In this week’s FWA Q&A we take to Daily Express football columnist Ian Ridley about England scoops, dodgy computers and that night in Munich… In this week’s FWA Q&A we take to Daily Express football columnist Ian Ridley about England scoops, dodgy computers and that night in Munich…
I became Sports Editor of the Worksop Guardian, in Nottinghamshire, in 1977. I say Sports Editor, I was the only member of the staff, covering the Tigers of Worksop Town FC and filling two broadsheet pages a week with the bowls and pigeon racing results. Great grounding.
Journalism is a profession? No, went straight into it from University and have never quite been able to leave, though it’s threatened to leave me a few times. Also done books and scriptwriting, which have kept me sane.
Scored a goal for the Guardian when we beat the Times in the Fleet Street Midweek League Cup final at Selhurst Park in the 80s. Can’t remember the year but I’m sure Rothman’s Football Yearbook will help you out. Think it was on the cover that year.
It came in a kick-about among the press at La Manga during an England training camp before the 1998 World Cup when I curled home a shot from 25 yards. Oh, you mean a proper football moment? Ossie Ardiles’ testimonial at White Hart Lane…Hoddle chips forward to Maradona, who cushions it on his thigh before lobbing it perfectly into the path of Mark Falco – who volleys it 20 yards over the bar. The game at its most sublime and ridiculous.
Always liked Porto’s Dragao stadium. The arches at one end offer a view from on high down the river making the place a great example of how an architect should use location to enhance the stadium, rather than just plonk some anonymous bit of kit down.
The one in San Marino probably. Have they used all the money they have made over the last 20 years to build a proper one yet? Someone has done well there, I’m sure.
One that never was. It was a Sunday at the England training camp in La Manga ’98 and I was on the way to the first tee for a round of golf with Joe Melling, the late, great Football Editor of the Mail on Sunday. As we went past the pool, where the England players were sunbathing, Paul Merson, who I was friendly with at the time, called me across. He told me that Gazza was not going to the World Cup and had just trashed Glenn Hoddle’s room in anger at the news. As I was on a Sunday paper at the time, I had no paper to put it in. Mind you, I was on the Independent on Sunday at the time and as Paddy Barclay said, telling the Sindy was the nearest thing to keeping a secret. A few hours later, it broke for the daily papers. These days, I could probably have tweeted it.
Working for the Daily Telegraph back in the early 90s, I was sent to do a feature on new international team San Marino. In covering their home match against Switzerland, my old Tandy “computer” locked and I lost 750 words of copy five minutes before the final whistle. I had to hastily ad lib a piece by phone. It’s times like these you learn to hate again, as the Foo Fighters didn’t sing.
Can’t think of anything major – but I may have blocked out all the stories and judgments I got wrong. Perhaps there are helpful colleagues and rivals who may have a better memory….
Obviously Harry Redknapp is always very helpful and quote-friendly, along with Ian Holloway at Blackpool, but for someone who keeps taking knocks and coming back with insights and good humour, it has to be Arsene Wenger. You can ask him about anything and he will answer. I am going to ask him for the meaning of life very soon.
I always preferred Maradona to Pele, in the way I preferred the Stones to the Beatles, because the Argentine made ordinary sides great, whereas Pele gilded great sides. The way it is looking,though, I think Messi can top them both. As for a favourite player: Jimmy Greaves, my idol as a kid.
Brazil 1970 and the Barcelona of now are the obvious answers, but no less true for that. I also enjoyed Holland of 1974 and Arsenal’s Invincibles.
Peter Robinson, the legendary secretary of Liverpool, once invited Paddy Barclay to lunch at the Grand Trianon hotel in Versailles. Generously, Paddy asked Peter if I could come along and he agreed. It was succulent. About £200 each as I recall, and it was 1994ish. Don’t think I got the bill through at the Independent on Sunday.
Probably in Poland. Glenn Hoddle said he had picked a team there because it was “horses for courses.” David Lacey pointed out that in Poland, it was horses for main courses.
The Dorint in Baden Baden for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. I was on the Mail on Sunday and for the first time with a paper who could afford somewhere decent. I had the most spacious and elegant room, which was just as well as we were there for around five weeks. Near enough to the Brenner’s Park to observe the England WAGS, far enough away to miss the House of Scouse also ensconced there.