Sunday, 27 November 2011
Gary Speed, manager of the Wales national team, has died at the age of 42. He was found at his home in Huntingdon, Chester by Cheshire Police at 0708 GMT. Above, is his last televised appearance on Football Focus alongside the BBC's Dan Walker and former footballer Gary McAllister, just hours before his death.
But, in this blog, I do not want to write about how Gary Speed was last remembered for. This blog is a look into what the man was, who he was, and how gracious a human being he was. I strongly believe that it is important to remember the value of Gary Speed, and what a remarkable human being he was.
In 1988, Speed made his debut for Leeds United, aged 19, and in a career lasting 8 years at Elland Road,he made 312 appearances as well as winning the First Division in 1992. His career then see him move to Everton in 1996, and in 1998 he joined Newcastle United where he became a fan's favourite, and reaching two different FA Cup finals with the Magpies. Six years later he joined Bolton for £750k and became the first ever player to reach 500 Premier League appearances in 2006. A year later, he was given a player-coaching role at Bolton where he also became the first player to score in every Premier League season since its inception. He became manager of Sheffield United after retiring as a player at Brammall Lane, but was still named as a substitute for a League Cup game against Hartlepool a year after retiring as a player (when he was 41).
Speed was appointed manager of Wales in December 2010, succeeding John Toshack. Despite a difficult start as Wales boss, he achieved five victories in his first ten matches as manager of Wales, with his last win coming in November 2011 against Norway, in a 4-1 win. Speed was in charge of Wales for less than a year, but his revolution as boss was shown within his players. Huge support from former international Ryan Giggs, Robbie Savage and Mark Hughes gave Speed the motivation to achieve something great at Wales, and in his short space of time, he did. He installed a confidence, and a passion, something which has been absent in the Welsh national team for a long time. He handed the captain's armband to young Aaron Ramsey, a player exactly in the mould of Speed when he was a player. He gave back confidence to Welsh servant Craig Bellamy and realised the importance of players like James Collins and Gareth Bale, as well as introducing younger players to his squad. Gary Speed, muchlike his managerial skills, was a wonderful, bright and focused human being.
Tributes for Gary Speed have been flooding social networking websites since the news became public. Arsenal midfielder and Wales captain Ramsey tweeted: "I was given the tragic news this morning. To say I am devastated is an understatement"
Dan Walker, presenter of Football Focus when Speed made his appearance on November 26 2011, put on Twitter: "Staggered by the news of Gary Speed's death. Was with him for much of yesterday (Saturday). I genuinely cannot believe it. Thoughts with his family."
Many more tributes have been pouring in to remember Gary Speed.
My greatest memory of Gary Speed were his bullet headers from corners, or his sweet left foot. So many goals and perfect passes were made from his left boot, and I admired how important he was for clubs like Newcastle and Bolton. He was a fighter in the midfield, he battled for the ball all the time and was an inspirational leader both on and off the field of play.
I said it is vital we remember Gary Speed as an instrumental footballer and an apolcalyptic man. He will always be one of the footballing greats.
It's been a first for me today. The first time I've ever written a blog post with a tear in my eye. But, despite my young age, I grew up hearing about Gary Speed, and seeing this midfielder win games for his teams. He was my era, and any loss to the sport I love is a tragic one. The game has lost too many young names in such a short space of time. Phil O'Donnell, Antonio Puerta, Daniel Jarque to name a few.
As I watched the news come in today, my first reaction was one of shock. A reaction that I would have never expected to encounter today. We had lost a terrific person. It took me longer and longer to come to terms with this horrific news. It's rare that I show any physical emotion through tears, but whilst watching this footage of the one-minute silence before the Swansea vs Aston Villa game today, I could not help but feel that Gary Speed has been an incredible character in many people's lives. All you hear at first is one supporter clapping, which slowly turns into a stadium filled with supporters clapping. The mutual respect for Speed was outstanding, and proven by this applause. He was a man who deserved applause. He was a man who deserved our respect. He was a man who deserves our appreciation for his outstanding 22-year playing career in football, and for just who he was.
