This year's graduates from the Sports Journalism course are heading out into the world seeking jobs. It is not an easy task at the moment. Many of them are working for nothing, looking to improve their cvs and hoping to be in the right place should a vacancy crop up. But this is nothing new, and by way of example and encouragement I offer this tale which starts more than 25 years ago.
As sports editor of BBC Radio Merseyside I was delighted to have the services of an enthusiastic volunteer who turned up every weekend to work on the station's Sunday football show. This involved reading results from the various local amateur leagues on Merseyside, and compiling match reports from details sent in by the clubs. Soon my man began to head out to matches and report himself, using the reel-to-reel tape recorders we used in those days to interview the players and managers. He was good at it, so he began to pick up paid work filling in when staffers were on holiday. His agenda included off-beat reports like going up in a hot-air balloon and commentating on homing pigeons. Then a full-time contract became available and he was the obvious choice. He was in.
His agenda was now Liverpool and Everton, and his destinations were Wembley and various big venues across Europe including the 1985 European Cup Winners Cup Final. Then came a move to BBC TV, initially as an assistant producer with A Question of Sport in Manchester. From there he moved to TV Sport in London, climbed a few more rungs on the ladder, became established as a presenter and a personality in his own right and this week made headlines by becoming the new face of football on ESPN.
His name is Ray Stubbs.