A WISE CONVERSATION

by Kyle Williams | May 10, 2024 | General | 0 comments

(GOAL)
Possibly the highlight of my young career so far is the blockbuster interview. Football, or as residents in the United States call it ‘soccer’ is the largest, most viewed sport in the world and it is most dominant in the continent of Europe. Within Europe there are many leagues/divisions on the continent but the English Premier League is the highest ranked and the best of them all.

This week I sat down with Chris Wise, broadcaster/reporter and football commentator in English football to discuss a range of topics in regards to football, in particular the Premier League.

A man who began his career in written journalism in his late teens, to then begin covering Portsmouth FC on a radio perspective even during their FA Cup triumph and their historic run in the Europa League when they faced teams like AC Milan.

(PA Images [Kanu on the left and Sol Campbell on the right])

Afterwards, Mr. Wise joined the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) and begun covering Swindon Town where West Ham United legend Paolo Di Canio was the manager. From that early exposure to his time with Swindon, he then went into freelance journalism and started covering the Premier League.

Q: “Was there ever a favourite game that you have ever watched or commentated on?”

A: “The favourite game I commentated on was a Portsmouth game when they played AC Milan in Europe. It was an incredible night at Fratton Park. The atmosphere was phenomenal. AC Milan turned up with some greats (Dida, Ronaldinho, Inzaghi, Kaká).”

“Somehow Portsmouth found themselves 2-0 up with fifteen minutes to go, on course for their greatest ever night. It took a free kick from Ronaldinho and a last minute strike by Inzaghi to level it 2-2. I’ve never felt a game like that; so intense.”

That game I must saw I do have a memory of with players like Younes Kaboul who made moves to Tottenham and Watford in the future, David James in goal and who can forget the former Arsenal man Kanu up top. Milan was a super team and for this game to end in a draw just shows the power of football.

A: “Favourite game that I’ve seen? Five years ago I went to Anfield to watch the second leg of the Champions League tie between Barcelona and Liverpool. The only reason I went was because a friend of mine is a massive Liverpool fan and invited me and I went because I thought it would be the last time I’d see Messi play. It turned into the most phenomenal tale!”

(Sky Sports)

In 2019 when that game was on, I think there weren’t any Liverpool fans who said they had a chance to come from 3-0 down against that Barcelona team with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Sergio Busquets. Somehow they did; ‘Gini’ Wijnaldum and Divock Origi wrote their names into Liverpool folklore after that game in front of the Kop.

Q: “How do you prepare for a match-day, as some will struggle with names to get the names pronounced so well?”

A: “Well, it’s lengthy, a lot of hours that go into it. I can assure you you don’t just turn up and talk as some people think. In terms of players, there is an element of experience that comes around that. Sometimes you identify players based on little nuances like the colour boots their wearing, or even their movement. A lot of homework goes into those games.”

This is a great tool even for regular fans of a game when it’s a very sunny game and one of the teams wear white or yellow and it is hard to decipher the number on the shirt. Personally, I have a friend that does mistake Rasmus Højlund and Scott McTominay of Manchester United as they are of the same build and sometimes wear the same boot colour.

Q: “Has there been a specific player that has made you say “wow” this season?”

A: “A few have really stepped up to a new level this season; Phil Foden would be my first player in that category. I saw him at Brighton and he was head and shoulders above everyone apart from De Bryune. He has had such an impact on that Manchester City team.”

“Bukayo Saka is another player in that category. One player who has impressed me coming into his prime at 27 is Ollie Watkins at Aston Villa. Not just his goals that he scored, but his general play, link up, he’s had a fantastic season.”

(Transfermarkt)

The player that wowed me has been Ollie Watkins. Having 19 goals and 12 assists as a striker is unbelievable. Players such as Cole Palmer, Alexander Isak, and Antonee Robinson have also been impressive.

Q: “Something tat has been troubling have been some Video Assistant Referee (VAR) decisions. Do you think there is an issue with the personnel that is using VAR or is it down to the technology itself?”

A: “I think there is an argument to say it is a bit of both. We have seen incidents this season where after games, the PGMOL have said there was an error and Howard Webb who is trying to improve the standard of officiating has had to come out and said there was a mistake and this should or shouldn’t have happened.”

“There are wrinkles that need to be ironed out, but there is an element of human error which is natural. There have been occasions where there were one too many decisions had fallen into that “questionable” category. There is more work to be done around the personnel involved, but the technology is not going away so we just need to fine tune that.”

(REUTERS)

In terms of VAR, I am not 100% convinced it is either personnel or technology. You could look at it and say it is easy to look at the replays, but when you have a tight call it becomes difficult. The technology for the offside call for example, in the Champions League you see it turn the pitch into a 3D Model basically, which illustrates everything, however, in the Premier League that technology is not readily available so it is harder on the refs in the video room to draw lines.

Sometimes you do wonder about VAR because a decision could be made that is interpreted another way, but because it is not “clear and obvious” then the call stands. Being honest I would agree with Chris that the technology needs fine tuning and the human error reduced to as minimum as it can be.

Q: “Do you have any knowledge on the Profit and Sustainability Rules in terms of how much a club can spend?”

A: “From a legal POV I’m not an expert. What I would say is that it is important for some sort of control over the finances over each Premier League team that ensures balance and fair competition.”

“What I’ve learned is you cannot have what you had this season, where teams that have been deducted points [Everton and Nottingham Forest] don’t know whether appeals will be heard before the end of the season. This doesn’t just affect them but also teams around them [Luton Town, Burnley, Brentford].”

This point is one that many would share. Imagine being relegated/losing your status in the league due to a team getting points from an appeal? It would be a huge stain on the league’s integrity.

This as mentioned was a fantastic interview and wonderful experience for me even though it was the first time I’ve ever felt nervous. Have a great day to all and for the full video interview, you can view it on our YouTube channel.

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Well, I am 18 years old currently undergoing my Bachelors of Science in Media and communications. I'm currently in my first semester and I would like to be a sports analyst in the future. I am also from Jamaica. I would like to work at one of the biggest sports companies in the world (ESPN/SKY/BT) but everyone needs a start and I would love it if you were to give me that start.

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