Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Slip inside the eye of your mind

Hello everyone

Hope all is well

Sorry once again, only just noticed that i'd not updated the blog for 2 weeks.

So since we last spoke, lots has happened. Mainly, the most exciting part of the las 2 weeks was having my parents come to visit Kansas City for the first time. It was absolutely brilliant to see them for the first time in 5 months. They were staying just off the plaza and after speaking to Mom on the phone, we arranged to meet by the fountain on the plaza. I recognized them both straight away, basically because of Mom's huge handbag and Dad's usual attire of a tucked in white shirt (thankfully not 1 of his bad shirts). As I approached them I felt a huge sense of relief and comfort, but was then recognized by a Sporting fan who stood right in my vision of them both. It was like something from the movies, you know, the finally get to see something or someone after so long and then out of nowhere, 1 last obstacle arrives. I had no problem with him, had a quick chat and signed something for him, but in my mind it was like..... 'alright mate, jog on please'.

After finally welcoming Mom and Dad to the plaza, I took them to O'Dowds for a few drinks and a catch up. It was an early night for us all in the end, but good to see them.

Friday was an interesting day. For once we had a half day in the office as our HR lady, Christie had organized a 'family day' (perfect timing). Firstly I took them to Swope Park training facility to watch the press conference and after that, the office BBQ began outside. Despite the rain, lots of people came over to say hello to Mom and Dad and we stayed there to socialize for a couple of hours and once the weather took a turn for the better, I took them down to Power & Light (downtown). Brennan, a friend of mine who'd met Mom and Dad at Swope Park joined us at Johny's Tavern, McFadden's and another bar where my Dad rode 'the bull'. Corey, another friend, joined us as we made our way to Westport where lots of my good friends, Dan, Adam, Brian, Justin and lots more (you know who you are) got to meet 'the rents'. I'm afraid I can't tell you anymore about that night because I can't remember.............. I think they enjoyed their first night in KC.

Ouch, was all I could say the next day, which was basically a right off. I spent most of the day walking around the house feeling sorry for my hungover self, listening to the opening day of the EPL. I met Mom and Dad and took them to 1 of my favorite spots in KC, a cracking little bar called 'The Well' in the evening. After a short stop elsewhere, an early night was had. These guys were killing me!

Sunday was a lot more relaxed as Adam, Corey, Dad and I went to play golf at Swope Memorial. Its safe to say, I was bad as per usual, but really bad this time because the old man beat me! After golf, we went down to KONA on the plaza for a bite to eat.

Monday came and things started to get busy as we prepared for the visit of the Portland Timbers. Tuesday was much of the usual voice overs and research but then I met Mom and Dad down the plaza and found a few new bars which I didn't know about. I then took them to 'Jack Stacks' as I insisted they tried the local delicacy; which went down well.

Then came game day and the main attraction of Mom and Dad's visit. After the usual production meeting in the morning I continued to look up notes, stats and facts during the day before Mom and Dad arrived. Once they did I took them on a tour of the stadium, which was to their liking very much. It was very odd but strangely satisfying to see them both behind the camera I was in front of. During the call we had a special guest, Erik, who was a Sporting KC super fan (thankfully). We enjoyed having him on for the brief spell and hope he and his son had a great afternoon. Dad then joined Jake and I for the call. Once again it was very odd. I remember saying 'another great chance there Dad' and feeling very very strange. I know Dad enjoyed his time on the call and also got a bit of face time as well as a compliment or 2 on twitter.

Thursday was their last night in KC and we once again ended up at 'The Well' and then our new hangout 'Quintons'. We finally said our goodbyes late in the evening. It was sad to see them both leave, but I know they had a fantastic time and I can't wait to see them and the whole family in December back in the UK.

Friday was busy as the prep started for Sporting's biggest game of the season so far against DC United. What a fantastic result against the fellow Eastern Conference rival. Sporting now 2nd in the East and I see no reason why we can't finish top, but also, there are several banana skins coming their way as well.

Can I just once again take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted for me in the MLS announcers poll. I had no idea this was even happening and was made aware via a tweet. Its nice to be considered amongst the best announcers in the league, but I must be honest. I'd like that number 1 spot next year haha. Thanks to everyone who voted once again, really appreciate it.



Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Afternoon all

'Songbird', apparently thats my new nickname because I don't stop humming or singing. I can't help it, I like it; haha.

So after a 1-1 tie with New England Revolution, we took on a rather forceful Real Salt Lake side. The 1 thing which shocked me about the away side was their lack of width. I was familiar with their diamond formation style of play, but though head coach Jason Kreis would have maybe reverted to a different style of play after seeing how much we rely on our wing forwards and width. It also made me revert back to our 1-0 loss to Columbus a few months back and remember how Robery Warzycha changed the tactics of his side to counter act us. It obviously worked because from what I remember from that game, we had minimal opportunities and Columbus Crew ran out 1-0 winners and arguably should have had a 2nd had it not of been for another great save from Nielsen.

Sporting KC were making history and were now 14 games unbeaten in Major League Soccer. The longest stretch the club had ever gone on without loss. Next up was the Seattle Sounders. I always enjoy playing the Seattle Sounders for a couple of reasons.

1. They seem to be the team that everyone hates at the moment, which generates a great atmosphere at games.
2. They have a good team who play nice, flowing soccer.
3. I gives me the opportunity to once again indulge into conversation with another British play by play guy; Arlo White. I always enjoy having a chat with him and he was also 1 of the main reasons I was persuaded to come to MLS after seeing that using an English commentator in MLS works.

Arlo and I had a chat before and after the game and spoke of the continued progress of Major League Soccer. We also talked visa's, BBC and settling into life in the USA as a British broadcaster and the changes it has from working in the UK. I always used to listen to Arlo and Mark Clemmit's Football League show on BBC Radio 5Live when I was back home, so having Arlo come into the booth and utter the words 'ello mate, good to see you' always makes me laugh.

So we got under way eventually and everything seemed to go smoothly in the pre game show and Sporting took the lead through a Kei Kamara header. This was unbelievable, I remember thinking how far adrift we were just a few months ago and watching LIVESTRONG Sporting Park going crazy once again. Sporting eventually lost the game thanks to 2 very, very late goals from Rosales and Neagle, thus ending the unbeaten run. Omar Bravo's red card didn't help, the team were struggling with the intense heat and humidity and at 1 stage were down to 9 men with Luke Sassano getting on the receiving end of a bad tackle. That ultimately cost them. I don't think there can be any complaints about the Bravo red card. In today's day and age, especially after Seattle's Steve Zakuani had his leg broken from a similar tackle, you can't do that. I accept he got the ball, but his feet were together, a high, uncontrolled tackle got Bravo sent off and the Seattle Sounders would take full advantage.

After the broadcast I spoke with a few fans in the 'Members Club' about the red card and soccer in general. Afterwards a few drinks in Quintons in Waldo with some of the boys went down well.

With no game this weekend, things are quiet at the moment, but we expect it to pick up as we prepare to film 'Off the Pitch' at some stage later this week. Quite a lot of this has been in the back of my mind today as I continue to watch the rioting unfold in the UK. It started in London, but now seems to have spread across the whole country and in to my home town city Birmingham. Looking at pictures of places I have regularly shopped with Lauren, walked to the movies with friends absolutely trashed is sickening. I get the feeling it is only getting worse as well. Having spoken to my Mom, Nan and best friend Carl and have them share their experiences has been absolutely awful to hear. It seems like a war zone! The most annoying thing is, is that it seems most people don't even know what they are rioting about and are just there because its an opportunity to steal a TV.

On a lighter note, my parents are coming to KC on Thursday which i'm really looking forward to. I went from seeing my Mom and Dad every day to not seeing them for 5 months. I understand they want to see just about everything KC has to offer, so if you have any suggestions, by all means, let me know. I assure Mom that she'll love the Plaza for shopping whilst Dad is eager to get a game of golf in. Its come at the perfect time really, with me now having the weekend off (which is unheard of) and I can spend some time with them and i'm very excited to show them around.

So I sit here writing a few hours after getting back from Swope Park training facility. Don't forget despite not having a game this weekend, we still have a special edition of 'Off the Pitch' on Sunday evening, 9.30 KSMO - TV.