FWA Q&A: Mick Dennis

Our series of member Q&A sessions continues with Mick Dennis of the Daily Express…

Your first ever newspaper?

Eastern Daily Press (Great Yarmouth office of the Norwich-based paper)
Have you ever worked in a profession other than journalism?
No, but I worked as a play-leader in parks while at school and then college.
What was your finest achievement playing football?
I once trapped the ball fairly cleanly
Most memorable match covered?
The 2006 World Cup Final, when Zidane’s last act as a pro footballer was to nutt an opponent.
The one moment in football you would put on a DVD
Norwich City’s second goal against Sunderland at Carrow Road, 26 Sept 2001
Best stadium?
 As a journalist, The Emirates. As a spectator, the Bernabeau
…and the worst?
Fratton Park, Portsmouth (as a journalist and as a spectator)
Your best ever scoop?
The electric fence at Stamford Bridge
Your personal new-tech disaster?
None. It is all much easier, and more reliable, than in the days of trying to get hold of a land-line phone to dictate a story.
Biggest mistake?
As a young sub-editor in Norwich I wrote a huge headline with three ‘E’s in Greenwood. About 25 years later, as sports ed of the London Evening Standard, I wrote a bigger headline with the ‘P’ missing in Campbell.
Have you ever been mistaken for anyone else?
As a young man, travelling with Norwich City, people used to assume quite often that I was one of the players — unless they’d seen me play.
Most media friendly manager?
Harry Redknapp and Arsene Wenger — very different, but both worth listening to and prepared to speak even after bad defeats.
Best ever player?
I saw Johan Cruyff and George best live and both were sensational. I’d opt for Besty, because played as he lived, closer to the edge.
Best ever teams (club and international)?
The Aston Villa team who won the league in 1981 were the most exciting club-side I saw a lot of. The 1970 Brazilians were peerless.
Best pre-match grub?
The Gunn Club, Norwich
Best meal had on your travels?
Why this fixation with food? Mostly on football trips I eat service station junk.
…and the worst?
See above!
Best hotel stayed in?
The Radisson Blu, Frankfurt
…and the worst?
The Adelphi, Liverpool
Favourite football writer?
David Lacey, The Guardian
Favourite radio/TV commentator?
Peter Drury, ITV
If you could introduce one change to improve PR between football clubs and football writers what would it be?
I’d make football clubs employ PR professionals, rather than former journalists. They are different jobs with entirely different skills.
One sporting event outside football you would love to experience?
I am lucky enough to have been to many. Football beats the lot.
Last book read?
A Golden Sky by Ian Ridley
Favourite current TV programme?
The Good Wife
Your most prized football memorabilia?
Media pass from Africa’s first World Cup (South Africa, 2010)
Mick Dennis’s column appears in the Daily Express each Wednesday during the football season and he reviews the newspapers on Sky Sports News each Thursday at 7.30 am.

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