The Football Season 2021/2022 is now at an end for me work-wise, after 108 games, mostly as a commentator barring a few ‘reporter’ shifts in amongst them, and 21 different pundits by my side (not all at once) to help cover the action.
“Guys, you carry on without me - I need to get back home with THIS…”
I was with my school friends in October half term 1982 on a trip into Birmingham city centre, and I think we were heading for the big cinema on New St to see some blockbuster or other.
Suddenly my plans did a huge 180 as we walked past the HMV store near the Odeon theatre. There, in plain sight on the ‘new release’ racks, sat an unmistakable image of Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Eric Carr and Paul Stanley in a malevolent looking, blue-lit close up shot.
I’m pretty sure I said to myself that I would probably struggle to come up with a set of songs to make enough for a 3rd solo album in the immediate aftermath of “Second Time Around”’s release in late 2015. I didn’t really have anything left over from those sessions and also felt that I’d exhausted my back catalogue sufficiently too. But I actually hadn’t in truth on that latter point, and it was deciding to go in a slightly different direction that has ultimately led to a brand new 11-song collection ready to be unleashed.
3 years since I’ve been to the Fylde coast to observe the Tower lit up at night, since seeing the original Sooty puppet in a plexiglass case at the start of the North Pier, and since seeing tungsten flung at a board of bristles by men in silk shirts and casual slacks.
“Ah Mr Danter! We meet again!”
A fresh-faced young man bounded into the BRMB reception area to greet me, and it took me a moment to work out who this chap was who I hadn’t seen in the building before but seemed nevertheless to know me rather well.
Whilst the previous football season was divided into 2 unequal chunks pre and post-1st lockdown, this past campaign has been almost exclusively about empty stadia, bringing your own sarnies and, in my case, utilising a selfie stick for a decent, worthwhile reason (i.e. not taking a selfie) using it instead to conduct socially-distanced manager interviews on my iPhone!
Allowing for those in catch-up mode due to COVID-19 related postponements, the EFL Championship is into its 2nd half of the campaign. And looking at the table I have to immediately offer an apology to fans of the 3 relegated clubs who I believed - before a ball was kicked in September - would not ALL be a competitive force this season. Perhaps one or two of them would compete up there in the top 6, but not the lot of them. I reasoned to myself that the division was weaker for the promotion of Leeds, West Brom and Fulham coupled with the 3 coming down.
Another season draws to a close - one that nobody will ever forget for very obvious reasons. I thought I’d attempt to pick my way through it from my perspective as a commentator, particularly after last week (22nd July) where the Championship’s final set of regular season fixtures threw up the sort of stuff that still has you gently shaking your head and unable to sleep hours after the fact.
First of all, I do hope this blog finds you safe and well in amongst these extraordinary circumstances we’re all experiencing.
At present, there’s not a lot of work on for football commentator types, and the lockdown made me think that it was time to revisit the past and do something I’ve been threatening to do for well over a decade - namely, bring my old BRMB & Heart FM comedy shows back to life.
First off, I hope everyone reading this is finding their way as best they can through the current lockdown situation we all find ourselves in.
The lockdown has prompted many of us with free time to pursue things not normally planned, no matter how much fun they might be! In my case, it does now give me a chance to complete the guitars and vocals for my third solo album. But also I’ve finally got round to locating all the old radio show material I had on minidisc and make a show out of it all.