For the Easter 2015 issue of the College Times, I was delighted to interview Sky Sport’s Chris Kamara, who was a great guest to get in contact with. I can’t praise him enough for his professionalism throughout his answers in the email interview.
- What inspired you to become a footballer?
Kamara: When I was a kid, growing up in Middlesbrough, I used to watch Boro and Leeds if I could afford it.
- Would you say you were a better manager than footballer? What role did you prefer?
Kamara: No, I was not the better manager. I had 22 years as a player and the honour of playing alongside people like Gordon Strachan and Vinnie Jones whereas I only had 2 1/2 years of experience as a manager.
- You now have an extremely successful career in sports journalism, what advice would you give our students wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Kamara: Take on every piece of work that you are offered, don’t turn anything down, work hard at letting people know you are around, and stick with it – never give up.
- Can you give us a run-down of a normal Saturday working for Sky Sports covering games? How do you deal with hosting Goals on Sunday less than 24 hours later?
Kamara: Wake up and have breakfast (usually in a hotel, local to the match I will be covering). I have to be at the ground for midday when Soccer Saturday begins, but usually pop in to see the ‘home’ manager for a chat and a cup of tea.
I make my way out on to the pitch to chat with the ‘away’ manager when they arrive and are doing their pitch inspection.
At 2:45 I touch base with my cameraman and Sky to ensure that all is in order and working ready for kick off at 3pm. After the match I would normally get away from the ground as quickly as possible and head for the hotel close to the Sky studios from which Goals on Sunday is televised live.
I have an early night, since I usually have a very early start each Sunday. I have to go into the studios at 5am to watch the short edits of all the games from the previous day, and to prepare the analysis which we are going to show on the programme.
- Where do you come up with your comical lines? We particularly liked it when you compared Spurs to ‘fighting like beavers’ against Arsenal!
Kamara: I have no idea where they come from – ha! I am not a fan of people preparing comedy in sport – in my opinion it needs to be off the cuff and improvised without preparation.
- Who’s the best manager to interview?
Kamara: Most of them are fantastic to interview.
- Have you ever had any embarrassing moments during an interview which you’ve managed to keep to yourself?
Kamara: Yes, in my usual fashion, I sometimes get the opposing team wrong! The last manager to pick me up on this was Neil Warnock, earlier this season – Crystal Palace were playing Burnley and I asked how he was feeling about facing Leicester!
- You and Jeff Stelling are proud North Easterners working on Soccer Saturday, what does it mean to you to represent the region on such a popular show?
Kamara: Jeff and I will never forget our roots. We are both still amazed at what we are doing, and feel privileged to be in the position we are in.
- You’ve always been good friends with Steve Gibson, people consider him to be one of the best chairman’s in the game. What’s your view?
Kamara: Steve and I, it’s no secret, go way back – we went to school together from the age of 5 to 15. We remain close and have worked together from time to time.
One of the best chairmen in the game? No, he is THE best chairman in the game, but then again, I am biased….
- If you were still a manager, what would you have liked to achieve by now?
Kamara: I guess we all dream of one day managing your country – and being successful at it!
I am no different, but in the real world, probably just managing in the premier league.
- Which match out of all the matches that you covered as a Sky Sports reporter ranks as your all-time favourite?
Kamara: Everyone, it seems, remembers the famous match at Portsmouth v Blackburn Rovers, when I missed the Anthony Van den Borre sending off.
What a great match that was – 5 million viewers on YouTube can’t be wrong, so I will have to stick with that one!
- Finally, have you been following Middlesbrough’s season? What are your thoughts on Aitor Karanka and the team’s chances for promotion and in the FA Cup?
Kamara: Aitor Karanka has had a wonderful start to his career as manager of Boro. I am keeping my fingers crossed for Steve – anyone who ploughs over £100million into his home town club deserves success, along with all the faithful supporters.