I find myself in a privileged position these days. Having once been a fan paying the going the rate to enter Turners Cross to watch my local side Cork City take on the rest of the country, I now get incredible access to follow the clubs home games from my reserved position in the stadium’s press box. So what I have decided to do is write a diary for those of you interested in what it is like being a reporter on a night of a home Cork City match. It usually goes as follows.
6:15. Leave my house.
Of course, this varies on the time of kick-off but with the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division games usually kicking off at 7:45 on a Friday night, this is the time I’d usually make the short journey to Turners Cross.
6:35ish Park my car.
See it is a short journey but the ISH is thrown in because if any of you have ever been to Turners Cross you’ll know that both the parking and the traffic can be a nightmare on match night.
6:45. Enter Stadium.
Again depends on where I ultimately decide to leave the car but unfortunately, it’s never right outside the front door. Maybe one day. Between the walk from my car, showing my press pass at the Turnstiles to the stewards and confirming that my name is on the lift of accreditation, I am usually inside the stadium an hour before kick off.
6:50. Enter Pressbox.
After entering the ground behind the Shed end, I make my way behind the Donie Forde stand, walk up the steps in the centre of the stand, again confirm with the security that my name is on the list before entering the Press box and finally taking the seat that has been allocated to me.
7:00. Get ready.
The calm before the storm. After plugging everything in, turning everything on and connecting to the internet using the WIFI or my phone’s hotspot, it’s time to begin the final preparations. It’s around this time when the programme can be read but it’s mainly about receiving the team sheets and checking the changes made to the sides from the previous week. Recent form and other news should be done long before kick off and can be implemented into the match report where relevant.
7:40. Teams emerge.
Simple as that really. They usually line up in front of our stand so it’s a chance to take a photo that can be used on Twitter shortly before kick-off to promote the match and what you’re doing at the match. I usually do match reports and live updates.
7:45. Kick Off.
Game On. Start the stopwatch and take notes of both team’s formations.
8:30. Half Time.
Stop the stopwatch. 15-minute break before the second half which can be used to go to the toilet, maybe get a cup of tea (and sometimes biscuits and/or Clonakilty black pudding) but usually used to continue writing the match report depending on your deadlines.
8:45. Second Half Kicks Off.
Restart the stopwatch.
9:20. Final Ten Minutes.
Heaven or Hell depending on how the match/match report is going. The final ten minutes can be frantic as anything can happen. Usually, at this time the report should be almost done but football being football any late drama can cause many problems. More often than not though this period is about finishing the report, re-reading the report and making changes if necessary.
9:30. Full Time.
All going well, this is when the match report will be sent in and obviously when the live updates will conclude.
Once the copy is submitted, it’s often time to ring the desk to make sure they’ve received the report and that there have been no issues. Once the piece has been received by the employers its time to pack up and make your way out of the Press box and towards the press room by the entrance to Turners Cross.
10:00.Post-match press conferences.
This time again depends on numerous factors out of the control of the reporter. This time depends on when the manager and the player are available. Once they emerge and sit their separate press conferences, it affords the reporter an opportunity to ask questions and to record the answers on a phone/Dictaphone.
10:20. Leave the Stadium.
As soon as you have your quotes from the manager and the player, you can leave Turners Cross approximately over three and a half hours after entering.
10:30 Drive home.
Find where I left the car and return home.
10:45. Arrive home.
Traffic never bad that time of night so it allows me to make it home in decent time. Then, depending on deadlines, it’s time to transcribe what the manager and player said before writing the piece using the best of the quotes.
11:15 Submit in reaction piece.
This may take less time depending on what has been said and how long the press conferences lasted but when finished writing it is again time to send it to the relevant employer so it can be published.
Close the laptop and have a cup of tea. Then if you want you can read other pieces that have been published from the same match by other reporters and share your own articles that have been published.
Almost a new day, time for bed.