In this episode Mike Fitz AKA @Fitztaxi interviews John Sitton AKA @TheRealSitts.
This is the first time that Mike has attempted and interview and I think that he did an excellent job and would hope that he will do some more interviews that can be included in this show and podcast.
This interview was first broadcast on London Taxi Radio on Monday 18th August 2014 during the SuperCabby Radio Show.
The SuperCabby Radio Show is Broadcast Live every Monday night on London Taxi Radio at 10pm.
Below is some information about John taken from Wikipedia
Playing and early coaching career
Sitton’s playing career began at youth level at Arsenal and Chelsea, where he turned down an approach from Crystal Palacebefore signing professional terms at Stamford Bridge in 1977. After making several appearances, Sitton fell out of favour with then-manager Geoff Hurst, and, after turning down an approach from Wimbledon, transferred to Fourth Division Millwall for £10,000 in February 1980 under George Petchey. Sitton enjoyed his time at Millwall but new manager Peter Anderson took an instant dislike to Sitton and sold him to Third Division side Gillingham in September 1981 and spent four seasons there under manager Keith Peacock before being signed by Frank Clark for Fourth Division side Leyton Orient on a free transfer in July 1985 where he was made club captain.
Sitton started to work on his coaching badges in 1988, staffing coaching courses via the London FA at the FA training centre atLilleshall under the FA Coaching Education Scheme until 1997, alongside such future managers as Alan Pardew and Kenny Jackett. At Lilleshall, Sitton coached youth players such as future Tottenham Hotspur and England player Ledley King.
In the 1988–89 season, Sitton captained Leyton Orient to promotion to the Third Division through the play-offs, and in all made over 200 appearances for Orient in all competitions. After his release in May 1991, he started working for Orient’s School of Excellence Academy as a youth coach whilst making a few appearances for Slough Town in the Conference. By the end of his playing career, Sitton played in all of the top five divisions of English football.
Sitton was appointed joint caretaker manager at Leyton Orient with Chris Turner in April 1994, following the departure of Peter Eustace, and helped the team avoid relegation from the Second Division by earning four points from their last two matches. The co-managership was Sitton’s idea, as he did not know many of the first team players since he moved into coaching in Orient’s youth setup, and knew that Turner had more knowledge about them. The duo were given the job permanently that summer after the board received positive feedback from the players, and continued throughout the difficult 1994–95 season in which Sitton had to work in six different roles within the club whilst on a youth coach salary. The squad size was cut in half and the club was on the verge of liquidation, with the PFA paying the players wages for several months whilst chairman Tony Wood tried to sell the club.
During this time, he became one of the few football managers to feature in a Channel 4 documentary, Orient: Club for a Fiver (sometimes known as Leyton Orient: Yours for a Fiver), made in 1995 by Open Media. The programme highlighted Sitton’s well-known passionate language and managerial style, and featured a half-time team talk given by Sitton on 7 February 1995, after Orient had fallen 1–0 down in a league match at home to Blackpool. After sacking defender and fan favourite Terry Howard on camera in the dressing room, Sitton addressed two other players and offered to fight them, saying:
- “You, you little cunt, when I tell you to do something, and you, you fucking big cunt, when I tell you to do something, do it. And if you come back at me, we’ll have a fucking right sort-out in here. All right? And you can pair up if you like, and you can fucking pick someone else to help you, and you can bring your fucking dinner. ‘Cos by the time I’ve finished with you, you’ll fucking need it.”
Speaking about the event later, Sitton said, “Terry’s an ex-teammate of mine who I like very, very much. He’s good company when you go for a night out – but as a manager and a coach, he’s not what I’m looking for. I may have lost a friend, but by tomorrow I would have recovered.”
Orient went on to lose the match 1–0, and after winning only one of the next 15 games, both Sitton and Turner were sacked two months later. Orient won just seven of 47 games under the pair. After the pair left, the side lost the following three games and finished bottom of the table.
After leaving Brisbane Road, Sitton battled depression and had therapy. He was passed over for many club coaching jobs due to how he was perceived in Club for a Fiver, leaving him very disillusioned. He spent eighteen months applying for work without success despite being a well regarded coach within football.
In 1997, Sitton began learning The Knowledge in order to become a London taxi driver, completing it in 2003. He also had a brief spell as a scout for Manchester City, where he recommended Arjan de Zeeuw, Tim Cahill and a young Frank Lampard to the club, before Joe Royle cleared out the backroom staff on his arrival as manager in 1998.
Sitton had a short spell as assistant manager at Enfield under controversial chairman Tony Lazarou, and later briefly worked as assistant manager at Leyton. A few years later, he was brought back to the club by popular demand from the players. As manager, Sitton started well in the league, but pressure from chairman Costas Sophocleous after a draw made him decide to leave after the following match.
Sitton currently works as a taxi driver, and is a regular Twitter user. Since 2012 Sitton has done several interviews with Vernon Grant on YouTube in which he discussed his playing career and his time as Leyton Orient manager. Sitton related his hopes of creating a Wimbledon-style Crazy Gang mentality at Leyton Orient, coupled with youth development along the lines of Dario Gradi‘s work at Crewe Alexandra.
Since February 2013, Sitton and Grant have made regular videos via Skype in which Sitton discusses current events in football, tells anecdotes and makes score predictions. The pair are currently collaborating on an autobiography due for release in 2014. Sitton also appeared on Pitch Talk, discussing his life and career, and has also appeared onTalksport.
Sitton has a wife and three children. They live in Chingford, London.