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FWA Q&A: Nigel Clarke

NIGEL CLARKE on walking into the ladies locker room at Wimbledon…eating horse flesh…and sleeping by an open sewer

Your first ever job in journalism?
First job was for Dixon’s Agency the forerunner of Hayters. Messenger boy, tea maker, errand boy. Kept mouth shut and ears open

Have you ever worked in a profession other than journalism?
Never done a day’s work in any other profession or ever wanted to.
Most memorable match?
England 4, West Germany 2 1966 World Cup Final.

The one moment in football you would put on a DVD?
The above for sheer unmitigated tension, anxiety, emotion and, in the end, pride.

Best stadium?
The Olympic stadium in Rome.

…and the worst?
Crystal Palace.

Your personal new-tech disaster?
Snitching a 1,000-word interview with Franz Beckenabauer, who I knew, before the England v. West Germany semi-final in the 1990 World Cup. Then pressing the wrong button, losing the lot, and then, missing the coach back to hotel where I could have phoned it through on copy. Missed edition, office not happy.

Biggest mistake?
Walking into the ladies locker room at Wimbledon assisting an injured player who had turned her ankle, to be confronted with about ten naked tennis players, who stood their ground. Averted eyes and exited left very quickly.

Have you ever been mistaken for anyone else?
Geoff Hurst. But then I write like him too.

Most media friendly manager?
Malcolm Allison. Different class.

Best ever player?
George Best.

Best ever teams (club and international)?
Chelsea side that did so well under Mourinho. Brazil 1970.

Best pre-match grub?
Arsenal in the old days.

Best meal had on your travels?
A pint of whisky sour and a burger in Palm Springs.

…and the worst?
Horse flesh and stale cabbage in Moldova.

Best hotel stayed in?
Plaza New York.

…and the worst?
A dump in Albania with an open sewer running through the back of the bathroom. Toilet was brown and blocked.

Favourite football writer?
Ian Ladyman.

Favourite radio/TV commentator?
Brian Moore.

If you could introduce one change to improve PR between football clubs and football writers what would it be?
More contact between players and press. Like it used to be without any media officers snooping around.

One sporting event outside football you would love to experience?
A re-visit to that ladies locker room at Wimbledon…knowing what I know now.

Last book read?
A history of the Cuckmere Valley, the East Sussex beauty spot in the Seven Sisters Park.

Favourite current TV programme?
Countryfile.

Your most prized football memorabilia?
The badge of Bobby Moore’s spare England shirt. He gave to me when my daughter was born.

Advice to anyone coming into the football media world?
Eyes open, ears open, mouth shut. Look learn, and listen, and, never, even give up. The job is the most joyous thing in life.

Nigel Clarke has covered football and tennis for the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express.

1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Derek Procter

    August 9, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Hi Nigel long time since early days still love my football just reading about your life long time since you used to write the brockley football team news they were the days as u can see not very good on computer Derek

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