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No Derby Bias

Radio City's Alan Irwin, 23rd January 2009 - 10:00

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Alan Irwin is the Voice of Everton for Liverpool's Radio City 96.7. An experienced radio journalist, Alan commentates on all of the Blues' matches and is well placed to provide insightful blogs on the progress of the team.

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Sometimes it's better to be a fan than a commentator !! As I've mentioned previously I do look forward to Derby day, the build up and banter is fantastic.

Working on the game though is quite an experience and I do feel privileged to do so. Many I'm sure are envious. However derby day commentary is a little different as at Radio City we "share" commentary duties in an effort to remain as balanced as possible for Blues and Reds. I will commentate on half of each 45 minutes and Steve Hothersall, our Liverpool commentator, will pick up the other half. Throughout the 90 minutes our summarisers Graeme Sharp and John Aldridge will chip in with their usual acerbic comments and expert analysis! All designed to keep our Everton and Liverpool listeners as happy as can be.

However, Inevitably it brings problems!! Take Monday night for example........Having covered the opening 22 minutes of the second half, I'm certainly conscious of the fact it's time to hand over to Steve at around the 23 minute mark (given that there'll be at least a minute of stoppage time at the end of the 90 this would virtually equate to half of the half !!) Victor misses a great chance and goes to ground inside the Liverpool penalty area and within seconds the Reds are on the break and Steven Gerrard does the rest.......the time on my stopwatch was 22 minutes and 20 seconds when the ball hit the net!!! I'm supposed to be "up for it" in terms of the goal commentary given that it will be replayed over and over, and of course archived for future playbacks! That's not easy, although the screams from John Aldridge were more than sufficient to drown out most of my words !!! Hand over time follows and it's subsequently Steve's turn to describe Tim Cahill's equaliser amid the yelps of delight from Sharpy!

I'm obviously used to commentating on the whole 90 minutes and describing each and every Everton goal. So Tim Cahill's late strike whilst Steve was covering the action did at least give me the opportunity to behave like a fan!! No microphone on so it was out of the seat and punch the air in delight! A rare treat!

And so to Sunday.........I suppose whichever way round we do it Murphy's law will decree it will be the wrong way!! Does it really matter?? As long as we win I'd say no not really and following our performance at Anfield on Monday I'm feeling quite confident of victory. I thought we turned in an impressive display and showed real fight and spirit that maybe we've lacked in a couple of recent derby encounters. It was certainly worthy of a point, if not all three and it'll do our belief the power of good.

I really hope Mr Moyes sticks with the same eleven for two reasons: Number one, the players who performed so well on Monday deserve to go out there and do it again. And two, it's the FA Cup. Play the strongest eleven possible because it's the greatest cup competition going and our only hope of silverware this season. As fans we're passionate about it and those clubs that don't take it seriously enough deserve an early exit from the competition.

Let's hope it's the red half who think they've got bigger fish to fry this season and receive their comeuppance! And I can celebrate in true fan style !!

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