Paul Lambert recalls cleaning his rival’s boots

Paul Lambert is desperate to get one over on Steve Clarke on Sunday – because the Albion boss still hasn’t tipped him for cleaning his boots.

Soccer - Pre Season Friendly - Burton Albion v Aston Villa XI - Pirelli Stadium

The Villa manager was just starting to make his way in the game at St Mirren while Clarke – who is six years Lambert’s senior – was an established member of the Buddies first team.

“I had to clean Frank McAvennie’s boots for a spell, but Frank left to go to West Ham and I had Stevie’s boots to look after, I think I had about five or six players to look after,” said Lambert.

“I don’t remember if Steve left me a big bonus, he probably left me an IOU note!

“I played in my first game with Stevie and he played behind me. He was right back and I was out on that wing somewhere floating around.

“They were a really hard core of professionals and it made you grow up really quickly. He was a big part of it and he was one of those professionals that you really respected as a young player.”

Clarke admitted the young Lambert struck him as someone who would move into management, but claimed he was not being paid enough to tip him for shining his boots.

“Paul was a young apprentice, or groundstaff as it was in those days, at St Mirren,” said the Albion boss. “You didn’t have a dedicated boot boy. But if I remember rightly I was on £25 a week at St Mirren so I didn’t have any change left to tip them.

“He was just breaking into the team so we didn’t play very much together but we trained a little bit together and we know each other from old.

“Paul was always a serious professional. He demanded high standards of himself and that is one of the traits you probably need to be a coach or a manager. It’s always difficult to say when someone is so young, but it doesn’t surprise me that he’s gone on to be a manager.”