Mike Collett: My Week

Find out what Reuters Soccer Editor Mike Collett has been up to with the latest in our My Week series…
Thursday Oct 20
The one thing certain about being a journalist is that no two weeks, no two days in fact, are ever the same. As the football editor of Reuters, the world’s largest international news agency, I tend to spend a fair amount of time travelling. This year alone I’ve been to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Poland, Ukraine, Germany, France….and Aldgate in east London where the Reuters sports desk is based. It so happens that writing the diary this week finds me in that rather less than exotique location. Still, it’s not all bad as it’s only a short hop to White Hart Lane in the evening to see the Europa League match between Spurs and Rubin Kazan. The only thing anyone will ever remember about the game is Roman Pavlyuchenko’s stunning blockbuster free kick which gives Spurs a 1-0 win and takes them to the top of the group. Earlier in the day, went to Wembley Stadium for a briefing about Great Britain’s Olympic team, with Stuart Pearce and Hope Powell named as coaches of the men and women’s teams.

Friday Oct 21
Friday always seems the busiest day of the week as I’m either at a manager’s press conference, or like today, co-ordinating Reuters’ coverage of press conferences, talking to reporters about the best lines from the pre-match chats football writers have had with the managers. Main story of the day is a bit of a flyer following yesterday’s press conference at Wembley with the papers reporting that Wayne Rooney could be called up to play for the Olympic team, which is stretching the truth somewhat about what was actually said at Wembley, but is technically true.

Saturday Oct 22
Now this a bit of a rarity – a weekend without going to a match, how will I cope – and what’s worse, how do I get around London Underground on its now traditional weekend of Planned Engineering Works (although my ticket will, naturally, be available on local Replacement Bus Services)? London Underground are trying to get as much done before the Olympics next year as they can – I reckon they could win a gold medal for Planned Engineering Works and for a superb replacement bus effort. They get 0 out of 10 though for closing the District Line between Earls Court and Wimbledon when Fulham and Chelsea are at home. Numpties.

Sunday Oct 23
A red or blue letter day whichever way you want to look at it. Just look at this scoreline: Manchester United 1, Manchester City 6. Or this one: Queens Park Rangers 1 Chelsea 0. That’s why we love the Barclays Premier League. Listen to the pundits, read the four-page spreads in the papers, listen to the managers, tune in to the experts – does anyone really have a clue what’s going to happen next? Unfortunately I’m not at either game, I’m co-ordinating the coverage of the Barclays Premier League and other European soccer which has its own rewards. We do what I believe is a fantastic job on the day’s happenings across the continent – all of which were a darn sight more interesting than New Zealand’s 8-7 win over France in the Rugby World Cup final. That’s a famous soccer scoreline too – at least for the fans of Dulwich Hamlet and St Albans City. In an FA Cup match in 1922 Dulwich beat St Albans 8-7, a bitter-sweet day for Billy Minter. He scored all seven of Saint’s goals and still ended up on the losing side.

Monday Oct 24
Yesterday’s epoch-changing result at Old Trafford demands plenty of follow-up attention. I’m back in Aldgate at the very un-football time of 7am to co-ordinate our plans and get reaction from around the world. I’m in so early there’s no queue for breakfast at Kelly’s, the best run café in Aldgate whose staffing levels at 07.00 would probably see London Transport’s weekend engineering works completed in half the time. It’s a busy day, too, as I am planning to write an analysis of the global appeal of the Barclays Premier League – now regularly watched by 1.4 billion people a week according to Media Analysts Sport+Markt. And they should know. Oh No, what’s this? John Terry back in trouble for allegedly racially abusing Anton Ferdinand. I might be popping back into Kelly’s for a late supper.

Tuesday Oct 25
Back to Wembley for a chat with FA chairman David Bernstein, Club England managing director Adrian Bevington and the FA’s chief executive officer Alex Horne. The FA meet a select band of senior reporters once a month or so for an informal chat about this and that. They’ve been doing it for years in Parliament and as the FA is the governing body of football, why shouldn’t they do it too? The FA has come in for a huge amount of criticism, some of it justified and some of it not, but they are at least making strides to be open and transparent. For that they should be applauded. And at last the wait is over: after four days without a match I get down to Crystal Palace to see them beat Southampton 2-0 in the Carling Cup. They are changing the guard at Crystal Palace and Dougie Freedman has some fine young players together in an emerging team including England Under-20 right back Nathaniel Clyne and up and coming striker Wilfried Zaha. Both could be in the Barclays Premier League soon.

Wednesday Oct 26
One of Australia’s finest food and wine writers, Winsor Dobbin, an old Associated Press sports writer in the 1980s, arrives from his home in Tasmania, determined not to miss the chance of seeing his beloved Norwich City in the Barclays Premier League while they are still there. The way they have started the season suggests he has a fair chance of seeing them next year too. He’s organised some kind of wonderful day out for himself at Carrow Road and might even exchange some culinary tips with Delia. Meanwhile after talking to Rohan Ricketts, Red Star Belgrade coach Robert Prosinecki, the former India boss Steven Constantine and Vancouver Whitecaps’ CEO Paul Barber, who used to work for the FA and Spurs, my analysis of the Barclays Premier League’s global appeal gets some fantastic response. Thanks men.

Thursday Oct 27
So the build-up starts to another weekend which will see me at Chelsea v Arsenal on Saturday and Spurs v QPR on Sunday. Then, after working for 10 days straight, I’m off for a tour of London with the aforementioned Mr Dobbin. We could well kick-off in El Vino’s in Fleet Street for old time’s sake. That might mean an afternoon without football, but I’m sure Winsor will choose a few bottles of the finest wines known to humanity to ease the pain.

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