Red All Over The Land

08Apr17

I was asked to write a guest editorial for the excellent Liverpool fanzine, Red All Over The Land. It turned out to be the Derby Day edition, I hope you like it. If you want more information about Red All Over The Land or want to subscribe, click here; http://redallovertheland.com/

Copy of BeFunky_Graham at the Liver Buildings.jpg

My dream was to play for Liverpool. I wanted to pull on a red shirt and run out in front of the Kop.

I don’t know how old I was when I went to watch my first game at Anfield and to my eternal shame, I don’t remember who we played. That wasn’t important back then, I went to watch Liverpool, not the other team! My dad had a season ticket in the old Kemlyn Road stand. I was young enough and small enough for him to lift me over the turnstiles and sit me on his knee. This was the late 60s and I watched the likes of Emlyn Hughes,Tommy Smith, Ian Callaghan and my favourite Roger Hunt. I wanted to be just like them, I wanted to entertain this great city.

A few years later, we got a new number 10, John Toshack, and he became my favorite player. If you asked me what my favourite number was back then, it was always number ten!

I don’t think you could buy replica strips in those days. My mum went to the big Co-op in town and bought me a pair of red shorts and a red football shirt with a white round collar. She sewed a white “1” and “0” on the back.

As Liverpool’s number ten I scored the winner many times in imaginary games, either on my own in the back garden against the garage wall or in one-to-one games with my best friend next door, Richard Thomas. He was an Evertonian and played in a blue Co-op shirt, white shorts and a number 8, because his favourite player was Alan Ball. Every game was a derby. Sometimes we’d win tiny cups made out of the silver paper from the inside of my dad’s Senior Service cigarette packets.

As soon as we started playing football properly at school, it became obvious that although in my imaginary world, I was almost as good as John Toshack, in the real world I was rubbish. I was the kid that got picked last and my sudden drop in form meant that Bill Shankly dropped me from the Liverpool team of my imagination. I never stopped supporting them though.

When I wasn’t playing for Liverpool back then, I was a NASA astronaut. My footballing skills were so ordinary, I would have had about as much chance of actually playing for Liverpool one day as I did of walking on the moon.

I did end up doing a cool job though. In my mid-twenties, for reasons that would take too long to explain, I found myself working as an air conditioning engineer in Sydney Australia. One day, listening to the radio in the van, I decided that I’d like to be a radio presenter. I managed to get into the top broadcasting school in Oz and after that got my first on-air job in an outback town called Parkes and went from the cold air business to the hot air business.

Eventually after working at bigger radio stations in Australia, I moved back to the UK and since 1997, I’ve worked on the air on radio stations in the south east, south west, east and west midlands and the north east. The only part of England I didn’t work in was my home town, the north west. These days I present the Breakfast Show, Monday to Friday on BOBfm in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

What about my dream of playing for Liverpool? Well about ten years ago I did pull on a red shirt and run out in front of the Kop. I had the honour of taking part in a couple of the half time charity penalty shoot-outs for Red All Over The Land.

Something big happened for me at the beginning of this year. I was given a weekly slot, Sunday mornings on BBC Radio Merseyside. What an honor and responsibility this is. I’m on the air in the greatest city on earth and get to entertain the greatest radio audience there is. I’m on the radio station where broadcasting legends like Norman Thomas, Shelagh Fogarty, Janice Long and even Kenny Everett have been heard. The current team form part of the fabric of the city and include Billy Butler, Tony Snell, Sean Styles and Roger Phillips. Roger’s not into football and Billy, Tony and Sean are all Evertonians. At least one of the sports presenters is a red but has to remain neutral for obvious reasons. I know that Paul Salt and Paul Beesley are Liverpool fans and I’m not sure about the others.

Either way, I now get play for Liverpool every Sunday morning! Who says dreams don’t come true?

I hope you can listen on Sundays, 9 till noon on BBC Radio Merseyside 95.8FM – or DAB and online.

Craic on!

Listen to the latest Mack Nuggets at; 

http://www.mackmedia.co.uk/8th-mack-nuggets-audio-video

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