Thank you Gary Speed. Thank you, and may you rest peacefully.
Saturday, 26 November 2011
- Well this week, everybody worked so hard to get so much content available for the programme, and by having EIGHT different packages and 20 minutes of content into one programme is an outstanding effort and is a real tributeto the hard-work we are putting in, and hopefully this will not go unrecognised.
- We had a couple of late illnesses and unavailabilities over the weekend, but we had people willing to contribute and create content to this ever growing show, with people from Leeds, and both members of the newsteam and from MA.
- The programme is becoming popular amongst Eastleigh, Basingstoke, Winchester and Totton fans especially and it is so vital that we continue to emphasise our commitment to producing sports content for WINOL, and building relationships at these clubs to give us the access we need in able to produce such stunning packages.
- We have started receiving packages from games in the Blue Square North which I believe is absolutely vital. Even though it is not specifically related to this local area, it is important we continue to build our audiences and views, and build relationships with other univerisities, football clubs and types of viewers if we want to become bigger. This is a must for the future and contact must be maintained.
- Dael - Potted history is very well structured, and very well researched. Obviously the sound on the radio mic is very distorted which we know and we tried three different radio mics and still the sound remained the same. This is a shame because it essentially ruins a very good package. The highlights are once again of a very high standard, but there is also room for improvement. The good thing about this game was that it was a very eventful tie. We were both in attendance and it was a terrific match so we had a lot to work with. Well done for getting into the changing room for the pre-match team talk. Fantastic piece of footage which really brought the piece some extra diversity and interest.
- Sam - This is filmed by Mikey. It's a shame it wasn't the most exciting match, but Mikey did well to get there. Sam, you did fantastically well this week. Not only did you have two packages but you also filmed for two hours on Wednesday afternoon. You worked hard this week so a big thank you, and a well done. You deserved the two packages.
- Connolly - I know you have been dying for weeks to do a football package. Finally you got one! It's very well shot, and I have no quarms with your camera skills as you just seem to be getting better and better, and I think filming the ice hockeys has worked wonders for you. The scripting of your piece could be a little better. Remember when you first name players mention their first names too. You said "Bubb" and "Little" but the audience may not know their first names. Just put that in, then for the rest of the piece just use the surnames. Nice shot of Frank Gray with Manager of the Month award.
- Aarran - Filmed by Karen. The game was a difficult one to film from that angle, but I know you have made the most of it, and credit to you for going all the way to Kent to film a football match. The commentary is good. I cannot knock you on your commentary really - technically it's a little loud so maybe we could have turned it down a bit more. The voiceover is structured well and it tells a story. Only criticism is, but you will learn this, is try not to give away the goal before it happens. Keep the viewers interested and make them want to watch what happens with some intriging comms or voiceovers. But, I know you worked really hard on this and took a real big interest on making this your VT so well done, and for a first real attempt at making a sportsweek package it is good. Final point....cutaways. The celebrations should really act as a GV (general view) for the goal. Carry the sound from the goal and put celebrations images over the top of the original sound. Makes for a really tight andprofessional edit.
- Sam (Athletics) - I've spoken to you about this. Just get down to the same height at the interviewee. It was hard to film as there wasn't much action, but it's something different. Possibly would have been better as an OOV but I felt you had enough comment to make as a short sports news package.
- Henry - Rugby is good again. As I've said before, you are making it interesting. Just be sure on the kick off time. Couple of times you have turned up late to the game. But it is very good, and it was edited quickly this week. So very well done again.
