Wednesday, 9 January 2013

My Footballing Dream Come True - Commentating for Match of the Day!

Having been football mad since I can remember, I've always wanted to be a football commentator. Come to think about it, any kind of sporting commentary would do!

Those who have had the great misfortune of being with me whilst watching live sport (either in the stadium or at home on TV) will testify to my fondness for lending my own unique style of commentary for each occasion. Never is this more so than when Wales are playing in the 6 Nations!

I hold sporting commentators such as Murray Walker, Peter O'Sullevan, Sid Waddell, Bill McLaren, David Coleman, Peter Allis, Richie Benaud, Brendan Foster, Ted Lowe, Eddie Waring, Harry Carpenter, Brian Moore, Barry Davies, Clare Balding, Kenneth Wolstenholme, Barry Davies and John Motson in the highest regard.

They have all, in their own inimitable way, given the moment of sporting drama, the gravitas required to make a truly wonderful moment of sport, a wholly unforgettable one.

Indeed, back in early 2011, I paid my own personal homage to what in my eyes, are the Top 20 Greatest Moments in Sporting Commentary as can be viewed here.

National Football Museum in Manchester
But when I visited the superb National Football Museum in Manchester before Christmas, little did I realise that I would have my own unique opportunity to put my personal stamp on a historic moment in sporting history, for posterity!

The National Football Museum is not just a passive record of the people's beautiful game but also has a wealth of wonderful interactive opportunities for all.

I personally loved the BBC Radio snippets that could be heard for significant matches from over the years. Aston Villa Vs Bayern Munich in the 1982 European Cup Final was obviously a hit but so too was BBC Radio Cumbria's take on when Carlisle United avoided relegation on the last day of the season thanks to Goalkeeper Jimmy Glass' injury-time winner for a famous 2-1 win over Plymouth Argyle back in 1999!

Match of the Day 'Commentator Challenge'
Suddenly, it was my turn!

Amongst the many interactive elements, the best for me was the brilliant 'Match of the Day Commentator Challenge' on one of a random choice of classic commentary moments. I watched as others went before me to get a feeling for how it worked and saw members of the public commentate on Leeds United Vs Sunderland in the 1973 FA Cup Final, Justin Fashanu's Goal of the Season for Norwich Vs Liverpool in 1980 and Liverpool vs West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup Final. 

Then it was my turn, my moment to live a boyhood dream and of all of the scenarios available, I almost jumped out of my seat with joy when it gave me, by random chance, the one I wanted - Hereford United Vs Newcastle United in THAT famous FA Cup 3rd Round Replay from 1972 at Edgar Street...

I'd noticed how I needed to keep an eye on the screen but also 'refer back to Gary Lineker in the studio' as they do on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday with Jeff Stelling and the boys, to make it look as life-like and as real as possible. I'm proud of the result!

I must admit however as an addendum before I allow you to watch it yourself, that after I finished and was watching the excellent 'play-back' facility, an excitable Liverpool supporting member of staff who I'd been speaking too off and on during my visit, bounded over and asked whether it was my commotion that could be heard from the far side of the museum?! I'm afraid it was!

"Now over to Mark Cole, in the commentary box..."
So, here it is but before the big moment, here is a sample of my live action commentary, as mentioned at the top of this post, that was gleaned from a visit to Bury FC's Gigg Lane to watch non-league FC United of Manchester Vs Grantham Town just days before our visit to the National Football Museum!

I was visiting my old University friend Huw Owen who decided on the great idea of a Saturday afternoon game at the footie and with the score at 0-0 entering the final minute, I told Huw to use his camera to film the great atmosphere. Little was I to expect an injury-time winner! Please note my amazement at the 4th official...

Clearly, my own unique brand of commentary caught someone's eye at the Beeb because literally within 48 hours, here I was, commentating for Gary Lineker!

Unique? I'd like to think so! But here, for the record, is John Motson's take on proceedings, at the time!

Perhaps I'm made more for radio than TV but either way, that was my moment and I bloody well loved it! A boyhood dream, realised!

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