deadly combination in the PSL for a long time or probably never. We clicked so well and defenders were always confused because they didn't know who to pay attention to. In the 1991 season we scored 54 goals combined.
Who are the defenders that gave you a hard time?
The big John Salter and Andrew Rabutla. They were not taking any prisoners.
Which of your many goals stands out for you?
(Taking a long pause) I think the one I scored against Moroka Swallows in the final of the 1990 Castle Challenge at Soccer City. I scored from the tightest of angles. We won that match 2-1 and people are still asking me about that goal.
So are you still being recognised?
It is impossible for me to go a distance without being stopped by fans. Interestingly, some of these fans are young.
You told us about your salary at Rangers, which was your highest salary as a player?
It was R30,000 at SuperSport United. I joined them after spending more than 10 years at Chiefs. I was made a player-coach at United where I spent seven years. I later became general manager before joining Sundowns.
What is your most memorable game?
Every match that we won with my assists is memorable.
The Bafana match against Zimbabwe. It was embarrassing after they beat us 4-1. We were called names like the 4x4s, they even nicknamed Doctor Khumalo a nurse. What I wanted after that match was to quickly return home and never look back. But those embarrassing nicknames followed us home and stuck with us a little bit.
Tell us about your family.
I have been divorced twice and I'm free as a bird. My first wife is from Johannesburg and the second lives with my children in Cape Town.
Which coaches did you enjoy working under?
Jeff Butler; his knowledge of the game was out of this world. He made us play as a collective. Kaizer Motaung (Chiefs' boss) is a professional and instilled the sense of professionalism in the club. Philip Troussier was also a good coach.
What are you doing at the moment?
I give betting tips on Tellytrack on DStv and other betting tips on soccer and other sporting codes on the channel. I enjoy the job.
Will you return to football?
I will make a thorough consideration on this one.
Madida on his strike partner
"SHANE was something special in front of goal.
We understood each other and I think that was because we share a star sign. We were born in December and we had that rare connection.
Shane was a very nice guy off the pitch, but he was something else on it.
He was like Jerry Sikhosana. They hated losing and always put their lives on the line in every game for a win.
It is not true that Shane was troublesome.
He was a dedicated player and did not want to be bullied around.
The guy made scoring goals seem very easy. He could score from all angles, including from those that looked highly impossible to score from.
- Legends Corner is published in the Sowetan newspaper every Wednesday. Be sure to get your copy...