How difficult can it be to run a large Championship football club, and get them back into the Premier League?
How difficult can it be to run a promotion-chasing League One football club, and get them back into the Championship?
How difficult can it be to run a League Two football club, and get them into League One?
These questions were on my mind as I walked through the doors of BBC Radio Nottingham for the first time – in August 1999.
Nott just a game
As it turns out, the answer to all three questions was the same – very, very difficult.
For twenty years, I followed the fortunes of Nottingham Forest, Notts County and Mansfield Town – as well as the Nottingham Panthers, Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, Carl Froch, Nottingham Rugby etc etc.
It’s a great patch to cover sport, because sport matters so much to the city and county.
Ask anyone out in town on a Saturday night “how did Forest get on today?” and most people will know.
I had two decades of fun, privilege, anger, excitement, tension, abuse, joy, misery and luck. Most of all, luck.
Some guys have all the luck
In some moments, it was difficult to remind yourself that you’re lucky to do the job you do.
It was often difficult to switch off – and sometimes you didn’t want to – but often you needed to, and couldn’t.
I had luck in working with great colleagues, who worked hard to make the “product” as good as it could be.
I had luck in working with fantastic sports clubs. We had our ups and downs, we had our arguments, we had our giggles.
Whatever I did over twenty years, I did because I thought it was the right thing to do, broadcast or tweet.
They often had different views, and that’s fair enough – they came at arguments from a different point of view.
Virtually nothing I say in this blog is meant as a criticism of people.
Virtually all of them were doing the very best they could, often in difficult circumstances.
Hopefully in this blog, over the coming weeks and months, it’ll give you a bit of an insight – from my point of view – of what was happening at certain times.
Sport is full of great characters, and inevitably you really get on with some, while others you have to get on with for professional reasons, but you don’t really like.
And then there are those who you don’t really form a relationship with, because they don’t want to. And all of that is fine.
Some managers I really got on with (it may surprise you who!), others I didn’t like or rate, and some I couldn’t tell you much about because there was no relationship either way.
The inside story
That’s the way covering football works.
Football is a strange industry, a very strange industry.
It defies all logic, and very fine businessmen have often made odd decisions when it comes to football.
And football managers can be the strangest of all folk – the pressure and paranoia does strange things to them.
I hope to give you an insight into my dealings with them.
But most of all, I hope you enjoy the blog.
Because sport is meant to be fun, an escape from everyday life – I often think that it matters too much to some people these days.
And, as you’ll see, most of my 20 years in Nottinghamshire were just that. Fun.
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