In the first of our new ongoing feature, we speak to Christopher Davies of The People about life as a football writer…
Your first ever newspaper?
South London Press
Have you ever worked in a profession other than journalism?
I did a stint in public relations when I was younger…among the clients were a women’s hat manufacturer…quite
What was your finest achievement playing football?
Scoring a goal from the half-way line with a back-heel…eat your heart out David Beckham…oh, it was during a six-a-side game
Most memorable match covered?
Has to be the 1994 World Cup final between Brazil and Italy for the Daily Telegraph…my first World Cup final as a football correspondent…it was far from a classic match but like players, football writers also want to be at the big ones
The one moment in football you would put on a DVD?
Bobby Moore lifting the Jules Rimet trophy in 1966 – and I was there, my ticket cost 17 shillings and sixpence
The Nou Camp even though the press box is so high you can shake hands with the man in the moon
…and the worst?
The old Plough Lane press box was, er, interesting…I remember covering the first game of the season there once and there was a sandwich left from the last game of the previous season
Your best ever scoop?
David Beckham to Real Madrid…sadly the Daily Telegraph decided not to use it…two months later the story broke…sob
Your personal new-tech disaster?
Arsenal 1, Parma 0 – 1994 European Cup Winners’ Cup final, Copenhagen…pressed ‘send’ but instead of sending my match report it disappeared into a new tech Bermuda Triangle…after a 30-second swearfest I picked up the landline (those were the days) and adlibbed 800 words
On talkSPORT recently I said: ‘I hope Guus Hiddink returns to English football…he has one more big job in him and I hope it’s here’
Have you ever been mistaken for anyone else?
At the 2002 World Cup finals a TV crew from Cameroon wanting an interview thought I was Barry Davies…’no, I’m Chris Davies’…’oh, you’ll do’
Most media friendly manager?
At the highest level Arsene Wenger has been outstanding…it is rare that his press conferences do not produce a story
Best ever player?
When I watch Lionel Messi, which I do virtually every weekend on Sky Sports, I am continually astonished at his skill…he makes the near-impossible seem easy, the ball is almost velcro’d to his magical left foot while he does not indulge in the dark art of diving
Best ever teams (club and international)?
The current Barcelona and Spain (which some say is Barcelona without Messi) teams have raised the bar and taken football to a new level…Barca’s display in the 2011 Champions League final was as near football perfection as it gets
Best pre-match grub?
Football writers who cover Arsenal’s home games are always well fed
Best meal had on your travels?
Certainly not Albania! I remember having a baby beef in Buenos Aires in 1978…it was the biggest baby I have ever seen…I have never eaten a steak as good (or as huge) as this…BA is not the place to be a vegetarian
…and the worst?
Well, I didn’t actually eat it – it was in Iran and it was sheep’s eyeballs in yoghurt
Best hotel stayed in?
On Capri shortly before Italia 90…the ultimate freebie…my room had its own swimming pool
…and the worst?
Hotel Tirana in 1993…we were told we may have to share but I didn’t realise my room-mate would be a rat…the rat also complained
Favourite football writer?
As a young lad I always loved reading Hugh McIlvaney (Sunday Times) and still do
Favourite radio/TV commentator?
The late Peter Jones had a voice and vocabulary that is unsurpassed
If you could introduce one change to improve PR between football clubs and football writers what would it be?
For young players to be educated in media relations
One sporting event outside football you would love to experience?
Australia v England, the Ashes, in Sydney (with England winning)
Last book read?
Scouting For Moyes by Les Padfield…a little gem
Favourite current TV programme?
Romanzo Criminale on Sky Arts 1…set in Rome in the 1970s…terrific
Your most prized football memorabilia?
My 1966 World Cup final ticket signed by the two captains, Bobby Moore and Uwe Seeler
You can read Christopher Davies, a former chairman of the Football Writers’ Association, in the People and hear him every Tuesday at 7am on talkSPORT’s Breakfast Show with Alan Brazil and Ronnie Irani