- 7 Jun 08, 02:25 PM
So here goes with my blogging debut. The instruction is to give you an insight into the life of a commentator at Euro 2008, so that is exactly what I will endeavour to do.
Actually, it is a relief to be here. When none of the home nations made it, I did wonder if 5 Live would have the same appetite for the tournament.
However, just about the final decision former controller Bob Shennan made before he left his post was to commit the network to providing commentary on every game, so here we are.
It's been a hectic couple of weeks since my last domestic commentary of the season - the Championship play-off final. I was in Trinidad with England this time last week, arrived home at mid-afternoon Tuesday with a good deal of my prep work still to do, so figuratively speaking my feet haven't touched the ground.
Believe me, working as a football commentator is great. Like any other job it has it's negatives, but they are hugely out-numbered by positives, and I regard the tournament finals - the World Cup and the European Championship - to be the cream on the top.
France '98 was my first experience of this sort of thing, so I've now clocked up three World Cups and this is my third Euros. I can honestly say that my enthusiasm is undimmed. I'm not embarrassed to say I felt a real buzz of excitement as I closed the front door behind me at six o´clock yesterday morning.
Actually, just before I did that, I spotted a copy of the Rough Guide to Austria sitting on the bookshelf that I'd forgotten I had. So I spent most of the flight reading about the places I'll be spending the next three weeks, plus the potted history of Austria it contained. I am now a good deal wiser about Prince Eugene of Savoy than I was this time yesterday.
I have only made one visit to Austria before this so flying into Klagenfurt (International, as the lady on reception proudly reminded us) Airport was new territory. Extremely green and lush it is with the lower Alps all around. My commentary colleague Ian Brown reckons it has much of North Wales about it, and I wouldn't disagree. We are based here in Carinthia in the pretty town of Villach, famed for its ski jumping (see photo above), on the Daur River, which is about 20 minutes drive from Klagenfurt.
The main development yesterday as regards our team here is that Graham Taylor turned up with a plastic boot on his left foot. Only late on Thursday afternoon did he discover he has a problem with his Achilles tendon and the unwieldy boot was the only solution to ensure he could even join us here. It's great credit to him that he's just as cheerful as ever, but what a pain it must be for him in every sense. The doctor's final words were that he should try to give it plenty of rest. Some hope!
Anyway we're now concentrating on the action. We will be the last of the 5 Live teams into action at Euro 2008 when we bring you the Germany-Poland match on Sunday night, and, trust me, Ian and I have given Graham a long briefing session this morning on the pronunciation of the Polish names.
Listen in tomorrow night to find out how he - and we - cope with Jacek Krzynowek (pictured above) and his mates.
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