Sign in or
|P | Player Pics | A-Z of Players|
PersonalFullname: Alfred Manuel Petta
aka: Bobby Petta
Born: 6 Aug 1974
Birthplace: Rotterdam, Holland
Signed:10 July 1999
Left: 31 Dec 2004
Position: Left Winger, Midfielder
Debut: Celtic 3-0 St Johnstone, League, 7 Aug 1999
Born in Rotterdam, Petta excelled at both tennis and football at school. After making a difficult decision to concentrate on the latter he was drafted into the Feyenoord Academy. As his ability became clear, the coaches would invite the younger players to marvel at his outrageous skill.
However, Petta struggled to break in to the Feyenoord first team, spending time on loan first at Dordrecht, then at RKC Waalwijk. In fact, Petta was loaned to RKC in the same summer that Giovanni van Bronckhorst moved in the opposite direction, prior to his transfer to Rangers. He had been kept out of the Feyenoord side by a certain Regi Blinker.
It was at RKC that Petta caught the eye of Ipswich Town, and George Burley signed the Dutchman on a Bosman free in 1996. Petta struggled to adapt to football in England, making just a handful of appearances in an injury-ravaged first season, but gradually his ability shown through and Burley's faith in the player was vindicated. In the final year of his contract with Ipswich he turned down a move to Barnsley with the consequence that he was frozen out of the first team.
Celtic Career Review
Petta moved to Celtic in July 1999, having seen out his contract at Ipswich. His arrival was perhaps overshadowed by that of Berkovic and the fanfare over the Barnes/Dalglish 'Dream Team'.
As was the case with his first year at Ipswich, Petta's first season at Celtic was a virtual write-off. In 17 games in all competitions, Petta managed only a solitary goal, against Ayr in a Scottish Cup tie. Again stuck behind Blinker in the pecking order, his infrequent performances were - it has to be said - truly woeful.
But Petta gained a new lease of life under Martin O'Neill, and scored in the first game of the new season, away to Jeunesse D'Esch in the UEFA Cup. The undoubted pinnacle of Petta's Celtic career came on August the 28th, 2000, when he played a central role in Celtic's 6-2 hammering of Dick Advocaat's expensively-assembled Rangers side. So outstanding was Petta's performance that new Hun signing Fernando Ricksen was substituted after just 25 minutes of his Old Firm debut, he was being given that much of a torrid time by Petta. Beyond generally ridiculing Ricksen, Petta was instrumental in three of the goals, and received widespread praise for the style and quality of his wing play.
It was an incredible rejuvenation, perhaps Martin O'Neill's finest alchemical trick to date. One interested spectator in the stand that afternoon was Louis van Gaal, the incoming Dutch national team boss, who was suitably effusive in his praise. After a CIS Cup semi-final thrashing of Rangers at Hampden, Bobby was accused of "showboating" by his hapless opponents. He had skinned Reyna and Ferguson on the touchline, which proved to be one humiliation too many: the resultant petulant brawl bringing red cards for Mols and Reyna.
One of his best games was the great 3-1 victory over Ajax, where Petta played a blinder in the match that helped propel us to the Champions League group stages for the first time. He also scored in the match. He deserved all the plaudits.
Sadly for Petta, this rich vein of form was not to last. He was twice denied a cap for Holland through injury, missing a game with Turkey in March '01 through an ankle knock, then withdrawing from an August friendly against England with a torn hamstring. He was also literally kicked off the park in the CIS Cup final against Kilmarnock, which saw him crocked and replaced by Stephen Crainey after just 10 minutes.
Petta's place was put under further threat by the maturing Alan Thompson as well as the signing of Steve Guppy and development of Jamie Smith. But an opportunity arose for Petta in Celtic's Champions League group debut in Turin; Thompson had a torrid night against the Juventus defence, lacking the pace or guile to out-fox Lilian Thuram and Cristian Zenoni. With Juventus playing a back three, and a man light following Davids' red card, Martin O'Neill threw on Petta in an attempt to open the Juve defence up. Three minutes after Petta's introduction, Celtic equalised through Petrov, and Petta's thrusts down the left were a constant thorn in Juventus' side before the controversial late penalty that gave the home side the win (UEFA match & tactics report). Despite further injuries he signed a bumper new contract in summer 2002 to ward off reputed interest from Bordeaux and Paris St Germain.
Another call-up to the Dutch national squad to play Andorra in October 2001 had been quickly followed by more hamstring problems, denying him a cap for a third time. This marked a quick descent from the heights of the 6-2 game for Petta. He played just 5 games in the 2003/04 season, and was sent out on loan to Fulham, where he failed to set the heather alight.
After coming to a settlement on the remainder of his contract in December 2004, Petta had a trial at Bolton then saw out the season with minnows Darlington. He spent the following campaign with Bradford City where flashes of his best form were all too fleeting. An October 2005 derby match against Huddersfield Town saw Petta rampant in the first half but completely anonymous in the second, as his side succumbed to a late winner. Bradford's were not the first set of fans to be left scratching their heads at the enigma that was Bobby Petta!
