MUTV commentator on covering the Reds and searching for Mr Crerand…
How long have you followed United as a journalist?
I worked for the BBC for 11 years, mostly at BBC Radio Manchester. I started covering United in the 1999/00 season and then in 2006/07 I joined MUTV. Working at MUTV, you’re very much on the inside, you’re part of the club and close to everything that happens.
Talk us through your matchday rountine…
I always arrive at the ground incredibly early, at least three hours before kick-off. That way you can sort out any problems like accreditation or your commentary position. For home games I head to MUTV’s gallery and write down a predicted XI for the guys to mock up the team graphics. I’ve been right maybe once in three years! An hour before the game I go to the players’ tunnel and wait for the teams to be announced. Then I do my usual pitch-side chat with Lou Macari, before heading to the TV gantry where, with 40 minutes to go, I institute a search party to find my co-commentator Paddy Crerand!
What’s Paddy like to work with?
I don’t think he knows who I am. He still calls me Steve [Bower], three years after Steve left! But he’s brilliant, a total one-off. I explain opposition players’ names using phonetics so he can pronounce them. His team-sheets should go to the museum, they’re hilarious. One thing I will say is that his knowledge of United and the game is incredible. He’s also magnificently biased, which isn’t an act – he’s like that all the time. He’s great to work with, funny, insightful… but must work on his time-keeping!
Who’s the best player to interview?
I speak to the manager every game and no matter how many times you interview him you always have a feeling of trepidation. But he’s brilliant. Fletcher, O’Shea and Carrick are happy to talk, interesting and reliable. But Patrice Evra is my favourite; you can ask him anything and he has a hilarious turn of phrase.
What’s the best part of the job?
Every time I sit in the TV gantry at Old Trafford – the best seat in the house – I think that there must be millions of people around the world who’d strangle me to do this. It’s a great job, and I regularly think to myself that I’ll never have a better one.