Another season of the Football League has flown by…here are a few highlights of my experience with Soccer Saturday.
This season I started doing my first “in-vision” reports- basically my actual mug on your telly. I did my first on October 10th, Yeovil V Dagenham and Redbridge. I remember it so clearly, naturally I was nervous…but I loved it! Before kick off, I followed an elderly lady up the steps of the stand, she was adorned in Yeovil’s green colours and looked as if she had been a fan for life. It was an important reminder to remember people watch Soccer Saturday to check in on their team, see how their accumulators coming along and to keep tabs across the leagues. With this in mind, I tried to give the best description I could without getting too caught up with being in-vision for the first time!
I received some lovely tweets and feedback, and enjoyed reading them all when I got home that evening. I enjoyed it immensely, and was lucky to be asked to do it a fair bit more through the season!
This season I have been to clubs familiar to me from Cardiff City down to Plymouth Argyle, and also visited places new like Crawley Town and Portsmouth. All the clubs without exception have been so welcoming. When I first started it was hard walking into a press room before the game not knowing anyone, so it has been great to get to know various people better this year, whether it is fellow reporters or stewards for a catch up.
It is still amazing to have Jeff or Jules throw to me at a game, I love being on my toes and describing the afternoon’s action. When you walk out into the stadium, there is nothing like the smell of the damp grass and the buzz beginning to form around a ground an hour before kick off on a Saturday afternoon.
There are a few matches that spring to mind as being entertaining, Bristol City thrashing Bolton Wanderers 6.0 was quite surprising. I have to admit Bolton’s performance that afternoon was one of the worst I have witnessed in the Championship. The shock defeat for Plymouth Argyle to Dagenham and Redbridge which ended 3.2 was also a great game to cover. Plymouth Argyle had so many shots and chances, but that was the day automatic promotion began to look extremely unlikely for them.
One of the things I find hardest on a Saturday afternoon is the cold! You can be standing on the same spot for 2 hours, when it’s literally freezing. I invested in some thermal leggings and tops this season which went someway to relieving the cold! Next season I may stop caring about how I look and add a few more layers…
It has been fab to again be a very small part of such an amazing programme. So many people work hard to make it all come together. The cameraman/woman and riggers are also freezing! Then there are people in the satellite truck making sure everything works. The guys and girls back in the Sky studios in sound make sure everything sounds good to go to air. Then there is everyone in the gallery working their magic, the producers calling what should go where and also people taking reports from the ISDN lines, when you dial in to report a goal. Then there are studio and floor managers, and camera people in there! The speedy graphics guys and girls are amazing, getting those graphics on your screen straight away! I am sure I have missed bits out but you get the idea, it is a massive operation!
Then of course there is Jeff or Jules and the boys in the studio. Making it all come together seamlessly!
My friends at Capital South Wales (where I present Mon-Fri) thought we have auto cues when out and about at grounds, or just that we read everything. We literally see the goal, tell our lovely producer Carly who has scored, get told to standby and a few seconds Jeff comes to us to describe the action. It is intense, but I love it. Roll on August!
As the season comes to an end, I have a big challenge of my own which I have been training for over the last few months. On Tuesday, I begin climbing 5 mountains, in 5 days across 5 countries in Europe.I am going for Capital South Wales (where I present drive 4-7pm Mon-Fri), to raise money for a cause close to me, Cancer Research Wales. If you could donate anything, it would mean the world:
Thank you, and see you next season! In the meantime catch what I am up to on those mountains on my Twitter @michelleowen7