Yes, day 3 of the 2018 inspection was certainly a biggie, and I did it all without the aid of the breakfast in a bag on offer at the Travelodge.
An early 8am start at the Stadium of Light awaiting the arrival of the delegation on a rather painstakingly crafted landing spot outside the ground
and then it was all systems go…until 2am the following morning. I managed it all on a foot long Subway, a Red Bull and a late night £4 can of Grolsch from the mini bar which isn’t bad going. Not sure it’s a diet I’d advise but needs must, and I didn’t feel I could ask the helicopter to swing by the local fly through McD’s.
So, first stop Stadium of Light, and a tour of the stadium hosted by Niall Quinn and Steve Cram. The latter and I actually met back in 1986 when I interviewed him for my CSE P.E. project when I still wanted to be an athlete (see my biog) but I don’t think he recognised me. Some people. Anyway they’ve got a massive painting in reception which I think Niall Quinn said was the earliest football painting in the world or something.
I think Oxford United have got a photo of Jim Rosenthal wearing ox horns at the Milk Cup Final which is good enough for me.
From one impressive ground to another, and the short hop to St James’ Park. A short hop in aforementioned massive helicopter, although I was working so had too much on to worry about what might happen but luckily the conditions were perfect and I got some half decent shots out of the window.
Peter Beardsley (nicest man in football) was on hand to show the delegation around NUFC and I think he did a grand job. His love for the game and the club shone through and as long as they understood him, I’m sure the delegation would have been impressed.
Two down, two to go. Back in the chopper for the trip to Manchester, and a proper edit deadline for me. 50 minutes to upload the morning’s footage, cut it down into a 3 minute B-Roll for journalists and to set it encoding. So I didn’t see much of Yorkshire and Lancashire below us but I finished in time to pick up a few shots of the City of Manchester Stadium before landing. Sadly I missed out on the pastries; I’m that dedicated.
Eastlands is very blue and very plush indeed.
They’ve got a hydro-room and everything. World Cup hero Howard Webb was on hand here to meet the delegates along with Garry Cook; sure they did a great job but in my head I was entertaining myself with what could have been if Liam and Noel were showing them around.
From the blue to the red side of town, and the final ground of the day: Old Trafford. The red carpet was really rolled out here, with Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Alex Ferguson
and David Gill hosting, and cameo appearances on the pitch from Messrs Ferdinand and Rooney.
Aside from the silverware kicking around
what impressed me most was Sir Bobby bounding up the stairs like he was 20 again. Like Beardsley before him, his passion was infectious as he impressed upon the guests just what the club means to the town.
Over to the Town Hall for a few shots of the evening do
attended by the great and good of the game
but sadly not me. I had to make do with my foot long and Red Bull as I cracked on with the edits of the day back at the hotel. At least the previous night’s hotel disaster wasn’t repeated as I got to go posh at the Midland. £4 a small can of Grolsch in the minibar posh.
So by 2am, the day’s total ran like this:
Premiership grounds visited: 4
Flights in the massive chopper: 2
Knights filmed: 3
Inches of Subway eaten: 12
Small cans of Grolsch taken from the minibar: 1 – I wasn’t that desperate
Edits uploaded for broadcasters: 6
iPhones crashed and refusing to recover: 1
Technology can be a cruel master.