When Colin Met Wagg & Cheeseman
It was Andy Warhol, I believe, who said that, in the future, everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. He clearly had me in mind when he said that. Let me explain.
On Friday, following the publication of City’s financial results I received a phone call from BBC Radio Manchester, asking me if I would comment on them for the station, as well as talk about the Supporters Trust. After some discussion about the best way to do this we agreed that I would come on the pre-match programme on Monday night, before the Middlesbrough game. This naturally ensured I spent three sleepless nights, running through facts, figures and possible questions in my head.
Monday night came around and Ian Cheeseman came out to meet me and took me to the press area inside CoMS. For those of you who don’t know, the press section is at the back of Level 1 of the Colin Bell Stand, above the tunnel. Jimmy Wagg, the presenter was already in place, waiting for the news to finish. I was talking to him saying how easy it all sounded when you were listening but assumed it wasn’t that easy really. Jimmy said that the art was to think a few moves ahead, like a chess player, but to bear in mind that your next move may not always be the one you thought it was going to be. This became apparent as Jimmy & Ian had to shuffle things about as a couple of people weren’t ready or available for their planned spots.
Eventually, after Jimmy and Ian had a chat on-air about the team line up, it was my turn. Ian passed me the headset and off we went. Jimmy asked me about my background and I made the obligatory joke about accountancy being too exciting so I had to give it up. Then it was onto the figures but I didn’t know what questions he was going to throw at me so had to be on my mettle. I was also conscious of trying to avoid anything too controversial as I assumed someone from the club would be listening (although little did I know quite how closely).
Somehow I bumbled my way through but I can assure you it was not easy. For one reason you are in the open and there are loads of things going on around you, as well as monitors showing various TV programmes but mainly Sky Sports. However for some unaccountable reason, the one in front of Jimmy seemed to be showing a European channel with a dancing girl wearing a low cut dress. This was obviously quite distracting but Jimmy is over 21 so who are we to argue. The other distracting thing, having been on TV a few times and being used to talking to the camera, was that there was no such focus on the radio. While I was talking, Jimmy was sorting out his next moves so you felt like you were talking to yourself most of the time. So my admiration for the guys like Jimmy and Ian who do the radio commentary increased immensely.
Eventually it was the turn of Chris Bailey, the Manchester Evening News reporter, who was stood behind me to go on and with an inward sign of relief I handed the headset to him. As Ian was taking me out of the press area he asked me if I had noticed Paul Tyrell, the City press officer, sat nearby, listening on headphones and scribbling away intently. I hadn’t noticed to be honest as I was too busy concentrating but it did occur to me that the club’s financial position must be worse than I thought as we couldn’t apparently afford a few quid for a transistor radio. Or maybe they had a radio but couldn’t afford the batteries. So, Paul, now you know I don’t have two heads or an eye in the middle of my forehead or even a pair of horns; you could even come and say hello next time.