IAN DENNIS, senior football reporter for BBC Radio 5 Live, on purple paisley pyjamas…a race against time in Oxford…and snoring football writers
Monday May 21
A feeling of relief that the England media trip to Spain was cancelled. The prospect of another flight 24 hours after getting back from Munich was not one to relish. So it was off to Salford for a meeting with the head of radio sport and get my equipment repaired ready for the Euros.
Tuesday May 22
A day of housekeeping but not the household duties, of the work variety. Last week had been so frenzied i hadnt updated my stats for the final set of Barclays Premier League matches. On transfer deadline day Dan Walker affectionately mocked my shabby A4 notebook by calling it ” the book of destiny”, well this is the book of data! It lists every Premier League player with appearances and goals and I carry the current campaign and the book from the previous season too. Don’t worry, I wasn’t wearing purple paisley pyjamas but it’s good to carry round in case I need to check anything quickly.
I start my prep for the England squad for Euro 2012 before I get the call telling me I have ten minutes to react to Didier Drogba leaving Chelsea on Radio 5.
Finish off with match notes ahead of the trip to Norway.
Wednesday May 23
Day off and watch my son in a school cricket tournament. Literally feel the heat from the sunshine but it’s the next 24 hours where I’m nearly stumped.
Thursday May 24
If you are still awake at this point and thinking “what a life” then today is where the fun and games start. The day should have been to leave home at 8, watch England training at 10.30, interview players, react on radio then drive to Heathrow for early flight the next day. What actually happened was a scene with a combination of the wacky races and Challenge Anneka. I would be the swarthy one from the Ant Hill Mob but I don’t do pink jumpsuits.
After filing our interviews back, the request came in that I was required “live” at the start of 5 live sport at 7pm. The problem being that I was leaving Manchester at half past three and the sat-nav said our ETA was 1845. Our destination was BBC Oxford because a studio had been booked to do the “live hit” and then proceed to London.
The back-up plan was my producer, Alastair Yeomans, had a piece of equipment to broadcast remotely if we failed to make it. So off we set in different cars but we became detached and took different routes to avoid two sets of traffic congestion. As the clock ticked down there were frantic telephone conversations between the studio, Alastair and myself – yes, we pulled over to talk – as I drove the backwaters of Warwickshire.The ETA now said 18.54 but the studio insisted we should still aim for Oxford. It was a hot sticky afternoon and the pressure was on. Had there been a race then the honours would have gone to Alastair because he was holding the door open as I pulled into the car park at 18.56. Dash to the studio and on air within minutes but it was very tight.
Friday May 25
I have often been told I have a face for radio and today i could not argue. Frazzled from the night before, a 5am start was hardly conducive for looking bright eyed and bushy tailed. Mind you I wasn’t alone judging by the faces of some of the press pack who were also travelling to Oslo for the Norway friendly.
There is a good camaraderie among the media and 75 of us were scattered throughout the scheduled flight to Norway. Some snoozed, others snored … a taster for life on the road and in the air for the forthcoming trip to Poland and Ukraine.
I did both and in a semi conscious state was aware of the plane suddenly aborting its landing. The pilot calmly described the situation as as “go around” because there was a plane on the runway and he also had spotted a light aircraft. My eyes remained closed and it was off to the hotel before Roy Hodgson’s press conference.
I have been impressed with the new England manager and the way Roy Hodgson has conducted himself has been quite refreshing at the end of an exhausting two days.