In summer 2006 Petta emigrated to Australia to play for A-League side Adelaide United. He spent two injury-hit seasons there before joining Sydney FC for 2008/09.
He later returned to Scotland and opened a fitness centre with the cheesy catchline of "Get Betta with Petta"!
Quotes"Last season, when I found out that the management wanted to play a system without wingers, I was always worried that it wouldn't suit me. And it didn't."
Petta on his first season at Celtic, playing in John Barnes' unsuitable 4-2-2-2.
"He was a little bit forgotten in the Netherlands because, after always playing in the national under-16 and under-18 teams, he has never played for the senior side. However, it is very good to see him doing so well for a big club like Celtic and he played an excellent game today."
Dutch manager Louis van Gaal after the 6-2 game in August 2000.
|Club||From||To||Fee||League||Scottish/FA Cup||League cup||Other|
|Bradford||23/06/2005||08/05/2006||Free||23 (4)||4||0 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||2 (0)||0|
|Darlington||04/02/2005||23/06/2005||Signed||12 (0)||1||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Fulham||31/12/2003||16/05/2004||Loan||3 (5)||0||2 (3)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Celtic||10/07/1999||31/12/2004||Free||36 (16)||0||3 (1)||1||3 (4)||1||14 (4)||2|
|Ipswich||29/05/1996||10/07/1999||Free||55 (15)||9||5 (1)||0||8 (2)||0||1 (0)||0|
|Feyenoord||01/08/1995||29/05/1996||No appearance data available|
|Totals||£0||129 (40)||14||10 (5)||1||13 (6)||1||17 (4)||2|
|goals / game||0.08||0.06||0.05||0.09|
Honours with CelticScottish League
- 2000–01, 2001–02
Interview with Bobby Petta Pt1: Celtic, Old Firm & Martin O’NeillPosted by Andy Muirhead
© Robert Pool
Bobby Petta speaks exclusively with Scotzine editor Andy Muirhead on his life at Celtic Park, working under Martin O'Neill, what it was like to play in the Old Firm derby games and also the antics of Jose Mourinho's Porto side that beat Celtic in the UEFA Cup Final 2003 in Seville.
Having started his career at Feyenoord in the Dutch Eredivisie, he made the move to play for George Burley’s Ipswich Town side spending three years with the Anglia side. In June 1999, Petta swapped life at Ipswich Town for life at Celtic Park.
His Ipswich captain at the time, Tony Mowbray, tried to give Petta some insight into playing at Celtic Park.
Petta said: “I had a chat with Tony Mowbray and Mogga said to me, Bobby you have no idea. I could tell you how big it is, but you only know how big it is until you’re there.”
Once he was at Celtic Park, Petta admitted that it was totally different from life with the Town to the intensity of the Glasgow goldfish bowl, he said: “When I first came, I didn’t really realise that, you don’t think. But it takes a while to kind of get used to the life here too, as Ipswich was not as intense. This is one of the few places in the world where it’s really that intense.”
August 28th 2000, is a date that will live in the memory of most Celtic fans, as the Parkhead side demolished rivals Rangers 6-2. Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton scored two goals each, and while they took all the plaudits alongside Lubo Moravcik, Bobby Petta’s superb performance was overshadowed somewhat, in what was his very first Old Firm derby.
For Petta, it was a massive turn around in fortunes on the park. The previous season he had been booed by the Celtic fans, in a season where the Celtic faithful had to watch a John Barnes-led side fall flat on their face against Inverness Caley Thistle in the Scottish Cup, a game that Petta watched on from the sidelines rooted to the bench.
One player who would still be having nightmares of that 6-2 game would have been fellow Dutchman Fernando Ricksen. For the 22 minutes that he was on the park for, Petta terrorised his fellow countryman.
Petta said: “I was ready for it, I was fully focused and full of confidence. I couldn’t wait and get the ball and get passed him [Ricksen]. I was a bit surprised that they [Rangers] didn’t put anyone else there as support. When the board came up, he was surprised [to be substituted] and I was kind of a bit surprised also.”
The 6-2 game was also Martin O’Neill’s first derby as Celtic manager. On the change of management Petta added: “He came in after a really horrible, horrible season, not only for myself and the players but for the club too. The fans weren’t happy, there was a lot of expectations, but then he comes in, and you see it on TV now with Sunderland, there is something about Martin O’Neill where he is so good in motivating you, he makes you believe that you can do anything and man management is what it’s all about at that level.
“That’s what Martin O’Neill is good at and he came at the right time, there was a lot of expectations and we needed something new to do and obviously he came in there and before he started getting people in, he looked at what he had to deal with and that’s what he did.
