If you’re like me then you’ll have a list of things that you’d like to do before you pop off this mortal coil. Maybe it’s visit the pyramids, or swim with dolphins, or see FGR go bust. Perhaps you have two or three things you’d like to do over a decade or so. Whatever they are, I’d bet you don’t get to achieve at least two of them within a month or so of each other.
Since I realised I was so fundamentally bad at playing football that I’d never appear for Lincoln, I’ve had a couple of other things on my bucket list. One of them was to write a book about my club, and as 415 (and counting) of you know, I finally managed that. I thought that would be it for the achievements this season, but tomorrow thanks to Chris Bell and the livesportsfm team, I get to cross another thing off my list. Tomorrow I get to flex my dulcet tones over the internet as part of the match commentary team for the FA Trophy tie with Gateshead.
To say I’m excited is a massive understatement. I’ve spent the last hour just brushing up on a few little facts to drop in along the way, I’ve been practising a few things I want to drop in about Lincoln and I’ve even been coaching myself not to call Chris ‘Michael’ in true Thommo style!
I’ve got a bit of previous when it comes to commentating. Long before EA Sports introduced commentary to their computer games I could be found giving my own thoughts alone in my bedroom in front of my computer screen. It might not have got me laid, or indeed made me any friends but I loved the two way chatter between the main commentator (me) and the summariser (me also) that played out as my little portable TV flickered away into the early hours.
I think I first wanted to commentate on a match after Radio Lincolnshire broke new ground in 1988 by broadcasting the second half of the Imps v Wycombe game live over the radio. They may have done the first half to, but my Mum only remembered to put the cassette in the recorder at half time, and with it being a forty five minute tape it cut off just before we won the game and ultimately got our League status back. I didn’t care, I listened to that tape several times over, which was annoying for my little brother as we only had one tape player, and he preferred Bros to Lincoln City.
I expect many fans that go on to commentate on games have their own favourite piece of commentary from a game, and I’m no exception. It comes from an away game as you’d expect, I never get to listen to home commentary. It was August 12th 2006, and we were 1-0 down to Torquay into injury time. First Paul Morgan scored a rare goal and within seconds Martin Gritton had handed us the win. As I went wild I heard Michael Hortin or Chris Parkin say the immortal words ‘Gooooooaaaaaal!! Lincoln City were 1-0 down two minutes ago, they’re now 2-1 up’. When the highlights were played back after the broadcast I recorded the sound and had that as my ringtone on my Sony Walkman phone for the next eighteen months. I still get a shiver down my spine listening to it, and it was only the third game of the season.
Tomorrow you won’t get any of that from me, Chris Bell is the lead commentator and I am there to offer so-called expert advice and insight into the match. The temperature is set to be no more than 2 degrees, the drive will be a minimum five hour round trip and ultimately we’ll get to (just about) see a youthful Imps side try and help us progress beyond the second round for only the second time since relegation. There isn’t an Imp in the land who wouldn’t swap defeat tomorrow for a win in April when we visit again, in far warmer weather. The ambitiously titled Gateshead International Stadium isn’t as grand as it sounds, and the views are more akin to park football than international football.
I really don’t care. I don’t care that it will be cold, sparsely populated and perhaps underwhelming after the last Saturday. For me it is one less thing for me to fret about trying to do before I head upstairs to meet Keith, Butch and Mr Taylor. I finally get to see if my Mum was right about me having a face for radio as well.
So please, if the game does go ahead, tune in and have a listen. It’s not every week you get to hear some alternative commentary on the game. It is meant to be neutral, but both Chris and I are Lincoln fans, although he is a professional and I will have to do my very best not to scream out loud when we score. It’s www.livesportsfm.co.uk, the programme starts at 2.30pm and I know for a fact when Chris utters the words ‘alongside me is author and Lincoln City expert Gary Hutchinson…’ I’ll do a double take. I never really thought I’d be described as an author by anyone other than myself and maybe my Mum, and I’m sure I would never be called an ‘expert’ of anything other than perhaps sleeping, or full English breakfasts.
Up The Imps.