The Heartbreaking & True Story of Chris Kamara | E177 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "The Heartbreaking & True Story of Chris Kamara | E177".
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Every day I wake up the first thing I think I'm I going to be able to talk today There's been a red card, but for who Chris tomorrow? I don't know Jeff has it? There's a young black kid thinking that one day I'll play for middle for a And all leads ambition and dream achieved The story of your mother I found really difficult to read it was difficult in the whole state Men were physical towards women. I made the mistake of Telling my dad on his death bed that it was wrong. I should have kept it to myself Hmm Why For someone that has never experienced a praxia what does it feel like for you in your head I Feel a fraud now in terms of broadcast and feel a fraud. Yeah Hmm I Was gonna quit everything Without further ado, I'm Steven Bartle and this is the die of a CEO I hope nobody's listening, but if you are then please keep this yourself Chris What do I need to know about your earliest years to understand the man that you are today Well, I don't know really My childhood is slightly clouded So I wouldn't change anything because you can't change the course of history But life was difficult growing up very difficult So yeah I wouldn't change anything to be honest when you say clouded Well good days bad days we had Terrible racism at the time when I was growing up I was born in 57 so in the 60s It wasn't good. We were the only black family on our estate So anything happened in the place would come knocking on our door Take our dad away and you have to get cleared and come home and the old process would start again It's that black family there and were causing all the problems and Occasionally not all the time My dad Were liked to bet so he would on a Thursday He when he got paid they got paid in cash and then Brown and Molob Were occasionally going to the bookies and so we'd end up you know struggling for
Personal Journey And Reflections
Early years (01:42)
food So it's clouded in those ways I'm looking through those clouds now, but you know Thinking it didn't do me any arm, but it happened, you know Your mother and your father's relationship Mom was the most loyal wife you could ever have absolutely even if her and dad and Arguments or fights or whatever she would Venomingly stick up for him, you know when anybody called him, you know the N word was vibrant back in those days and You know I hear these stories now that it's impossible to understand Racism if you're not black. It's not true It's totally not true. My mom got called an end-lower Throughout, you know the 60s when I was aware of it And she came through it. So she knew exactly what race it was about Your father was from Sierra Leone. Yeah, and your mother was from middle of the middle spru. Yeah People don't always think about that they don't think about how the In that context because my mother's from Nigeria and my dad's from Coventry So I'm you know and What my dad went through as well because his wife was black Is often not spoken about but often the partner Carries the weight and the the The insults all the same I I was reading through your story about how your mother would also on Thursday She would walk up to 10 miles to go and get your dad's Payback it. Yeah through fear that he might spend it. Yeah, she had to so it became a ritual in the end She would do it all the time in the end when we were older as kids she didn't have to carry us to the Workplace which was 10 miles away around journey and So she the end of the she would walk to meet dad and they would go off into town together You know and that became the norm Did you ever show the? Impact or the consequences of the way he was being treated like an outsider in a country where he people were telling him he didn't belong To us as kids did you ever see the impact of him? emotionally Did it manifest itself in drinking or was there ever a sign that it was impacting him? He told us often enough he'd been involved in fights Back then fist fights, you know, that was the norm You know, he had to stand up and be counted, but he was always the one arrested in those fighting situation But he He had this thing and he drove it into me and my brother don't ever react, you know, I might be reacting Whatever you do don't react, you know, take it on the chin Unride through it You'll get through it that way. It's been harder for me and I'm doing this for you. So You know, you'll benefit and money You know the other thing that I read that I found I found really difficult to read was the story of your your mother when your dad's gambling Problems Were very difficult your mother would and you didn't have money your mother would go around to other houses in the street and knock on the doors and ask for Bread or anything on money. That's how it had to be, you know, if you've got Tuesday and Wednesday to come on a Monday and you haven't got food and milk and Until you dad gets paid on Thursday. She'd come borrow money or milk or bread from the neighbors she had to just got turned away more often than not but She persevered she had to she had to look after her kids How did you feel amongst that time see what you are AGU at this point five six seven eight Well, yeah, it wasn't all the time, you know, it was occasional so yeah, I would say From eight year old I became aware of it more I know it's eight because I had to light a coal fire at eight years of age Can you imagine? You know, I can imagine asking my