- Louis - I know you felt a bit nervous on doing this but thank you so much for filling in for Michael when he felt ill on Sunday afternoon. You did all of us a huge favour! For a first package it's a good effort - ice hockey is so hard to film. But you did well. Also, Angus is so right about your voice. It's energetic, exciting and I enjoy listening to your packages as they add an extra excitement which is absolutely ideal for sport! Same point as Aarran regarding cutaways - cut to the celebration visually and carry the sound from the goal and use as a GV instead. Otherwise, for a first try on sport - this is a great effort, and you worked hard and listened to the advice I gave and were always looking for feedback throughout the week.
- Edward - For a first go - this has received some very positive reviews in the newsroom. I've e-mailed you most of your feedback. The interview I have obviously changed, I have just dragged it out a bit more and shortened the length. But you have given us a lot of content with the original video to work with. Love your voiceover. The scripting is very good, and I look forward to seeing more of your content in the future.
- Jake - Cannot knock your presenting really. Comfortable, confident. It's too easy for you now, and without making you egotistical, you are the best presenter currently on WINOL. Well done.
- Domonique - I haven't done this enough but I would like to say a huge thank you to Domonique and the rest of the production team for all their hard work in making Sportsweek happen. I know you guys have busy schedules, particularly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so I just want to thank you for preparing the studio and sorting out graphics and writing out all the straplines for Sportsweek. It's a fantastic help, and your support in producing Sportsweek is truly appreciated.
- William - You will present the last Sportsweek. I did say this to you a few weeks ago. Well here is the proof!
Well done team! A very successful week again this week! Let's keep working hard until Christmas! No WINOL this week, but please be prepared and organised for the strikes. Thank you once again for all your hard work and team morale!
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Check out this week's WINOL. I had the pleasure of presenting the news, something I have requested for a while.
I'm confident now in my ability to present, and have been for sometime. I have been voice coaching myself over the last year to stop my "typically cockney" accent and become more approachable to an audience.
I feel the in-studio chat with Rebecca was necessary, but the VERY VERY VERY late decision by William means we were under-prepared. My criticism of this was that we had known all week about this story, yet only decided to act on it, an hour before going live. We need to be more decisive in what is to be put in the running order, and waiting on putting something in. If we wanted that studio chat, then we put it in. I understand a breaking news story, but this was known and we acted upon it, but far too late.
Julie filled in fantastically for Cara (who went home ill late in the day) on Sports. She handled the pressure well and our off-screen chemistry allowed us both to feel comfortable working together on-screen. Any doubts over the pronounciations, then Julie would ask me in terms of sport and we worked well and without hardly any rehearsal time I believe we both performed confidently.
I have no criticisms over any of the VT's this week except one. The Estonia piece was appalling. There was the same shot THREE times and for two people to be out there and record some mediocre, sloppy, repetitive shots is lazy and simplistic. The voiceover by Hannah is clear and well scripted, but technically the camera work is of an embarrassing standard.
I was particularly complimentary of George Berridge this week as Director. I have presented twice with George now and feel very comfortable and confident under his lead. He is clear, he is gracious, and he is appreciative of the work his team in the gallery in doing. My only advice to him would be to be more strict in his delivery and be firm in his decisions.
Other than that, it was a stressful week. It was not our best week, but my God, I've seen much worse.
Saturday, 19 November 2011
- My first point for this week is the length of our Sportsweek show for this week. 18 minutes is outstanding and is just a testament to the amount of quality content we are producing week in, wek out. We have to keep this tempo up in the final weeks and it is important we focus solely on Sportsweek as a whole and work on improving the content of our show.
- We have in recent weeks taken note of comments made from first years about the content I put in the sports part of the bulletin. We have taken their reviews into consideration and it seems to be getting some relatively good feedback. We have been more concise in our approach to the bulletin, yet understanding the importance of producing numerous amounts of content as a standby option.
- As a criticism, I think we need to be a bit wary and more understanding of Wednesdays. For too many weeks now we have not had enough numbers in on time. I understand the pressures of Wednesdays and willingly take out my time to produce scripts, content for both the bulletin and sportsweek. But, we are not working as a team on Wednesday. We are coming in and thinking our work is done then leaving. We need to be around for every reason possible. I understand guys have sports matches and that is fine as long as I am told ASAP. BUT, this week was much better as we were all in, late on Wednesday working so it is better.
