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TLOTLDR - World Cup Blog Day 10 (10th June 2014)


It's the first huge scandal of Brazil 2014 and I'm right at the centre of it - all because I work daft hours!
Now I'm in Rio, I have the dubious honour of welcoming fellow journos to my room in the middle of the night and have them speak to Alan Brazil on TalkSPORT for 30 minutes. I hadn't reckoned that the walls in the 'Lemmy' were wafer-thin and that John Cross from the Mirror would turn up, pick up the microphone and promptly awaken almost the entire 11th floor, not just Stuart the cameraman next door who was ready to break down the internal door between our rooms and give us a right round of you-know-what's.
There was talk of me having to move rooms as a consequence of this disturbance, but the truth is that Crossy would raise the dead with his booming voice whatever floor I was stationed on, so I shall endeavour to hold future pieces with my colleagues in the hotel lobby. Unless the night porter has a problem with that.

Transport was an issue once again today, as the plan initially was to go to the Maracana to obtain our official accreditation for the tournament and then head back to England's media base to chat to Roy Hodgson. The Rio traffic banjaxed that particular idea, for when our bus finally arrived to collect us at almost 9am, a full hour after its intended arrival time, it was clear we'd never get to the stadium get through the accreditation process and make it back to Urca in 90 minutes. An executive decision was taken, so Roy's presser took precedence - the Maracana could wait.

I actually can't wait to see the Maracana, and not just for footballing reasons. KISS played to the biggest audience ever seen at the old stadium in summer 1983 - 137,000 fans saw one of the last shows the band performed in full makeup prior to their unmasking for the release of the 'Lick It Up' album that September.

137,000 fans, just to see you in concert - think of that for a moment. Wow.

I own a bootleg video of that show (well, Rich Dredge has borrowed it off me actually - need it back pal!) and it's an extraordinary sight. What Mike Parry might call 'a seething mass of humanity'. The band themselves talk about that run of Brazilian shows with great affection for those fans, if not for the organisation by the promoters and the local transportation crews.

Sounds familiar?

Roy and co were late too for their intended 10.30am start here - which pleased my 5 Live colleagues who had gone to get their accreditation from the International Broadcast Centre and been involved in a terror ride across town in a cab desperately trying to get here in time to join me in the radio room for Roy's arrival post TV & newspaper briefings.

Evidently by the perspiration on Ian Dennis' brow, it had been a character building experience for all of them, but he'd just about recovered his composure by the time the England manager was brought into our midst for a brief chat. Mike Ingham looked totally unruffled by the whole experience it seemed.

Roy had been visibly ruffled once things got started by a question in the TV press conference from a Brazilian reporter who was stirring up old issues about Manaus and whether England were 'most complaining', as he put it, about having to play there. Pointless and loaded question which Roy rightly took exception to - he explained his position once again to all and sundry. That doesn't mean some numb-nuts won't ask exactly the same question to him once we're in the Amazonian jungle. That would provoke an interesting reply to say the least.

Still haven't seen the rest of the TalkSPORT crew yet, Mike Bovill's brief visit last night aside. Plans are afoot tonight for a bit of a meal before everyone goes their separate ways for a bit.Stan & Jim head off to São Paulo tomorrow, Alan heads home at the end of the week and so does Goughie I think. Alan is being very well behaved thus far, I must say :)

Me and my insides may go their separate ways before too long - it's nearly malaria tablet time, and everyone I know who's ever taken them tells me they make you as sick as a dog. Great.

That's unless I don't catch pneumonia first, after standing in drizzle for 20 minutes as our press corps finally went to Maracanā in the afternoon to get our own accreditation. The queue didn't look too severe when we arrived (about 25 deep) but it simply didn't move and nobody was being let into the tent where all the official passes were being printed off.

Enter John Dillon of the Daily Express, a man clearly not given to waiting around. He marched confidently to the front of the queue, garnered the attention of a lady in some kind of senior position, and within seconds our party was going in through the out door, as it were. Round the back passage (fnarr fnarr) through the exit doors and straight to the nerve centre - our passes were done almost instantly. Dillo told us it was 'his charm' that worked the oracle for us - the thousand yard stare he perfected whilst getting us in may also have helped. Legend - we were almost prepared to concur with Dillo after that that West Ham did indeed win the World Cup in '66.


I look a proper drowned rat on my official photo though! Not a good look.

As for news back home - my landlord has suddenly decided to sell the house where I'm renting, so once I finally get home I have around 3 weeks to find somewhere to live. Glorious. Absolutely glorious.

And I'm not home for my girlfriend's birthday :(

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