“I thought that, ‘well it’s a new manager, a new start and I will get my head down, work hard and that’s what happened he changed it around, and turned it around for myself and obviously you had Chris Sutton there who had a bit of a bad time at Chelsea. Martin O’Neill was just great at picking the players, putting them together and getting the best out of them.
Playing in an Old Firm derby, with the level of abuse that players get at times as well as the expectations to win, Petta continued: “It can be quite daunting at times; you’ve got to be really strong and thick-skinned and try not to let things get to you.
“When you play in an Old Firm game you don’t need extra motivation. Obviously playing at home, Parkhead, you’ve got the crowd as like a 12th man on the pitch.
“But there is no hiding here; there is a lot of expectations. You can have a bad game, but it’s not a problem as long as you show heart and show that you want to work, want to fight for that jersey. If you don’t, they [the fans] will get on your case and rightly so.”
With the style of play that Petta was used to playing with Feyenoord and to a certain extent with Ipswich; he admitted that he had to add to his game when he moved to Celtic Park.
He said: “There were certain things that I had to get put into my arsenal, I’ve got to do the sliding tackle, I’ve got to get dirty. It might not be pretty but I have to do it to help the team.
“There is nothing better in an Old Firm game and have the fans right behind you and your full of confidence and playing well, there is nothing better than that honestly.”
In Season 2002-2003, Martin O’Neill, led the club to the UEFA Cup Final in Seville against Jose Mourinho’s Porto side. Watching on from the sidelines for any player would have been frustrating and for Petta it was just that.
He admitted: “Obviously I was happy that Celtic were there, but as a player you want to play. You want to be involved and I wasn’t involved, so I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t involved in the game at all.
“You want to be a part of it [UEFA Cup Final] and I wasn’t. I had a difficult season, I did everything I could possibly do to get on that team sheet. I knew I wasn’t going to start, but I thought I done enough to be on that bench, but it wasn’t to be.
“It was tough to watch them play, I wished them all the best of course, but you’ve got to be honest here and say ‘look you want to be there, you want to be involved and you would be disappointed if you don’t’.”
Celtic lost the final 3-2 after extra time, despite club legend Henrik Larsson scoring twice for the Bhoys.
On the defeat to Porto in the final, Petta said: “It’s a kind of anti-climax, you go there and you want to win. We played against Porto a couple of times in friendlies and we know what we were up against.”
However there was a sour note in terms of the way that Porto under Mourinho went about the match, in regards to their on the field antics and simulation. Petta added: “To lose the way we lost and Mourinho for me, he does anything to win, anything, if it means cheating or whatever we call it, he does that.
“It’s a bit sour, the dressing rooms were right next to each other and it wasn’t really pleasant to hear them celebrating. Its part and parcel of the game, but it’s not something that’s really nice. Faking an injury, rolling about and time-wasting, all that kind of stuff.”
Season 2002-2003 was the beginning of the end for Petta’s Celtic career as he played just five games that season and sat out on arguably the biggest game for the club in decades. The following season he played one game for Celtic in the Champions League against hungarian side MTK, before being loaned out to Fulham.
Although at this stage, Petta did not think it would be the end of his stay at Celtic Park, but was looking for regular first team football. He admitted: “To be honest no, I didn’t think it [Celtic career] was over, I was just happy to be playing again.”
“I was told to be more creative, and I did it. I did it in reserve games, but I never got a game. I went out on loan to Fulham in December and I was happy to be there, because I needed it, I needed to get playing. I was just happy to be out there and start playing again and being involved.”
In February 2005, Petta left Celtic permanently, but it took him three months to find a club and Petta is suspicious about his failure to find a club after leaving Parkhead.
He said: “See after leaving Celtic, it took me three months. I couldn’t find a club; you tell me how you cannot get a club when you leave Celtic? So somebody’s had it out for me, I’ve got to be honest; somebody was out there saying bad things about me.”
Petta finally found a club and signed for Darlington FC, in the North East of England. On the current plight to befall the Quakers, Petta said: “It’s just a shame, it really is a shame. I stayed there for five months, but I really had a good time with the players etc and a nice wee place too. It’s hard really hard to take, but that’s today’s climate it’s tough for clubs.”
Petta went on to play for Bradford and then made the move to play in the A-League down under, before finally hanging up his boots.
This summer, reports in the press stated that Petta could once more pull on his boots again playing for Paul Hartley’s Alloa Athletic. On that speculation he admitted: “I got a phone call from Mark Guidi and he said ‘can I pass on your number to Paul Hartley, because he got word of the fact that I was thinking about coming out and playing football again. Obviously he [Hartley] was a new manager and he wanted to get players in there to help him. I was interested but at the same time it never got to the next stage. I was busy with my business and we couldn’t get to an agreement.”
Latest page update: made by joebloggscity
, Jan 20 2012, 5:17 AM EST
(about this update
About This Update
Edited by joebloggscity
47 words added
15 words deleted
2 images added
1 image deleted
- complete history)
More Info: links to this page