boys to get wood and paper and matches and then light the Paper and then once the wood gets going put the coal on top at eight years age Yeah, it's okay, you know You were asked to do that to eat though. Yeah They we didn't have central heating yet a fire coal fire. That was all yeah you had the oven in the Back in the house in the kitchen so you put a gas on to heat the kitchen when it was really cold But their main source of heat and their hot water was the fire Was there was there a lot of love in your home? Yeah, I would say intermittently. Yeah, yeah Yeah, you know when I look back now I would change anything even though there are aspects that I'd like to change Yeah, I wanted to you wanted to do things, you know, the thing I won't don't want to do is is Destroy me Person who my dad is for my grandkids, but it was difficult in those days, you know Men were physical towards women So yeah, yeah Typical I sat here not so long ago with Alex Scott the Football presenter broadcast. Yeah, I work with Alex at Sky Her book comes out in ten days time In the book I was reading about how she's never spoken about it before publicly, but she would come home and watch her father beating her up her mother constantly And the mark that left on her as a young child having to witness that kind of violence in the home And it's not really talked about enough and it's funny the reason why I bring that up is because she's also grappling with the same fear of tarnishing her father's life Yeah Yeah, but it was done. I presume my dad grew up with it And so he thought it was okay for him to do it but like I'd say you know my kids will probably listen to this and You know, I don't want to say too much on it Is there a mixture of emotions around it because that's what I observed in Alex as well was there's this like You look at someone in your life whether it's her a parent or someone you love and you say that behavior was wrong But at the same time. I I love you. It was still my father and It's you know that that balancing act of like should I hate this person should you notice it? Yeah, I made the mistake of telling my dad on my death on his death bed That it was wrong And he he Silly wouldn't accept that he'd done what he'd done so Hmm Why does that make you emotional Oh well, and I should have kept it to myself Why Why wait until he's nearly dead to say something I'm a grown man in this time Your mother Yes, that's a smile on your face. Yeah, of course What role has she played in making you the man you are today She was everything you could want in a mom She would do anything for me She did my dad never saw my school report from the age of five until I left school at 16 She protected me that way and so yeah But no, neither, you know My mom's a great and She looked after the family As good as she possibly could and you know she was my world At that age what was your your dreams? I'd ask you the question what do you want to be when you grow up? Yeah football. Yeah, no danger playing for Middlesbrough initially and then when I saw leads on Back to the day around there mates house Bora all leads. Yeah ambition to play for Bora dream to play for leads So footballer nothing else tunnel vision. Yeah Why Football, what was it doing for you? Oh everything. Yeah, I used to play on the field near our house with again scrawn men from the age of 12 and I wasn't bad, you know, and they would try to kick lumps out of this little kid who was Embarrassing them so yeah, it's the main good stead When I played against men at 16, I couldn't look after myself Eventually you end up going and doing a couple of months in the army Yeah, maybe yeah, no Dave Richardson was our Coach middle's boys came around my house and said to my dad there's a chance not guaranteed that Chris I'll be taken on as an apprentice and middle's row and he went no no he's not going If he stays in middle row He'll become He'll be in trouble with police He'll end up rinking and stuff like that. He's not staying in middle's row. He's going in the Navy He made my brother join the army and he made me join the Navy Literally frog march me down to the recruitment office and sign on the dotted line Could you imagine you know while I count imagine doing that to my kids, you know and in a way I think that worked against me with my kids because I Never pressurized my kids to do anything at all, you know, let them do whatever they wanted Whereas I probably could have been a you know a little bit more in terms of football or you know But I want whatever they wanted to do was my wish and I think that came from my dad When he marched you down there and you had a love for football at that time He marched you down there and he wanted you to join the Navy How did you feel? Not good I have to say not good It was one of those things I left middle's row boys were in a semi-final The week before I was going in the Navy so I knew I Had this final coming up when I signed Semi-final coming up when I signed For the Navy so I was thinking hopefully the semi-final and final of the middle of boys Will be over but I played the semi-final and then I didn't Get in touch with Dave Richardson to tell him I wouldn't be there for the final because I was off to tall point in Devon Well, Colmo is across the water from Plymouth Yeah Plymouth yeah, so you know it's Colmo and not Devon But it's it's a stone throw and there that's where I got my lucky break. Yeah You're lucky break. Yeah, and when the Navy football team were training there, so I went down One day and I asked the coach if I could Train with him and the