Quickfire: Ryan France on Nick Barmby, fearing for his life at Millwall, Hillsborough’s ‘best atmosphere’ and slipping a Dennis Hobson punch

We fired a few questions at Ryan France, who went from non-league to the Premier League in a career that featured spells with Alfreton, Hull City and Sheffield United.

Staveley Miners Welfare v Maltby Main Northern Counties East League Saturday 28th February 2015 Staveley's Assistant Manager Ryan France Pic by Dan Westwell

He’s the current assistant manager at NCEL Premier side Clipstone.

Q: Who was the best player you played with?

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A: Nick Barmby was always on the next page, he always seemed to know what you were going to do, he saw your runs before you did, and before defenders did.

Q: Who was the best manager you worked with?

A: I loved Chris Wilder at Alfreton, but I’d have to say Phil Brown.

Q: Best atmosphere you played in?

A: Hillsborough, when we beat Wednesday 4-2.

Q: Worst abuse you took at a ground?

A: I would think, you don’t even know me, why are you slagging me? I was warming up at Millwall and I did fear for my life at that point. I only did one warm up before I went on.

Q: Opponent you hated playing against?

A: None really, every team I played against I thought bring it on.

Q: Worst tackle you suffered?

A: I had the odd tackle and kick thrown at me. When I was at Alfreton, Dennis Hobson was playing for Denaby and I was the new kid on the block. I went past him and he threw a punch at me. I didn’t see it, I was told about it. I’ve had a few good chats with him since, there were no hard feelings. I was just glad he missed.

Q: If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?

A: I would probably not have tried to do the shimmy when my knee went, other than that I’ve no regrets.