The Talking Bull Co-Editor Simon Wright enjoyed watching the Bulls beat Leamington 2-0 at the New Windmill Ground last night, but being “on hire” to Radio Hereford FC is not turning out to be quite as straightforward as he imagined.
By Simon Wright
In recent months, I’ve dabbled in the dark arts that is a radio station.
I’ve discovered if you have to witness your team lose, then its best to be commentating on the game. The protocol around being a representative for your football club dictates broadcasters should seek out the positives (within reason). Highlighting our best performers and identifying possible opposition weaknesses while reassuring the listeners that our manager knows what he is doing. For the sake of balance, giving due credit where due to members of the opposition. For me, there is an expectation that commentators know more than their audience, will be knowledgeable about both clubs and can offer their in-depth perspective. The more I investigated Chester, the more I understood that our visit would be a “very tough gig.” Sharing some of that insight hopefully soothes some brows. Mine was certainly soothed. With the headset on, you are divorced from any feelings of general malaise.
Contrast that with being sat or stood among fellow devotees. It’s hard not to be influenced by others around you. If they feel and are venting their frustrations, then that negativity will seep into you too. That’s collective mob influence. Always been around, always will be. The broadcasting team are so focussed on being the ears and eyes for the listeners that only in the last few minutes does their inner supporters reality dawn. Thus, I was probably one of the few more upbeat followers during and after the savaging by Chester.
I now understand that grim 90 minutes feel so much less grim from the rarefied media area. Again, it’s that focus, the positive want to emphasise the good bits and expound, literally, on the way forward. Again, within plausible limits.
We’ve all heard voice over experts putting lipstick on a pig, desperate to retain an audience to keep advertisers on board. I really hope that no Hereford radio channel has ever ventured into such blatant exaggeration.
My debut into first team commentary was from the press area at Alfreton in April 2019. With hindsight, this was an ugly, near unwatchable, end of season encounter. Right then, right there, Frank Williams and I sought the positives until realisation dawned later that there were precious few left to unearth.
Unexpectedly, there’s a bit of a downside with Hereford victories. Protocol permits only a brief release of emotions during goal scoring and after that, it’s back to the dispassionate descriptions. To a vocal supporter like myself, this is emotion-supressing and feels wasteful.
Until Slade’s men found form, 3-point feelings were comparatively rare and every moment needed savouring. Not with the cans on. Focus on the action, the detail and the plethora of substitutions. Thus, Hereford FC’s triumph at Leamington mainly passed me by. No songs, no bellows of triumph, no mutual applause, hugs or backslaps at the end. The magic of the moment is sidestepped and for me that is the downside of involvement in radio commentary. It’s different but not better.