team and he went now Three reasons one you're on a trial So yeah, what it did you were on a trial situation whereas You got to Six weeks whether you like the Navy or they like you and if not you could leave So he said come back in six weeks If you want and the other thing he said number two He said is your black and these lot are Kick lumps out of you so I speak So and the third thing is you're too skinny, you know, gonna be strong enough to play in the Navy football team so I said okay anyway got to six weeks was fine was okay, and then There's a six months Period then where you can decide if you want to say in the Navy or not so I went back to see him and he kept saying no no no and then one day I was running round the track while the Navy football team and he said look we're two players short I'll play on one side you play on the other just stay out on the wing and you'll be fine So I said okay anyway, I scored two goals from the wing and Got drafted straight into the team straight away and The rest is history. Yeah, we played Portsmouth reserved and Navy side I scored another two goals against them they asked how old I was and They bought me out for the magnificent sum of 200 pounds and My dad I I found my dad and I told him what was happening and It wasn't happy so I spoke to the Navy and said love would you do me a favor? Would you give me a letter saying if it don't work out as a footballer I can go my kidney Navy and they said yeah fine, so I got that letter Sent it to dad and it's all like made him You know a bit more sell And Then it happens your career at Portsmouth. Hmm a lot of people don't um A lot of people will never appreciate especially in this the modern era even me even me as a guy that has a black black mother and a white father the what racism was like back in the 50s and 60s You know the first time I experienced racism was maybe 1998 No, it would have been later it would have about 2000 roughly about when I was maybe eight or nine or ten But when I was reading through what you experienced at that in that time Almost constantly yeah, I just it's it makes it almost makes my experience feel like it was nothing I mean that like I remember like once or twice or three times, you know over the course of my whole childhood people being overtly racist, but when was the first time someone was racist to you?
I know exactly when it was gonna never forget it I was eight years old once again That was the time where I could light the fire and go to the shops to get cigarettes So you went with a note for the shopkeeper? so it was 10 woodbounds for my mom and 20 caps and full strength my dad So I went to the shop Gave the note to the shopkeeper He's getting in this woman Came in the shop Anyway, she asked for a pint of milk or loaf of bread. I'm not sure of those details and He said that I am serving this young man here. She said he's locked should Go back to where they came from and I thought I left five doors away from you, you know I'm not you know from somewhere else and he said no look he studies ground the shopkeeper and the survey and I went out with ringing in our Them blacks and souls should be yeah It says it all that you can remember that day with such detail Oh Yeah I've that's something I didn't think people realize is the first time someone called me in the end word at school I remember everything about that day I can't remember many other days, but for some reason that was a it's a very traumatic Experience and the first sort of signs that you're different. Yeah and welcome and that would go on to continue throughout your Childhood your football career I Read about the story when you were playing against mill wall I believe it was mm-hmm and someone had thrown a banana on the pitch at you. Mm-hmm Yeah, no wall was Horrific but not just for me as a black person it was for any footballer that went there You know basically but even harder for me. I can always remember Once again, if you ask me about my career and there's you know lots I forget but the first time I took a throw in there the ball went out and They kept the ball initially Wouldn't give me it and then eventually it got through on to the pitch and the Fans are virtually there and you're taking a throwing from there So I'm so like taking this throwing and all of a sudden spit is on the back of my head the pack it much I never took a throwing ever there again Yeah, that lesson was truly learnt And the other story which I found it just sounded like something from a thousand years ago was when you went to The pub after a game with your team and the the pub owner made a comment a racist comment to you Yeah, yeah, that was in whether be unplayed for Portsmouth at Sonaland And 1976 I think Sonaland needed to win to get promotion to the what is the Premier League now the old first division we needed a win to stay up in the old second division What is the championship now anyway Sonaland won that day? Always remember that game for two reasons not just the weather be incident I drank champagne for them first time Sonaland sent a case of champagne into the dressing room because they've got promote it that day So we get on the coach Every virtually every team that played Sonaland on Newcastle would stop at whether before Fission chip So So we stop so we all part in the pub Most of the players and the barman says we don't serve is kind in here And the last world gone and I went no no no it's fine to be honest I was underage anyway I was 17 But that didn't matter back then I'd been going in the pub since I was 14, you know So I went no no it's