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FWA Q&A: Steve Anglesey

Daily Mirror columnist STEVE ANGLESEY on undercooking Spear of Destiny’s chips…an un-matey deputy sports editor…plus a loud argument, noisy sex and deep snoring

Your first ever job in journalism?
Book and film reviews for the posh Cheshire Life magazine, mid 1980s. Which naturally led to a job writing about American football in 1987.

Have you ever worked in a profession other than journalism?
As Jamie Jackson never tires of hearing, I worked as a chef in Manchester’s (in)famous Hacienda nightclub in the mid-1980s. I walked out one megabusy Saturday night when, after the manageress had left me alone for two hours so she could go dancing with her mates, she returned to tell me that Spear Of Destiny had complained their chips weren’t brown enough.

Most memorable match?
In person: Attempting to make sense of Man City 2-2 v Liverpool on the last day of 1995/96. Had to fill 12 pages on it overnight for the club magazine. As we’d just been relegated because of Alan Ball’s invisible radio and no players would speak, it wasn’t a best-seller.

In the office: Liverpool’s Miracle in Istanbul. “We’ll be in the pub for last orders,” we said at half-time. We weren’t.

The one moment in football you would put on a DVD?
“Aguerooooooooooo!” I own the DVD.

Best stadium?

Football: The Emirates/The Bernabeu. Other: The Linc in Philadelphia.

…and the worst?
Boundary Park on a cold night. Or on any night. Or day.

Your personal new-tech disaster?
One of my roles in my first proper job was to delete all the previous week’s copy on the servers. With one missed keystroke I managed to wipe out all of the current week’s paper, plus all the files for three magazines we were currently working on. None of it could be rescued.

Biggest mistake?
On my first shift at the News Of The World, circa 1988, I turned up sporting a No.1 cut and wearing a leather jacket and a T-shirt with a Vincent Van Gogh print on it. I had four pints during my break, came back and called the deputy sports editor “mate”. He replied: “It’s mister f*****g mate to you, son.” I didn’t do many shifts there.

Have you ever been mistaken for anyone else?
Elton John (I guess that’s why I support the Blues).

Most media friendly manager?
Owen Coyle/Ian Holloway

Best ever player?
For City: Trevor Francis. Everyone else: Maradona.

Best ever teams (club and international)?
Club: The City team in the 5-1 at White Hart Lane and the 6-1 at Old Trafford last season. International: Brazil 1982, the best fifth-place team ever.

Best pre-match grub?

Corned beef hash and mushy peas, Elland Road, circa 1995

Best meal had on your travels?
Just about anything in New Orleans on NFL trips. The last one was robin (the bird) gumbo.

…and the worst?

Mystery meat in “the best restaurant in Moscow” the night before the Steve McClaren disaster in 2007, washed down by a £16 bottle of lager in Abramovich’s bar afterwards.

Best hotel stayed in?
Essex House, New York or Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans.

…and the worst?

Nameless fleapit opposite Newcastle Station. Went on a dream job for FourFourTwo – watch the Tyne/Tees derby during NUFC’s relegation season under Shearer in Shearer’s Bar inside St James’. They beat Middlesbrough to give themselves a chance of staying up and whenever they scored it was like the opening scene of Fraggle Rock. By the final whistle, a handsome bloke in a replica No.9 shirt was simultaneously snogging one girl while groping, and being groped by, another blonde behind him, out of the first girl’s line of vision. Maybe it was the three of them in the next room who kept me up all night with a loud argument followed by noisy sex and then deep snoring.

Favourite football writer?

Current: Ollie Holt and Martin Samuel. All-time: Hugh McIlvanney.

Favourite radio/TV commentator?
Current: Martin Tyler and Mike Ingham. All-time: Brian Moore and Peter Jones.

If you could introduce one change to improve PR between football clubs and football writers what would it be?

Clubs should take a one-season gamble on improving trust between players and writers by opening the training ground dressing room once a week, NFL-style.

One sporting event outside football you would love to experience?
The Argentina Grand Prix, when/if revived.

Last book read?

Creole Belle by James Lee Burke. He’s been writing the same book for 25 years but it’s always the best book you’ve ever read.

Favourite current TV programme?
Treme, Parade’s End, Girls (starts next month on Sky Atlantic, unmissable)

Your most prized football memorabilia?

Replica Corgi-style model of City’s team bus on the 1956 parade with the FA Cup.

Advice to anyone coming into the football media world?
Don’t do a media course at college. Specialise and start a blog about a facet of sport you’re interested in. Use Twitter assiduously. Hassle a website/paper/mag you like, get in on work experience and make yourself part of the furniture. Find a mentor there – someone as good as Ian Stirrup, Alan Lees and Loz Hatton, Danny Kelly and Howard Johnson, Des Kelly and Dean Morse would be nice but you’d be lucky – then watch what they do and try to do the same. And look after your teeth.

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