FWA Q&A: Joe Lovejoy

JOE LOVEJOY on drinking the profits, Dave Mackay’s key rings and the Alien in Georgia

Your first ever newspaper?
The Kentish Observer, Canterbury.

Have you ever worked in a profession other than journalism?
Yes. Ran a pub, briefly. No prizes for guessing where the profits went!

What was your finest achievement playing football?
Breaking Peter Brackley in half while on a course in Portsmouth.

Most memorable match covered?
The 1988 FA Cup Final, when Wimbledon beat Liverpool and my old mate “Corky” took me to the post-match piss up at Plough Lane.

The one moment in football you would put on a DVD?
An enraged Dave Mackay lifting Billy Bremner off the ground by the scruff of his neck. Dave used to give out key rings with that pic on.

Best ever stadium?
The Maracana.

…and the worst?
Belle Vue, Doncaster. The old chairman should have been knighted, not put inside, for burning the dump down.

Your best ever scoop?
A pistachio/vanilla mix on the front at Blackpool.

Your personal new-tech disaster?
During Euro 2008, failing to file Big Phil Scolari’s first press conference on being appointed by Chelsea, when I’d asked most of the bloody questions!

Biggest mistake?
Trusting “Herr Flick”, aka Alex Butler.

Have you ever been mistaken for anyone else?
Jack Duckworth, by a woman in a Monmouth pub. I even had the broken specs!

Most media friendly manager?
Harry Redknapp.

Best ever player?
George Best.

Best ever teams (club and international)?
Present Barcelona team and Brazil 1970.

Best pre-match grub?

Best meal had on your travels?
In Moldova. It was so good Charlie “Two Dinners” Sale ate Alan Smith’s main course as well as his own [it was supposed to be for 2 to share!]

…and the worst?
Something that turned my stomach into a scene from The Alien in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Best hotel stayed in?
Cavalieri Hilton, Rome, before Gazza’s debut for Lazio.

…and the worst?
The Europa, in bomb-torn Belfast. It took a bottle of Bushmills to settle the nerves. And that was at breakfast!

Favourite football writer?
David Lacey, the doyen.

Favourite radio/TV commentator?
Anyone who doesn’t use the phrase “pull the trigger.” Whatever happened to the verb to shoot? A favourite? Mike Ingham.

If you could introduce one change to improve PR between football clubs and football writers what would it be?
Remove most of the press officers, who do their best to deny, rather than facilitate interviews.

One sporting event outside football you would love to experience?
Pontypool RFC winning the Swalec Cup in Wales.

Last book read?
Lovejoy on Football by Tim Lovejoy. Forty years as a football writer and some chav puts my name on his advert for Andrex.

Favourite current TV programme?
Emmerdale. Chastity has got to be a misnomer!

Your most prized football memorabilia?
Signed painting of Stanley Matthews.

Joe Lovejoy reports matches for the Observer and Guardian. His book, Goals, Greed & Glory: Twenty Year Of The Premier League, was published recently.

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