fine anyway Mickey Mel I was one of my teammates said I'll bring you a tight out But now was the first time that my teammates Realize you know do you get that often and stuff like that? Then I said yeah, occasionally Part of life, you know You get on with it. Mm-hmm. It's one thing to to shrug it off and I feel like in that situation There's a time in place, you know to To address some of these things or can to confront them your father had taught you to kind of not react as you say But as you look back on that period of your life, how did that racial abuse shape and change you as a man? It made you wary of other people obviously, you know, not happy But I wouldn't say oh god. It's trauma ties me or something like that and then the black lives come out and people start telling their stories of racism and the way they've been treated and you think oh why can't I tell my story now and I have them? Has that helped you telling a story do you think to be honest? I wouldn't say it's helped me or not helped me I think Since I've had this Well, I've got two conditions an underactive thyroid and a proxy the underactive the thyroid plays with your emotions So I get a lot more emotional now whereas stuff I wouldn't even bat an eyelid in the past because of this little butterfly Thyroid in my neck it now makes me more emotional When did you discover the underactive thyroid? Well, it's funny, you know, it's really funny It's I Did going through lockdown initially the first lockdown in March When the weather was great everyone, you know quite You know, I think they were gutted about the lockdown But the fact you were at home and the summer is shining Things were slightly different.
Your conditions (28:52)
I did loads and loads of shows from home, you know celeb juice and steps back lunch ITV Lorraine and stuff like that Sky Sports from the you know Barn at home, you know, so that was fine so All of a sudden I began to not feel well Too well, but I always shrugged it off. I'd take you know tablets and be fine the next day and all that sort of stuff, but it wasn't going away and I thought what's going on, but I ignored it ignored it, which is the worst thing you can possibly do So I would get away with it or home by Hardly not being the person I was not talking as much When I'm broadcasting for Sky, I'm trying to keep minimalistic because some of the words are coming out slurred and stuff like that, so eventually I've got to go and see someone because I literally went a whole year if not 20 months before I actually got diagnosed with undirected thyroid, so It was all my prayers answered at once You know, you've got an undirected thyroid take Level of thyroid I want you to find your level of level of thyroid and you'll be fine great doctors great So now so eventually you take 25 grams or whatever it is level of thyroid Eventually when you find your level you find so I get to 175 and My thyroid is stabilized Bull My voice condition is still exactly the same so what's going on So my doctor then says go for a brain scan I go for MRI scan anyway Go and see a brain specialist. He looks at the x-rays the MRI scan Fine, no problem. Nothing wrong with your brain. It's got to be something else. That's going up so Go back to my GP and tell him what's going on. He's got the report from the brain scan so he said He won't give up my GB. He says it's not obviously your Thyroid there's something else going on Would you go and see this doctor Lily and leads? He's a specialist So I go and see doctor Lily in leads and before I've only said hello to him And before I can even chat to him he says you've got a proxy of speech Right, how do you know I can tell straight away the difficulty between The brain and your mouth being able to speak You know, it was probably slower than it is now at that time So he said a lot, you know, I want you to go and have a dad scan which is which rules out Parkinson's or stroke and all that sort of I did Went back to see him with the result for the results. I should say and he went the good news is you haven't got Parkinson's or anything like that the bad news is, you know, we can't find anything else wrong with you So, you know the apraxia, you know, will probably get worse and You know That went on for quite a while I went to see a therapist And he kept saying to me a lot you need to tell people, you know You can't continue on TV and people are saying is he drunk and what's the matter with him as he had a stroke? You need to come out and say something. I said I can't I can't I'd rather quit than actually say something Anyway, eventually I Spoke to my mate men shepherd Told him what was going on. So he said a lot come on GMB I'll chat about it and let the world know what's going on How are things for your family during this period My boys had been saying to my wife the summit Rome went down for a while and she saw like Would broach it with me, but I'd be quite snappy and you know which I'm not anyway You know and say no, I'm fine. I'm fine. Don't worry about it I'm fine and I kept thinking like I said once I got the thyroid problem the level of thyroid will take it away and then It's still with me and Yeah, it's harder for people closer. I think you know because My two boys saying you're okay. Oh, yeah, I'm fine. I'm just at a bad day, you know, don't worry. I'll be fine But they know, you know you can't pull a wall over their eyes for too long For someone that has never experienced what it's like to have a praxia What does it feel like for you in your head? It feels like Someone is taking over my voice books. So The