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International break again so time for a bit of a blog!
It’s that time again when domestic football fans despair! Anyway I’m not going to harp on about that once more!
I think my time will be better served looking back on our Belarus trip and looking further ahead to what’s in store for us.
And what a great result in Minsk last week. Achieved too with half a team (well at least 9 senior players absent for one reason or another). It was a very enjoyable trip as far as the media were concerned in the end. The build up to it hadn’t been great with the problems of applying for visas and then additional problems regarding our accreditation and equipment which all needed to be sorted out with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belarus prior to us leaving England! Even then we couldn’t be certain that all would be ok and in place for us once we arrived in Belarus. There were also additional commentary fees to sort out, with some media outlets being charged more than others, so all in all it was a bit of a shambles before we even took to the air!
However, on arrival in Minsk all went smoothly really once we’d cleared customs and had that visa stamped! Our hotel accommodation was fine and only a short bus ride from the stadium. We travelled to watch the team train at the Dinamo Stadium on the Wednesday night and sort out a few interviews with the boss and a player.
As a radio broadcaster the day before the game is pretty crucial really in terms of checking that the broadcasting lines are set up (via ISDN facilities) and we always travel to eastern Europe with some trepidation, fearing we may have to cover the whole game on a phone line!! Anyway I was rather amazed to find the relevant ISDN broadcasting line had in fact been fitted as per our request and was working correctly. Quite important really as the interviews needed to be fed back to Radio City for editing and to be used in our sports bulletins and the build up to the programme on the day of the game.
Following the team’s training session we can pretty much relax that evening before the game and take in the sights of whichever wonderful European city we’re in! Belarus was formerly part of Russia of course so we knew what to expect really! We did venture out to a few local bars but ended up back at the hotel which served until late and had the benefit of a nightclub upstairs! So for journalistic reasons obviously we had to sample this! Anyway a good night was had by all and we didn’t have to surface too early on the Thursday (matchday).
Despite the broadcasting lines going in the day before I still get very anxious on the day of the game wondering whether it’s all going to work properly, particularly in eastern Europe because I’ve experienced real problems before and we’ve also been asked to provide further fees on the day of the game( by armed police officers too!!) so I’m never truly relaxed until the match is over and we’ve fed back our post match interviews!
Thankfully all went well (both on and off the pitch!) and we headed back to the airport in good spirits.........soon deflated somewhat by a long wait on the tarmac before take off, eventually sorted by a very kind captain of the aircraft!
So it’s roll on the next two European adventures in Portugal and Greece..........where I’m sure all will be fine as we’re heading to two very large stadiums that have already staged major European fixtures. On top of that we can expect great support, particularly over in Portugal in a few weeks time given our ticket allocation. And with two victories already under our belt the European trips look set to roll on well into next year! Can’t wait!
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