Q&A with Stefani Miglioranzi
In the third of Steven Fyfe’s Q&As, former Town, Pompey and LA Galaxy midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi was kind enough to discuss at length Swindon’s play-off defeat to Brighton, playing with David Beckham in MLS and his time at the County Ground
When I was first getting into Swindon there was a decent squad. However, one man seemed to stand out with a different quality to his play: Stefani Miglioranzi. Having signed from Portsmouth after his release, Miglioranzi managed 139 appearances for the Town between 2002 and 2006. The Brazilian/Italian/American went score nine goals during his stint in Wiltshire
Hi Stefani, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. How would you describe your time at Swindon?
“I have very fond memories of my time at the County Ground. It was a very fun time in my career. I loved every bit of it. I had some great team-mates and coaches during my time there, some with whom I am still in touch with.
“I loved the people at the club as well and the fans always treated me very well. I wish I had never left.”
Are there any particular highlights from your time at SN1 you can recall and look back on?
“Certainly the play-offs against Brighton were one of them. The Carling Cup game against Leeds is up there too, because despite losing the game, I thought we totally outplayed them.
“The two times I captained Town was really special too. I think there were some goals in there too.”
The late Andy King put together a terrific squad of players during your time at the County Ground, who were the stand out players you played with?
“There were a lot of good players who came through during the time I spent at Swindon, but it’s hard to argue that Sam Parkin wasn’t the best one. He was tough as nails and had an unbelievable finishing touch. Jimmy Davis was a young player I was very impressed with in his brief spell with us.”
I first got into Swindon during the 03/04 season, the season that saw me taste my first experience of play-off heartache losing to Brighton on penalties. What do you remember of the games?
“I remember how well we played, Sam’s goal to tie it, Rory [Fallon’s] goal to take the lead in extra time, their goal late on and the penalties that saw us out. It was a very bitter pill and it took a long time to swallow it.
“We were deserving of advancing. A play-off final against Bristol beckoning – how amazing that would have been. If only we could have managed to win promotion that year. Kingy might have been able to keep our group together and I always wondered what we could have achieved. [It] wasn’t meant to be.”
Aside from ‘Come on you Reds’ and ‘Red Army’ your chant about being better than Zidane was one of the first I learnt. Did you like it?
“As I mentioned before, the Town fans were always so great to me. I loved the chant and still tell people who ask me about my time in England about it. They don’t believe me. I don’t know what I did to draw such comparisons but I took it as a very flattering compliment.
“Zidane is arguably one of the best players of all time and one of my favourites to watch. I am honoured that the fans thought so highly of me and my football.”
When it was confirmed you were leaving there was a suggestion that our good friends Oxford (then in the Conference) were interested. The rumour was you refused to talk to them. Was this true and if so was it because they were in the Conference or because they are Oxford?
“I remember that there was some interest from them, but it never went anywhere and I therefore didn’t have to give it any serious consideration. Let’s just say that I would have been very torn if that was my best opportunity to continue playing.
“I don’t know if many people realise but around January 2006 I had verbally agreed to renew and stay at the club but a couple months later before I signed the deal the offer had been pulled. I would have loved to have stayed.”
You went to the MLS and during two stints at LA Galaxy you had a certain Mr David Beckham as a teammate. What is he like to train and play around?
“David is a consummate professional and a gentleman. He was a terrific team-mate and a very good person. I was always amazed at his personality, considering the lifestyle he has and how public his life is.
“I never saw him turn down one autograph during the entire season I was at the Galaxy with him, and the incredible thing is he always had a smile on his face for those countless autographs and photo ops.
“As a player he was truly amazing, he is the type of player that as a team-mate you stop, watch and admire some of the things he did on the field. There were a couple times playing with him that I caught myself watching the play he made, almost as a spectator, and was in awe of what he had just done.”
The MLS is ever developing and improving, do you see this continuing?
“The level of play has improved tremendously as you would expect with better quality foreign players coming in. That is only a small part of the equation though, and better coaching, training, and facilities have also led to the improvement of the American players.
“MLS has helped to make people more passionate about the game, and I feel that is all that had been missing for the US to become a power in international football. I will not be surprised if I see the US competing for major titles in the next 10 to 15 years. We have the means, we have people that know the game involved in all aspects of the game, and people are passionate about.
“The MLS is fuel for that passion. I’m very excited to see where football goes in the US in the future.”
What are you up to these days now you have retired?
“Since I retired from playing four years ago I have been diligently working to build a name for myself as a player’s agent. Recently I was promoted to MD at First Wave – who, by the way, were the agency that represented me my entire career.
“I’m trying to provide the players I represent with the same guidance, opportunities and support that was afforded to me as a player. I also coach a couple of under-nine boys teams locally, and really love giving back to the game this way. There are so many values that can be imparted through football and hopefully I am succeeding in passing those values on to these young players.
“Most importantly though, I have a lovely family. My wife (of almost 10 years now) Minta, my son Enzo (5) and my daughter Livija (3) are the loves of my life – and being a husband and a father are my biggest joy.”
With so much to look back on picking a career highlight would obviously be very difficult, but is there one or two moments you look back on in particular?
“Championships come to mind, and I was lucky to win a few of those during my career, but the highlight for me was getting signed by Pompey straight out of college.
“You grow up dreaming of being a pro and there is no better feeling than accomplishing that, and setting feet on the field for the first time as a pro. I am eternally grateful to the late Alan Ball for believing in me and giving me my first opportunity in football.”
I would like to thank Mr Miglioranzi for taking the time to answer my questions and wish him and his family health and happiness. You never know, one day he may be in negotiations with Mr Power about sending a representative or two of his to play at the County Ground.