voice that used to come out would come out 300 mala now, you know, you've seen me on the results and Suck a side in you know mama mouth talking Not even waiting for a breath. Just keep going and going now when I hear myself or see myself on TV It's someone else. It's strange. It's really strange Some days, you know their message from the brain to the mouth is really slow Yeah Makes it difficult or some days the words come out different that what you're trying to say, you know, not even We're there And so that's been hard to accept and still hard to accept I have to say, you know, I Was gonna quit everything, you know Literally every single better TV at the end of last season leave sky Quit BBC quit ITV quit channel 4 and 5 and all those companies BBC I think it was the right time to leave sky I don't know great in it BBC ITV channel one channel five said no, no Your coming doesn't matter, you know, I said well, it's the quality of the program. No, it doesn't matter You're fine. We want you to do this and would you believe I'm now doubly busy than what I was before That that period of uncertainty you get the diagnosis the specialist says to you it's only gonna get worse Mm-hmm Your career is at that point in speaking. Mm-hmm. It's in presenting broadcasting. Yeah What's what it was that period of uncertainty like on your mental health It was an acceptance really Because what I said to my wife is if I wasn't a broadcaster it wouldn't matter would it? And so she said yeah, you know, I said, you know now's the time but a great time Spoke to my agent Simon dead said look I'm getting out of all this and he said yeah, you can yeah Don't worry. I'll leave it up to you and Yeah, I thought that's it quit. I've done my time and I like to thank all the people that are being persistent and said look 25% Kami is you know still better than some people, you know And Sky Saw you on that show forever Yeah presenting and bringing you know Insights and wisdom and laughs and all of that to the show I Also watch the tribute that Jeff Jeff did when you left. What was that like having to speak to? To Jeff and the rest of the lives and tell them. Yeah departing and for the reason Well, Jeff's a really close bow He knew that being something going on for a while He kept saying to me. Are you all right? I said, yeah, I'm fine. Yeah, don't worry. I'm fine He said well, you know Yeah, what's going on? So I said honest just had a couple of bad days and stuff But I'll be fine on Saturday then he'd send me a text saying you know fine again I said I'll be all right next week or whatever, but yeah You can't pull the wool over people's eyes who know you real well and It was great, you know the tribute that Sky gave me which like I said was the right time to leave there I cried when he cried on the show I've never seen him cry before. Mm-hmm. It's a really beautiful powerful moment um Since then you've in your own words. You've really thrown the kitchen sink. I think it's the quote. Mm-hmm at The apraxia and can you talk to me about what you've done since to? to mitigate the impact of the Condition on you and your life in your career Yeah, and they I went on GMB and spoke to Ben Shepherd and Kate The I go off phone call immediately from a fella that I knew ish Felico Winford doors and He said I can cue you, you know, I know there's people out there that will help To get you right so He said I Want you to come and meet a professor Nicholson down at Sheffield University So I said okay, so I met Winford and the professor anyway between them They were saying you need to kickstart your cerebellum Which is in the back of the brain What's happened is it's shut down So we need to get the jump leads out started again and get your brain going get your speech going and There are various ways to do that So So I said yeah, what are those I'll do absolutely anything here To try and get it right so he got Zing performance which is really Exercises for stroke victims, but it's helped my balance Our performance which is micro currents going through my body and still I have a tag on my Ankle now with those micro currents going through all the time. Yeah all the time. Yeah For seven hours every day It's helped Yeah, it's helped, you know, I'm I wouldn't say more than 60% The old me but you know, I was 20% you know, so I've got a 40% for it hyperbaric tent, you know with the oxygen Recommended I do that and I see a therapist who helps with the speech and help my anxiety and working for Skye Became very difficult, you know before I even Came out and said I've got it. My heart would be like mad before they came to me at Skye The anxiety was terrible because I was knowing I wasn't the old me So I went to see him and he said look I can cure that the other problem the apraxia is logical condition, so I can't help with that, but we'll try, you know and see if we can get you through things so getting really Anxiety helped me finish work or the Work I had stacked up UK strongest man the game's right TV Although shows cash in the attic I present So they helped me do that and All those Treatments, you know, I'm taking so many vitamins these days and I've just been introduced my Winford to the Best neurologist neurologist in America He said because I have good days. There's no reason why I can't be cured so I've sent off a Load of blood tests and everything to America and I'm just waiting on the results How is life for you now you've been through a journey. Yeah, you know, where are you in that journey now strange strange in terms of I Feel a fraud now in terms of broadcasting.
