FWA Q&A: Peter White

I would like to dedicate this to my late wife, Trish, who passed away very recently. I have done it because my son Jamie, Trish and I, were going through the questions having a laugh about the answers only the night before she died. Pic: Trish and I, circa 1982, when Villa were in full swing.

Your first ever newspaper?
The Banbury Advertiser and first assignment was finding out the cost of sheep at Banbury Market.

Have you ever worked in a profession other than journalism?
My darling wife and I kept a pub for nine months when we moved to the Isle of Wight, but I was still writing as well.

What was your finest achievement playing football?
Scoring five goals in a game for Fenny Compton against Grimsbury in the Banbury and District League when I was 17.

Most memorable match covered?
Apart from Aston Villa’s glorious night in Rotterdam in 1982, it has to be in the Aztec Stadium, Mexico City when Maradona’s Hand of God goal and his pure genius knocked England out of the World Cup 1986.

The one moment in football you would put on a DVD?
Trish and I both agreed, we already had it. It’s when my son Jamie, aged 11, was playing in a cup final for Moor Green (now Solihull Moors) and scored a volley from the edge of the area in the last minute. They went on to win the game 3-2.

Best stadium?
Villa Park, of course.

…and the worst?
Birmingham City because of its press box. It’s like watching a match through a letterbox.

Your best ever scoop?
Gordon Strachan leaving Southampton, and an exclusive with Dwight Yorke on why he was quitting Villa for Man Utd. I gave him a lift from the training ground to The Belfry and he told me everything I needed to know.

Your personal new-tech disaster?
According to Trish it was my phone, laptop and anything electrical!

Biggest mistake?
Villa v Everton many years ago, when I called Derek Mountfield, Kevin Ratcliffe, all throughout the game in my copy. Ratcliffe wasn’t even playing.

Have you ever been mistaken for anyone else?
My near namesake, Peter Withe. Especially on foreign trips when the PA announcer always read out ‘number 9, Peter White.’

Most media friendly manager?
Lots. The majority more friendly than not, but Brian Little and I have always got on well with and Harry Redknapp was very good to me when he was at Portsmouth.

Best ever player?
It’s got to be Besty (George Best).

Best ever teams (club and international)?
Aston Villa 1981/82. Holland’s total football team, saw them thrash England at Wembley.

Best pre-match grub?
Man City’s Maine Road in the good old days.

Best meal had on your travels?
Best value for money-Bratislava- three course meal – £4.50.

…and the worst?
Remember big creepy crawlies in my lettuce in my Sunday lunch at Seoul Olympics 1988.

Best hotel stayed in?
Los Bricos, Acapulco, during 1986 World Cup trip.

…and the worst?
Hotel Cosmos, Moscow with Villa early 1980s. 320 bedrooms-one telephone!

Favourite football writer?
I could mention quite a few – let’s wait and see who sends me the biggest cheque.

Favourite radio/TV commentator?
Martin Tyler, but still prefer him with Andy Gray.

If you could introduce one change to improve PR between football clubs and football writers what would it be?
Ensure press officers/heads of media realise that there should be much better communication with journalists rather than think we are all ogres.

One sporting event outside football you would love to experience?
Saw England win the Ashes at home, but would love to see them do it Down Under.

Last book read?
How to be more efficient with new tech.

Favourite current TV programme?
Spooks or Hustle.

Your most prized football memorabilia?
Signed programme from 1982 European Cup final Villa v Bayern Munich and Andy Gray’s old gold Wolves socks from the 1980 League Cup final win.

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