Behind the scenes at the Non League Show

I got a text from Caroline Barker on Sunday asking me if I wanted to go up to the studio for Monday’s Non League Show. I’ve done this twice before and it is always quite fun so as I was free and it seemed a quiet news day Non League-wise I thought it could be a good opportunity to get some good Wealdstone messages in, so I said yes.

The first disappointment was finding out that regular studio guest, Dave Anderson, newly appointed manager at Harrow was not going to be in (babysitting as his wife was at Take That apparently) as I was looking forward to some good natured banter. Dave is a good solid non league guy. I think he is excellent on the show as he is the one to ask the difficult questions and his regular jousts with Conference spokesman Colin Peake can be good listening. The job at Harrow will be tough mind.

Then as Monday unfurled the story of Rushden & Diamonds withdrawing its appeal to the Conference broke meaning the apparent demise of this Club was likely to dominate the show – possibly meaning less time to talk Wealdstone. So I drove up to Regent St a bit unsure of how things might pan out.

You get to the Radio London part of Broadcasting House by 8.30. The other guests were Willie Wordsworth, a frequent visitor to Grosvenor Vale, and Dave Watters, a non league journalist. Sitting outside the studio Caroline runs through what’s being covered, who is due to be on the phone and any time left is a chance to catch up on any non league gossip.

Into the studio at 9.00 as the news is being read. Even though the mood is relaxed joviality as soon as the theme tune plays its time to snap into professional mode, Caroline runs an excellent ship. There is a good atmosphere throughout the team, and with the benefit of knowing the guys in the studio I found it easy to fall into the prevailing relaxed and upbeat mood.

Straight away I was given some airtime to talk about our pre-season preparations and hopes for the months ahead. Trouble is, Richard Jolly signing apart things have been quite quiet for us so for me the opportunity to paint a positive picture of how we run the Club amidst all the mess of the Rushden story was what I wanted to do. Fortunately I got a few opportunities to do that.

The Rushden story dominated the first half hour. Colin Peake was on the phone and as I’m afraid he usually does he had to comment on yet another difficult story for the Conference. Glorious amateurs is the best way I can describe it. They mean well, the Conference, but seem to lurch from one disaster to another, many I’m sure not of their own making. Fair play to Colin at least he comes on the radio to try to explain things.

Even though he wasn’t there in person Dave Anderson was on the phone throughout the show. I managed to suggest that the babysitting was actually his first Harrow fans forum – with a similar number of people turning up. We can look forward to seeing him later in the season.

All the time texts and tweets are coming in so Caroline in particular has to think on her feet to make sure nothing important is missed. The funniest moment was when Willie Wordsworth gave Fingers a mention and we spent a minute discussing Fingers’ role at the Club. Fame at last.

But before you know it the hour soon flashes by. Brief respites come when the mad groundhopper from the north comes on to talk about some pre-season tournament. What made me laugh were the texts from Wealdstone fans during that bit asking who was this buff?

Of the three times I’ve done this show, I enjoyed this one the most. I felt I had the opportunity to get a few decent messages out about our club, to go on about one of my ‘hobby horses’ badly run football clubs and have a little fun at Dave Anderson’s expense. I’ll look forward to the next time.

And if you want to listen to the show you can find the podcast here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001d76f/episodes/player

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About howiejk

Chairman of Wealdstone FC since May 2007

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