Monday, November 19
A slightly nervy start to the week. Michael Vaughan and Paul Collingwood are our planned joint cover stars for this issue and while the Collingwood interview is in the bag, we’re still waiting on a phone chat with Vaughan, now in Sri Lanka. An early morning phone call from his sponsors assures me that the interview will take place first thing tomorrow, possibly at 6am. If it doesn’t we’ll have to revert to Plan B, though that would be a bit of a pain in the arse, what with us not having one.
Am featured in today’s Media Guardian after winning a BSME award last week. They spell my name two different ways and misquote me in one three-par story.
It’s a quieter office than usual today. Chief sub Tony ‘Hoddo’Hodson is on holiday this week, so volume levels are down, as is the amount of office cricket being played. Indeed, while he’s a fine sub, I admire him most for his unerring leg spin. All in all, it’s probably a good thing that we’ve drawn stumps for a week – last Friday we received an irate call from the people on the floor below reminding us that ‘this is an office, not a playground”. Balls, then.
Tuesday, 20 November
Get up at 6am to take Michael Vaughan’s call but the phone doesn’t ring. Indeed, he’s in the middle of a warm-up game and, annoyingly, fielding. If England were batting, he’d have time to call – and when I get to the office the nice chap at the ECB calls to ask if we can postpone until tomorrow. We can’t and I do the usual pleading routine. He promises to see what he can doâ€¦ and calls back later to say ‘Michael’s had a long day in the field and will speak to you tomorrow.”
Tomorrow’s no good to me. We start to work on Plan B. It’s OK but not great. And then at around 5pm a very tired Vaughan does indeed call from his Sri Lankan bed. Issue saved. England’s two captains together on the cover and both interviewed inside – strong stuff.
Wednesday, 21 November
Our main planning day. The next issue has been gestating for some time now under the working title of The Danger Issue. I have no idea what it will consist of but it’s a good cover line, and senior writer Mark Bailey assures me he has a load of great stuff. We’ve got BASE jumpers, adventurers, big wave surfers, ice climbers, a whole band of lunatics, basically. And the pics are great.
The evening is spent nervously in front of the telly, watching England snatch defeat from the jaws of, er, a draw. Useless, spineless, witless, gutless. We had high hopes of a great summer for the mag based on Euro 2008 and the Olympics and one of them is knackered before we even get out of 2007. And the concern is that with the World Cup draw on Sunday, England will be unseeded – and are not good enough any more to ever qualify for a major tournament. A dark day indeed.
Thursday, 22 November
McClaren’s gone. Rightly so, though I’m surprised – I thought the FA would prove too bloodyminded to admit he wasn’t the right man. Who now? Everyone’s ruling themselves out, even the ones who wouldn’t have had a chance of it in the first place. I post something on our website suggesting either Mourinho or Guus Hiddink should be top of the list. Mourinho then rules himself out, unsurprisingly. And the decorators are in the office, so the place is in chaos.
Friday, 23 November
Arrive into Kings Cross and scout around our distributors to see how the mag’s going. There’s a new chap working there and he’s great – very vocal, very proactive. Plenty of people are taking the mag. The issue looks good this week. One of the things we try to do at Sport is keep surprising our readers (and ourselves, probably), and by not knowing how the football would pan out, let alone that McClaren would get fired, we’ve gone with a cricket cover. Plenty of reader emails greet me when I get into the office approving that we’ve not just done football to death like everyone else.
We’ve posted a vote online (www.myfreesport.co.uk) asking readers to vote for their favourite (ie best looking) sports woman of the year. Lots of lovely pictures of them in their smalls, and it’s generated a phenomenal amount of traffic. We only really launched it as a consumer site at the end of September, and it’s been a very soft launch at that, but hundreds of votes come in before 10am. Leader in the early stages is Stacey Keibler, who, I’m reliably assured, is something to do with wrestling in the USA.
Charming lunch with the people from TV channel ESPN Classic. We’re working on an issue (based again on online reader votes) of the 100 top sportsmen of all time, and as much as I despise the word ‘synergy’that’s what we appear to have here. The painters don’t come back, the office is still upside down. Maybe we’ll just spend next week playing cricket again.