Early in my journalistic career, I covered professional football at the highest level and it was a joy. Most players and managers were happy to stop for a chat after a game. I even interviewed a Reading manager once as he stood in the middle of the training ground whilst surrounded by players being put through their paces.
But as years passed, it all changed, and a reporter’s job became increasingly difficult. I hate to think what it is like now. With more and more media coming along, managers were prepared to speak only at a designated time, and clubs started to appoint press officers, whose permission was needed before talking to a player.
One-off exclusive interviews became scarce. The superstars of the day employed agents, and many demanded a fee before they agreed to speak.
But then it all changed for me – I was back reporting on non-league football and, decades later, I’m still enjoying it, albeit now mainly from a distance due to changes in my personal life and I’m not getting any younger!
“I love writing and reading about non-league, certainly more than professional football”
When I do get to a game, I always receive a warm welcome and it’s a joy to chat and mix with club officials, players and supporters.
Even most referees are happy to talk after a game, provided I don’t quote them!
As a member of the ‘old boy brigade’, I love writing and reading about non-league, certainly more than professional football.
My enjoyment is enhanced by the coverage of local clubs in newspapers, active websites like Football in Berkshire, and The Non-League Paper, which provides a truly outstanding service each Sunday.
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