The Happy Albatross?

One of the things I will likely witter on about is the benefits of volunteering your time to assist with whatever your passion is.  For me this has seen me take on whole host of tasks in and around Starks Park to the benefit (I hope) of Raith Rovers FC

This is a programme article (from a couple of years back) which details some of that work:

It seems like every fans dream, watch the Match and then have a one to one with your manager, the visiting gaffer and the players of your choice.  But is it such a good thing?
For the past 5 or 6 years that’s what match day has had in store for me.  Well that’s after commentating on the match for Raith Rovers Abroad.
It did go further than that for a few years with mid-week trips to Starks Park necessitating an early work start in Perth (6AM) as this allowed me to nip back to where my day started to meet the manager in Kirkcaldy before returning to the Fair City.
So how come this dream gig gathers such hostility from a section of our support who take to websites demanding post match run through interviews resemble a cobatative David Frost meets Jeremy Paxman interrogation ?
Well put simply volunteering with a football club can a times require the diplomacy of a United Nations representative.  Get the questioning wrong ” the guys clearly not fit why do you insist on playing hime? The formation is not suiting the playing personal etc” and the contact which exists is put in real jeopardy.   So Push too far and you risk bringing disrepute to your club and ask the obvious question at your peril as that’s most likely the one the gaffer is working through with his back room team.
A football interview is therefore by nature more cliche ridden than Greame Norton’s Eurovision script.  Since volunteers are representing the Official website it’s even more imperative that we don’t “corner” an interviewee. The powers of the Scottish game do monitor output and action has been taken on the basis of interviewees comments in the past.
It would be wildly inaccurate to suggest its all doom and gloom and it has certainly taken me to places and introduced me to people who have been a joy to meet. Luckily I most often have the company of Steven and Lyall who are our volunteer camera technicians as they provide a valuable sounding board.
The good
My favourite interviewee? Easy, forget Prime ministers, National coaches, footballing legends and Hollywood stars. 3 words sum it up Tade, Tade, Tade.
Gregory lit up the room when he chatted with his energy enthusiasm and ability to mix his love of our team with his passion for a style of music far too hip for my ageing tastes. Inverness fans will have seen light of his personality and he carries my best wishes for his future at Cluj (now with Steaua Bucharest)
The bad
We’ve been beat 5-0, my mate leaves Cappielow and says “chat about the game later”. Little do we know that he will be home in Kirkcaldy, kettle on and the hurt of the afternoon waining while I am still pitch side waiting for the RRFC dressing room door to open.  The lights have been put out, the groundsman has gone home and the professional journalists are body swerving the chance to pick over the game with our guys. That’s  left to me!! Where do I start…? Also spare a thought for anyone getting a lift to the game with me. You do so at your peril.  Make sure you bring a flask and a good book as you a likely to have a long wait.
The ugly
It’s a game with a huge carrot dangling for the winner, Aberdeen in the next round. Jimmy Nicholl chats before the game to Rovers fans wishing us all the best so the script is written …..isn’t it. Well no because we don’t do cup wins V Alloa.  Jump forward to the end of the evening and there is no one bar me waiting to speak to a dejected Rovers manager who would probably rather not have my pigeon football knowledge picking over the events which have left the squad in a state of shock.
Still it’s not all bad, I will get back to Kirkcaldy at 12.30am and all I have to do is edit the audio, write a match report and then get up at 5 to make sure I am at work early enough to get back to Kirkcaldy for the midweek interview at 10am.
It really is like having the friendliest Albatross in the world round your neck.  The players, staff and most importantly mangers have been unconditionally helpful.  They know we have a task to complete the same way I know they will only go to certain areas in their  post match discussion. Sometimes it’s negotiated more often body language tells the story. Better that than some visiting managers who want every question written out for approval before they “chat”
Some interviews are with gregarious story tellers while most are with guys more comfortable with an answer of 15 words or less. So why do we use the leading question so much?  Simple, watch sky sports, listen to BBC Sportsound and you will see why this is the stock tactic of the paid professionals. Taking the interviewee to uncomfortable places is not the way to ensure we have future access and build a rapport which gets us information which is often reserved just for the website. Believe me forensic questioning after a poor performance is more akin to my real world obligations but it’s horses for courses and Paxman wouldn’t last a fortnight at the post match merry go round.
Mind you I am sure he wouldn’t be volunteering anyway, would you?

The inspiration for the sponsored cycle

In the attached interview, Major Tait and Marshall Bowman talk about the Battalion and its link to Raith Rovers FC. It was following this interview that we got chatting about the Centenary pilgrimage and Marshall and I raised the idea of a sponsored cycle. Marshall and I had kicked the idea about during a discussion as Rovers fans who love cycling but the immediate level of interest shown by Major Tait raised the bar. For me this was the motivation needed and I decided  to take responsibility and own the idea.

As a supporter its a chance to represent Raith Rovers in a positive manner and as a person its a chance to give something back through;  fundraising which will hopefully assist the maintenance of the Cairn and show respect to the Regiments legacy . The final motivation is simply to tell the story to anyone who comes my way of how players and supporters gathered together to fight for their country.