The match itself was not one for the neutral but for me in the press box, there was certainly enough for me to talk about, with missed chances at both ends, controversial refereeing, a penalty and a record crowd at the John Smith’s Stadium for the Yorkshire derby.
The experience started for me when I entered the press room in the stadium, only to find myself talking to the Sky Sports commentator Gary Weaver and the co-commentator Danny Higginbotham. They both spoke to me as if they were on the same level as me, you would not know that they were known by many and followed on Twitter by thousands.
It really hit me that I was in the thick of it when I took my seat in the press box, to only be sitting next to the radio 5 live reporter on one side and the Talk Sport commentator on the other side. The friendly looks that I got from the busy professionals sort of said “Yes we know your position”.
You would think when you arrive two hours before kick off, you would have time to do what you need
to do, but in fact it feels like ten minutes. Before you know it the players are lining up in the tunnel.
As the match got off to a lively start, I found myself writing endless notes of
the action and hardly taking a minute to have a break, but of course its what the job is all about. I wrote what I thought was good quality notes, sometimes not even looking at the paper. But at half time I realised that the crazy abbreviations that I had used, I could only just understand. After five minutes of looking at them of course! Second half, it improved but I guess practice makes perfect.
At full-time, the clock starts ticking as soon as the final whistle goes, the whole press box is hectic. All of the journalists including me were frantically looking over their notes to see what they could make of them. Each of us having deadlines to meet, whether it be a writer for ‘The Times’ or a broadcast reporter for the BBC. Some of them only having half an hour to get their work completed.
For me at full-time, it was a case of putting the notes into a report and compiling an audio to send to base which has a deadline of 60 minutes. This is to get it recorded, edited and sent off. It was a challenge but the fact that I got it in 12 minutes before the cut off, I would say that it was a success.