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Pressing For Space At United

evertonfc.com , 17th November 2009 - 09:17

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I’m looking forward to getting back behind the microphone on Saturday following the international break (thankfully the last of the season!!).

However, I don’t particularly relish the 5.30pm kick-off time. It’s probably the worst slot of the weekend given that it eats into virtually all of your day. Not too much time to do anything before or after really by the time we’ve wrapped up on air and filed interviews etc. I shouldn’t complain though given the money the TV companies pay the clubs and after all it’s a pleasure to be commentating on every Blues fixture.

Old Trafford is a great venue for football and I’m sure all players look forward to making an appearance there, given its stature as a top football stadium. Though the radio commentary position is still a little cramped and I’m of the opinion that the whole press area at Old Trafford needs expanding somewhat to accommodate the number of journalists and radio personnel that attend. The view for Sharpy and I though on Saturday is a decent one, a good height although our position is midway inside the half towards where our travelling fans will be housed.

Some commentary positions can be a long way from the action. Next week at Hull for example, we’ll be up in the gods, having to climb around 250 steps that means you don’t want to leave your seat and head back to the press room too often prior to kick-off!! It is though, right over the halfway line, but the fact it’s so high up can be a little deceptive when describing the action as it does give you the view that there’s an awful lot more space on the pitch than there actually is! 

On the contrary, the position at White Hart Lane, Tottenham, is extremely low, right behind the dug-out’s in fact which really makes you appreciate the speed of the game and just how fit players are required to be.

I should also point out that although we use the phrase “commentary box” we are very, very rarely inside a box or behind glass. All the Premier League commentary positions are outside, generally barely sectioned off from fans so it does create a good atmosphere. In fact, I hate being behind glass or inside a box. It simply detracts from the action and atmosphere and only seems to happen to us on the odd occasion when we’re overseas.

One such place was Barcelona some years ago and it’s probably the furthest away from the action I’ve ever been when commentating. They position the radio commentators in a box right in the very top corner of the stadium! Yes, over the corner flag virtually which makes the view a little tricky to say the least, however they do provide a TV monitor to assist, although on my first visit there the TV wasn’t working so it was no help whatsoever! It was like watching subbuteo!

Our last overseas trip with the Blues was of course to Portugal and the Estadio Da Luz which is a fine stadium with decent facilities, a little high but no complaints really (apart from having to endure a nightmare 90 minutes for the lads!) I’m now looking ahead to Athens and the Olympic Stadium. Hopefully there’ll be no problems there for us or the players and we can secure our qualification to the knockout stages.

Prior to that though some pretty big league games looming large, not just United at Old Trafford but the small matter of a Merseyside derby. Let’s hope our injury situation has improved by then. We’re going to need all our big name players available for what’s likely to be a very interesting period through to the New Year.

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