Dael - Moreorless given the Totton package on a plate, but you've done well on it and you have worked hard to perfect it the best way possible. I still think your scripting needs some work, but technically you are there. You know how to film, you how to edit. Your scripting does need work, and we must work on the LINKS and FIRST SENTENCE OF YOUR PACKAGE as for too many weeks they have sounded the same. We have to work together to come up with a balance.
Mikey - WINOL Woodwork. You can do better than this. It was nice to have it but it was so easy to do, and it's like you are settling for the easiest thing possible and doing that. But it is well filmed, and you are top notch are WINOL Woodworks. If you are going to do one, we need AFC Totton. Only criticism is that it is a little long this week. Even I got bored after a while.
Sam - I like the basketball. It's such a hard sport to film, especially at this level, but you've done well and to have it filmed at 12pm on a Wednesday and done by the Wednesday evening is terrific. Love the cutaway of the Southampton manager going beserk. Really good. I still think we need to work on "padding out" your VT with more of a detailed script though.
Henry - Can't fault the rugby really. I used to hate rugby on WINOL but you are making it interesting. The cutaway at the end is brilliant. At the start of your package you tell us the score.....not sure on this. I understand the context you put it in, but you give away the score before any highlights so the audience are like "Oh, so we know the score...why watch it?" Technically good, and as I said, Rugby is now worthy to sports.
Connolly - WOW. Feature is brilliant, it's funny, clever, mixed with interviewsand music. It's very good. I would have liked Dael to get on the ice with you to get closer shots of you on the Ice, but you have both worked hard to make it something good. The highlights are good as well. Ice hockey is becoming one of the most popular sports in WINOL I feel.
NEXT WEEK (23/11/11)
- Obviously there is no WINOL because of preparations for the strikes but we do have a Sportsweek.
- Mikey - I want AFC Totton WINOL Woodwork no excuses. This is our last shot before the FA Cup. Get it done. They train Tuesdays at the stadium. I have Sean New's number if you need it.
- Connolly - Basingstoke Bison. Ring me tomorrow (Sunday) to let me know how you get on.
- Sam - Wheelchair racing cheque presentation (Sunday), and Winchester City vs Brading (Tuesday)
- Henry - Winchester RFC 2nd XI League Action (Saturday)
- Dael - Eastleigh Potted History with Dartford highlights (Saturday) - we worked on this and I feel it could be really good.
- Aarran - I know you had an issue with radio going offline but you have gone and filmed at Herne Bay in the FA Vase. If you want to do extended highlights for website then fantastic. But sportsweek a 2minute package (maybe 2min 30seconds) would be ideal.
- Jake- Presenting. In early as possible on Tuesday please. I know you're working a lot at the moment but I can't have any delays this week.
- WE NEED SOMEBODY TO FILM @ BASINGSTOKE VS BOREHAM WOOD TUESDAY NIGHT. ANY VOLUNTEERS, LET ME KNOW.
ALL PACKAGES DONE BY TUESDAY AFTERNOON! OBVIOUSLY EXCEPT THE GUYS FILMING TUESDAY NIGHT. TO PEOPLE FILMING TUESDAY, PACKAGES DONE BY WEDNESDAY LATE MORNING/EARLY AFTERNOON PLEASE.
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
But the attention will now turn to Tendulkar and his quest to reach number 100 and become the first person in cricket history to reach it, having already scored 51 Test centuries and 48 ODI centuries in 635 international matches.
Tonight, Tendulkar sits on 33 not out after day three of India's first test against the West Indies in Dehli. Sachin needs 67 unbeaten runs to make even more history than what he has already. His aim is surely a matter of where and when now. His achievements are unquestionable. His talent is undeniable. His reputation as "The God of Cricket" will always remain undefeated.