I feel like a fraud (45:58)
I don't bring to the table what I used to So that's hard My life away from the screen could be any better, you know grandkids You know family You know, it's perfect unique. Yeah Feel a fraud. Yeah Because you because you I feel I'm doing these programmers and And they're not getting the best of me, but they're tolerating me, you know, mm-hmm. That's how it feels I mean Who am I to say but you know, I I think what you what they told you about As you said 25% of you is better than pretty much everyone else You know, you brought so much joy to my life growing up made me love the game or made me Understand the game more you've made it hilarious. I mean, you know that you're you're loved more than anyone I've ever seen on the screen. So and you've earned that that's a skill. It's something I couldn't do I wouldn't know how to do a sliver of what you do. So I don't think that I suspect that fear is is not as logical as you think it is that you're a fraud I Mean that as well. Like I could never do what you do. I couldn't do of 10% of what you do. Mm-hmm. So You know It's like anything else you take it for granted your old self you do things You know that tribute that sky gave me that's Reserve for someone who passes away, isn't it? You know, so I've had the tribute while I'm still alive That people don't get when they go Yours look back and think you read the obituaries and the comments and things. Why didn't people say that? You know, so I Think maybe I should have bowed out then you know Taking the accolades and said thank you You know, am I tarnishing? Well, I've got what I had But I but I think My rebuttal to that if I may is that you're serving the world in a very important way now still Even by having this conversation and being vulnerable and open You are serving hundreds of thousands of people thousands and thousands of people in a complete and entirely different way That are suffering With with various conditions whether it's you know, as you said post stroke victims or whether it's Appraxia or other things and they're struggling with the same self doubt It's funny like our missions just change over our lives, right? Like so your first missions was in football and then you became a manager then you did broadcasting and now this chapter of your life is just a different chapter Mm-hmm. You're still, you know, a wondrous Brodcasted but you're serving people in a completely other way probably maybe arguably even in a more important way Mm-hmm. Do you know what I mean? Yeah? Yeah It's funny. I did the ITV games and a Youtuber was called young Philly. I've never met him before He's on the first show and he sees me before we go broadcasting and he comes And he starts doing that he went you're a god and what You know, I'm young Philly pleased to meet you Do you know what icon you are for black people? I went nah, don't be damn it You're a trailblazer, you know, you did TV before Diversity, you know, how did you get into TV? You know when you you know on Sky Sports and there was no black people around and all that sort of Europe and I come and I went No, I don't see myself as I anyway. Well, you'd be my inspiration So makes it feel good for a second. That's worth it, right? Yeah And that alone that that thought that you're inspiring people just by having this conversation and By sharing your story and being honest and not running into the shadows as you could have very easily done It's gonna help that and you probably never get to meet them like you got to meet young Philly But that's got to be worth it, right? Yeah Yeah, it was I didn't believe him You've got no reason to lie though, isn't you know what I mean? Quick one as you might know crafted one of the sponsors of this podcast and crafted are a jewelry brand And they make really meaningful pieces of jewelry and this piece by crafted when I put it on for me It represents courage it represents ambition it represents being calm and loving and respectful and nurturing while also being the antithesis of that seemingly the antithesis of that which is Sometimes a little bit aggressive with my goals and determined and courageous and brave The really wonderful thing about crafted jewelry is it's super affordable It looks amazing the pieces hold tremendous meaning and they are really well made This next this next chapter What what do you want it to be full of? My life has changed in terms of grandkids You know material things Not matter anymore The love you are for you know young kids kids Is something else?
Your next chapter (51:55)
I'm one of those now Even though I'm still working my main priority is spending time with them What advice would you give me? You know I just turned 30 last week What advice would you give me?
