IAN CRUISE on why size matters in Dallas…shinning up a drainpipe in Liverpool…and his gr8 dislike of textspeak
Have you ever worked in a profession other than football?
Not in a full-time capacity, no. At college I worked in a supermarket, doing everything from collecting trolleys to serving at the checkout, and pretty much all points in between.
Most memorable match?
As a fan, Luton’s win over Arsenal in the 1988 Littlewoods Cup final. The last 10 minutes, when Andy Dibble saved Nigel Winterburn’s penalty and Luton scored twice to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 victory, must rank among the most memorable ever seen at Wembley.
In a professional capacity, Rangers v Leeds in the group stage of the Champions League in 1992-93, when English fans were banned. The atmosphere was just electric. It was bedlam at kick-off, and then stunned silence after less than a minute when Gary McAllister scored for Leeds. You could have heard a pin drop. About 30 seconds later, the crowd went nuts again. And this time they didn’t stop.
The one moment in football you would put on a DVD?
Tim Breacker’s 40-yarder for Luton against Derby in the first minute at the Baseball Ground in May 1990. Peter Shilton didn’t even move. Luton went on to win 3-2 to stay up on the last day of the season.
The Nou Camp takes some beating. And I love the Millennium Stadium.
...and the worst?
Wimbledon’s old Plough Lane ground. Trying to work in the press box there used to be little short of torment.
Your personal new-tech disaster?
My dictaphone has let me down on a few occasions. Other than that, I’ve been pretty fortunate.
Agreeing to foot the bill for dinner with Ian ‘The Moose’ Abrahams on our first night in Poland during Euro 2012.
Have you ever been mistaken for anyone else?
I occasionally get shouts of ‘Oi, Frankie Boyle’ at me. Cold drink has usually been taken – by them, not me, obviously.
Most media friendly manager?
During my early days at Hayters in the late 1980s, I would often find myself in a reasonably deserted press box at Brisbane Road covering Orient in a Sherpa Van Trophy match, or something similar. And I’ll never forget the manager at the time, Frank Clark, used to make a point after each of those occasions of thanking us for coming to cover the match. That never failed to impress me, and still does when I think about it now.
Best ever player?
I’ve not seen anyone better than Lionel Messi.
Best ever teams (club and international)?
The Barcelona team of the past three of four years is rightly lauded as being one of the best of all-time. The 1982 Brazil World Cup team is my favourite international side.
Best pre-match grub?
I’ve not been on the match reporting beat for a long time now, so I’ve missed out on the culinary riches on offer at Barclays Premier League clubs these days. Luton always used to punch above their weight when it came to a half-time feast. I certainly never used to have breakfast on a Saturday if I knew I was off to Kenilworth Road in the afternoon.
Best meal had on your travels?
During my days at Shoot, I went to the States with World Soccer editor Gavin Hamilton for the Dallas Cup. The organisers took us out once or twice and the steaks were among the biggest and best I’ve ever had.
...and the worst?
See ‘Moose’ answer above.
Best hotel stayed in?
Nothing to do with football, but it is to do with work. Like many of us I have, at one time or another, found myself ‘between jobs’. When that happens we all turn our hands to other subjects and I did some feature writing work for Raffles’ in-house magazine. That happened to coincide with a holiday to Cambodia and they very kindly offered free accommodation to myself and my girlfriend for a couple of nights at their hotels in Siam Reap and Phonm Penh.
...and the worst?
Above a pub in Liverpool. I was up there for a couple of days in the mid-90s doing interviews with the Liverpool team. We got back late one night, the pub was closed and one of the lads had to shin up the drainpipe to let us in.
Do you have a hobby?
Favourite football writer?
Martin Samuel is at the top of the tree.
Favourite radio/TV commentator?
I’m obviously a bit biased, but I love the passion Sam Matterface and Stan Collymore bring to their coverage on talkSPORT. Peter Drury brings a similar passion to his TV commentary. And Martin Tyler remains up there with the very best.
If you could introduce one change to improve PR between football clubs and football writers what would it be?
Pretty much everything. It feels like the divide has never been greater.
One sporting event outside football you would love to experience?
A British & Irish Lions tour is top of my ‘to do’ list.
Favourite non-football sportsman/sports woman?
Mo Farah / Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Last book read?
Chameleon by J Jackson Bentley.
Favourite current TV programme?
TV show you always switch off?
Any reality show, talent show, celebrity contest of any kind.
If you could bring one TV series back which would it be?
Hill Street Blues.
The Killers, U2.
What really, really annoys you?
It’s not m8, it’s mate. It’s not gr8, it’s great. It’s not c u 2morrow, it’s see you tomorrow. Etc, etc… Plus the fact that half the population seems incapable of correctly using an apostrophe.
Your most prized football memorabilia?
I’m not really one for collecting things, but I’ve got a couple of signed Luton shirts which I’ve been given as leaving gifts from previous jobs.
Advice to anyone coming into the football media world?
Watch, listen and learn. I was incredibly lucky to work with someone like Dennis Signy when I started out at Hayters, and the lessons I learned just by observing him and spending time with him were invaluable in my development.
Ian Cruise is Digital Editorial Director at talkSPORT. URL is www.talksport.com.