- 14 Jun 08, 05:05 PM
It may only have been a few days since I made my blogging debut en route from Vienna to Klagenfurt, but it feels like about a month, such is the amount of travelling we've done.
We've covered most of Austria going to football matches, interviewing players and managers, filming the stunning scenery, trying in vain to get my radio satellite dish to work and pleading with editing genius Nick to stop telling his shockingly bad jokes.
All to the soundtrack of "Mercy" by Duffy. It appears that every radio station plays it as soon as we tune in. We're begging them for mercy now - please stop!
I thought you may be interested to know what's involved in getting interviews after games.
First up was Klagenfurt again, this time for Croatia v Germany. The last time we were here we watched Germany play Poland. It was live on BBC1 and, after reporting on potential crowd trouble into half time of the earlier game, my next job was to do the live post-match interviews. This was a bit of an eye-opener.
I work for Radio 5 Live, so interviewing is a regular part of my job, but live television is very different. In radio, you stay in position in the press box on the gantry until the end of the game then head down to the tunnel and wait for a player or manager to come out of the dressing room before speaking to them.
With live television, you speak to the players straight after they've walked off the pitch, usually still dripping with sweat. It meant leaving my seat in the stands 20 minutes before the end of the game so I could take up my position.
There were about six different interviewing areas in the "flash zone" - it's not what you think, it's the area by the tunnel where they do the live interviews - each with a cameraman and reporter from different countries very keen to hear the views of certain players before their respective live programmes finish.
Our producer/match director Séan texted me from the broadcast van outside the stadium to request Michael Ballack as the ideal choice, with an ETA if possible so Gary Lineker would know how much time he had to fill with the studio pundits. I also requested Artur Boruc of Poland/Celtic.
Luckily, Ballack arrived in time for the end of the live programme. I had been given strict instructions by Uefa official Sebastian that the interview must last no longer than 90 seconds, time enough for three questions. Ballack spoke very well so I was a little cheeky and sneeked in a fourth. Afterwards, I tentatively looked round at Sebastian, who stopped his stopwatch and gave me the thumbs-up. "Perfect, thank you," he said. Phew.
At that point, a Polish team official came over, shrugged his shoulders and told me: "Boruc is in the shower. I asked him to come for an interview but he told me to '**** off'." Ah, and there was me unsure of his grasp of English.
Forty-eight hours later, the fun bus headed to Innsbruck for Spain v Russia. The Alps made a stunning backdrop to a fine football match, in spite of the lightning and heavy rain.
Again I only saw around three quarters of the match - and only two of the five goals - as I had to nip off to meet Sebastian downstairs by the flash zone. I had nine minutes between the end of the game and the end of our show in which to try and get some player reaction.
I'd put in a request for Fernando Torres and/or Cesc Fabregas, who'd come on as a sub and scored. But as the seconds and minutes ticked by there was still no sign of any Spanish players....until news filtered through that the Prince of Spain had gone into the dressing room to talk to the players. Argh! Fabregas did eventually (and it seemed reluctantly) appear after his shower to talk, but it was too late for Lineker and co.
So as you adopt your regular formation on the sofa for the next live game and afterwards think "why haven't I heard from the star player?" then bear in mind that they might be in the company of royalty or they may simply have better things to do than talk to the likes of us!
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