Your best advice (52:40)
I say it to everyone Work hard and you'll succeed Don't ever turn down work. Don't ever say on a job or this is hard I don't like it anymore. I can't do this do it do it and do it to the best of your ability And see where it takes you, you know TV is One of those jobs I think where if you work hard enough you'll succeed in football That's not the case, you know, I've grown up in football New sometimes a lucky break is better than working hard You've still got a workout, but you need breaks and of course you need breaks in TV But if you work hard, I think you get them. I started off at Sky and so People say how did you get into Sky in 1998? Well initially I was Appounded for him. I Was lucky fortunate the first broadcast of the Football League was Sunderland versus Sheffield United at Sheffield and they rang me I was manager of the month with Bradford August we won four games and drew one and they call me and said would you come and be the pundit? So I said yeah Sheffield down the road from me and they said no you've got to come into Sky In West London so I came all the way down Marcus Brooklyn the presenter who is his first day and it was a double header six hours TV obviously adds in between and all that sort of stuff half-time And that and Jerry Francis was doing the second game So that's where fate took a hand I did the first game Sunderland one at Sheffield and Jerry Francis got stuck on the M4. So I did the double header so From doing six hours of TV I became the go-to guy then for Sky So a live game are you available? Yeah, I'll come down and do it and I did that and Then when I got the sack from Bradford They asked would I like a contract and I said no But I like to keep my face in the shop window So I did warm broadcasts and then stoke came along And I got that job And then it not job turned sour pretty quickly after three months and then I just fell straight into the sky the broadcast and and so eventually The 1999 The producer of soccer Saturday said would you like to come and join the team? So I said yeah, so you went would you like to do some features for us? So I would actually go and train with teams Premier League team You know, you cannot imagine in a million years that they let you and train with the players these days But I did that back in the day 1999 and I so I'd go on train joining the training with them Interview the managers and the players shoot the and then I went and edited those pieces Because I didn't want someone saying oh, yeah, it's fine But you know the hard work is done by the editor so I would set myself in a studio And Sometimes it took six seven hours for a four-minute piece to edit it down But I thought all right. I don't want anyone saying he's there by from Hard work and if you do that people see that It'll help not in all cases but in most cases That was the very start of what would go on to be a legendary career in the media and I When you look so you're giving me one reason there as to why you're successful, which is just a hard work and saying yes But the media business is also It's much more complex in that in the sense that hard workers you say is like you definitely need to do it But what was it about you? Do you think that set you apart as Of as a in the media industry as a broadcaster.
What was it that set you apart from the rest? (57:30)
I know no no, I'm still baffled by that. I went to Ian Constrans 40th anniversary with his wife. He was Ian was the producer of Sockersadie who gave me the job and I said why you know I had seen you on doing all the programs Punditray and thought you'd be great for us. You know, you said, you know took a chance with you and And it works for 20 years you must you must have a suspicion No, no, no, it's all you know, I'm I was allowed to be just me So I didn't have to work it like I had to work it Editing those pieces together, you know, they're training playing Interviewing the managers all came natural. Yeah, it was that hard work that I wanted to prove that I could do But no, I was fortunate. Oh, it was just me And When did you meet Anne? We met When I was at Swindon I Got transferred from Portsmouth to Swindon my first ever transfer and In 1978 1978 And we actually played Portsmouth my first game Force Winden was home to Portsmouth and Yeah, I had to have a police escort to the game the Club had been informed by the intelligence that the national front because Portsmouth Had 200 national front supposed national front is this racist organization from Yeah, yeah So they'd got wind that they were gonna do me in, you know So, you know when I played for Pompey there was a small
Your wife Ann (59:14)
section of fans that Boog you onto the pitch because of your color boog you off, you know, but like I said back in those days I didn't care not one job, you know, and I didn't care when they said about this, you know You're gonna be done in I said, oh, it's just a threat don't worry about it but the police intelligence no we need to pick you up and Take you to the game and drop you back home so I did and Escorted winter here after 10 minutes And not like today Where people don't celebrate Of course stupid me, you know, we would dad this death threat goes straight because I scored in the end where the pumpy fans And gave it all that So So, so yeah, no, so The police has got wanted to take me back to my dicks, but I said no leave it now It's fine and one of my teammates Kenny's round is wife Linda was with This girl called down and I asked her out You know 40 years later or 43 years later, we're still together What a journey it's been Long journey, yeah What does she mean to you? Everything, you know It's you take Wives from granted all I did, you know, I can't speak for