Q1 - You started your career at Manchester United. What age were you when you started playing football and how did the move to United come about?
As far as I can remember I always had a football at my feet, so at least 4 or 5 years of age. Even if I had no one to play with I would find a gable wall and practice using it. I recall in primary school (yes I can remember that far back) playing in a match which must have been a final because most of the school was out watching it. I scored a diving header and with all the cheering girls I thought this is good, I like this game.
The move to United came when I moved to secondary school and got spotted playing for the school team by Bob Bishop who was the United scout. I went over aged 14, signed what was at that time called school boy forms and then at aged 16 signed apprentice forms and moved to live in Manchester.
Q2 - You joined United in the period before Sir Alex Ferguson arrived at Old Trafford. Do you think your career may have worked out differently if you joined when Ferguson was at the helm?
I can't say that things would have worked out differently and I've never been one to think 'if only'. During my time at United I had a total of 3 different managers. There was Tommy Doherty followed by Dave Sexton followed by Ron Atkinson. Both Doherty and Sexton liked me and things were progressing well, but when Atkinson came in he didn't fancy me and let me go. That's life you just dust yourself down and get on with it. But it just proves Atkinson knows sod all about football.
Q3 - When you returned to Northern Ireland, you played in a highly successful Linfield team which won multiple league titles. How would you compare the pressure you experience when at Linfield compared to Old Trafford?
I never felt any pressure at any Club I played for. Yes you always want to be in the team and get frustrated when you're not if the manager isn't picking you, but that's out of your control. You have to remember you're playing a game you love and as a bonus you're getting paid for it. As a player I met many people who had disabilities and others in wheelchairs who would just love to walk never mind kick a ball. So, pressure? No.
Q4 - You finished your playing career as captain at Carrick Rangers. What are your memories of your playing career at the club, how much pride did you take from your role as Captain?
I have great memories for my time at Carrick and thanks to people like those in the Spirit of '76 Supporters Club I still do. I had some of my most enjoyable times as a footballer playing for Carrick (and some not so, but we'll not go there). We had some really good players who wore the Carrick shirt during my time resulting in some good teams which punched above our weight.
One of these teams was of course the one which reached the 1995 Irish Cup Final. I don't think anyone will forget the semi final against Portadown at Windsor Park. Describing it as Custer’s last stand wouldn't do it justice, but on this occasion Custer won.
I was very honoured and privileged to Captain Carrick in that final and despite losing 3-1 to Linfield we gave a good account of ourselves with Linfield scoring their third goal late on as we were pushing for an equaliser. Who can forget Anthony Gilmore's cracking goal to level the game at 1-1 - no one - Gilly won't let you forget it!
However, the best thing about my time at Carrick was the supporters and their dedication and commitment to their Club. I was fortunate that the supporters took to me and I had a good rapport with them, to the extent that I am now one of them travelling home and away to support our wee team.
Q5 - Who was the best manager who you played under? What made them so special?
I have played under a number of managers in my time, some good, some not so. But my most enjoyable time was under Kenny Shiels when he was Carrick manager. Kenny encouraged players to get the ball down and play on the deck. He wanted his team to play football and signed players who could play. I'm sure the supporters will remember his time and the quality of football played, and the progression the Club made under him winning the County Antrim Shield. Unfortunately his success led to Kenny moving to Coleraine as manager and he subsequently took some of our better young players with him. Then he became Kenny who?
Q6 - When your playing career finished, you quickly entered the world of management, taking over as manager of Larne. Did you always hold ambitions to be a Manager?
Basically - Got Larne manager’s job - got sacked - was allowed back to live in Carrick.
Seriously I had no real ambition to go into management although coaching did appeal to me. The Larne post came about by chance after a conversation with Harry McConkey who was at Larne at the time. Anyhow Harry mentioned me to the Larne Board, they approached me and I agreed to take up the post as manager. However, the job was short lived as I got the chop that Christmas. I have to admit that I never enjoyed the role and that's why I never ventured back into management again.
On my return to Carrick I got involved in the Youth set up and coached at this level for over 20 years which I really enjoyed.
Q7 - If we fast forward to the present day, you are the Carrick Rangers Director of Football Development. Tell us a bit about what that involves?
At the beginning of season 2018 I was invited to join the Carrick Board. Shortly after joining I was asked to take on the role of Director of Football Development. This role entailed me setting up a scouting system which is now in place and to liaise with the first team manager regarding targets and potential signings. I also work closely with the Head of Carrick Academy in respect to player recruitment, development and pathway. I'm enjoying the role and I can't wait for football at all levels to recommence.
Q8 - Both your son and son in law, Ashton and Jonny Addis respectively, have played for the club. Do you take an active role in providing advice guidance for their career?
No. I only offer advice or guidance if they ask for it.
Q9 - You made a number of appearances in Europe. Who was the best team that you played against in your career?
That's a difficult one as I've been fortunate to play against some big clubs, such as Man Utd, Spurs, Newcastle to name a few, but I'm going to have to go for Flamengo of Brazil. I was at Linfield at the time and the game was arranged to celebrate Linfield's centenary year in 1986. They were some team. Bebeto was playing for Flamengo but I never give him a kick.
A close second was Club Independiente of Argentina, whom we played in Miami - but I don't want to name drop.
Q10 - Do you still keep in touch with ex teammates?
Yes, I would meet up with ex Linfield players now and again and we have a WhatsApp group that keeps us in touch. But myself and my wife Chrissi are good friends with Lee Doherty and his wife Sharon and we meet up regularly.
I would on occasions bump into some ex Carrick players I played with but the majority of our get togethers is when the Club/Supporters Club organise events. It would be nice if we could get together a bit more often outside of these events. If only there's an ex player out there who could sort this, eh DIXIE!
Q11 - What do you think is the biggest change in the local game from when you played to the present day?
One big difference for me has been the rise of the youth academy system.
I know some people believe you can 'over coach' kids but if you can offer good quality coaching in the basics of the game at an early age then surely that must be a benefit before progressing to participating in competition leagues. I know the Academy set up at Carrick is first class with honest dedicated coaches involved and this has resulted in a number of local players progressing through the ranks over the years and making their first team debuts. Like myself there are a number ex Irish League players coaching at Carrick which is great to see.
Another difference has been the growth of 3G pitches. This has assisted in the development of youth academies but most importantly it has provided better training facilities which has assisted in the young people developing their technique and skill level. This in turn has produced improved quality throughout the youth leagues and into the Irish League which is on a high at the minute and producing some excellent football.