TOUR DIARY - DAY FIVE: At least the team had no trouble finding 'the net' (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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TOUR DIARY - DAY FIVE: At least the team had no trouble finding 'the net'
US ENGLISH football journalists don’t know how easy we have it!
Week in, week out we get the varying luxuries of press boxes up and down the country, the free pies and programmes that come with them and generally unrestricted access to speedy, reliable broadband.
I can tell you now; our Italian cousins have got it rough.
I’d never covered a match abroad before yesterday evening and, fair enough, it was on a hotel training pitch in the middle of rural Veneto, but still – it was instantly forgettable.
In England, when you go to a stadium you generally get given enough free internet to satisfy a small nation’s Googling addiction for a week or so.
There is no WiFi available around the grounds of Hotel Veronello and, with my Android also refusing to play ball – that meant a 100-yard dash at half-time and after the final whistle in a desperate scramble to try to post match reports online.
In England, there are self-serving press areas with power sockets, desks and, if you’re really very lucky, television screens showing re-runs of Eastenders pre-match.
At Hotel Veronello, Chris Wise of the BBC and I had to hastily create our own press box in an unused goal on one of the touchlines, using a low-lying bush as a desk. At one point the plant tried to eat my laptop.
In England, a member of the home side’s press office will come to you roughly 45 minutes before kick-off with a teamsheet so identification of players is less of a chore and more of a pleasure. They’ll be typed out and neatly presented on headed paper.
Over on the banks of Lake Garda, I was still trying to use my seven words of Italian and a GCSE in Latin to get the select XI’s assistant manager to scribble down his team selection on the back of my British Airways e-ticket fully four minutes into the first half.
To be honest, I was quite proud I managed to make him understand what I was on about. That was until I returned to our somewhat unsafe press box and realised his writing was about as decipherable as a tipsy Egyptian’s hieroglyphic diary.
In the end it all worked, and I know I shouldn’t complain so I’ll stop now. Besides, I haven’t been able to charge the laptop tonight so the battery will go flat any ti