everyone else But it's only when you have a problem like this because you know I Just live for today, you know, I'm fine. Um, you know No problems. Don't worry about me. It's all it's when you have a problem they have to You know look at your closest morning see what they do for you and how they react to what you're going through which You know is difficult and then you feel Sad about you know not sharing things before and keeping things away from How did you react all of this? She she said she thought for a while she didn't say anything She said she thought For a while There was something not quite right, but she couldn't put a finger on it And she's been my rock, you know now, you know I don't hardly you know This is the longest I've spoken to anybody for a long time, you know And you'll probably see when you edit this tape Sometimes it's slow sometimes it's coming out. Okay. Now. It's coming out. Okay, and it feels fine You know and that's all to do with the mind Maybe I'm talking about a good thing now with an answer. It's fine, and it's free So yeah, she's you know, she's taking the weight heavy weight off my shoulders and You know allowed me to Do what I do to continue doing what I'm doing if I want to do it But she does say from time to time you're allowed to say no to these jobs Let Simon rings up and ask me to do But I don't like to let anyone down You know, I think it's worth saying that I think this this has been a really really great conversation and I'm actually quite surprised to hear that of how much you struggled previously based on the conversation we've had today because I don't Had I don't know if I'm speaking out of turn here, but had I not known about the The condition this would have been a perfectly normal conversation on this com on this podcast. So it's really really interesting and enlightening to To learn more about it and I Yeah, I can't imagine as from a family's perspective as well going through that journey with their father where you're trying to find answers You find answers and then there's that whole sort of therapy process to get you back to where you are and the mental health Journey that takes us on which we've not really talked about in detail, but There's the curing the the condition, but then there's like living with the cost of the shift the tectonic shift in your life It consumed your mind or as done mind so Every day I wake up the first thing I think I'm I gonna be able to talk today, you know, so Immediately I wake up home go in the bathroom and I'll look in the mirror and say a few words and It's fine.
How are you feeling about your condition? (01:04:50)
Oh, I think it's fine the perception is fine in my head and then I'll go downstairs and talk to one and all of a sudden that pathway is restricted and not not again today, you know, and that's been hard to get my head around and my therapist Daniel he says you exaggerate in your mind, you know That's the problem because you've never had to think about your speech now You're thinking you're overthinking So even though like you said it seems fine to you in my head I know that it's slower than It would have been at we spoken three years ago And that the cognition part the thoughts that they're still the same. Yeah, they're they're lightning quick Yeah, they're fine. So They're there in terms of speech, but I have days where if you're out and about or Yeah, even indoors. There's nothing in the brain area. So, you know, whereas I Could normally go into a room Did it all the time speak to everyone have a laugh that was the first thing on my mind now that Part of it is hard work and it feels hard work and it feels a struggle And it doesn't feel natural. That's the worst thing So I tend not to do it very often, you know, unless I'm feeling good out, you know Spoken to someone else and I can tell it's fluid The voice then I'll go in a room and be myself again Chris we have a closing tradition on this podcast. Yes, where the Last guest asks a question for the next guest.
The last guest question (01:08:17)
They don't know who they're writing it for. Mm-hmm, and they'll never find out Although I have said their name earlier on so you won't you have to figure it out, right? But the question they've written for you is I'm gonna read it for a bit what has been the most happiest moment of your life Full stop brought to you the most joy and why Is that kids aside or let's say kids aside because that's yeah, yeah kids aside Are achieving my ambition and my dream, yeah I Can you know as a young black kid playing on the fields around where I live? Think it now one day I'll play an air some bark for Middlesbrough and Ellen Road for leads Blow my mind away, you know ambition and dream achieve Chris thank you, I have no doubt that your ambitions and dreams are I just getting started because you have all of the core the minerals that it's are required to achieve pretty much anything And you've shown that your life has been a testament to that even in the face of great adversity Thank you. I thank you not just for myself and for you giving me your time today, but I Don't think you realize how many people you're gonna help in a really important profound way How much pain you're gonna alleviate from them how you're gonna make them feel seen and understood just by doing this today And just by not hiding in the shadows. Thank you. So thank you for all the joy you've made for fun You've made it Made me understand the game better over the course of pretty much my entire life So I'm full one I'm so glad that I still get to see you on the screens and I hope to see you a lot more and you go showed an injured warrior UK race for glory, which is airing on ITV, which I'm very excited about watching as well. Yeah, I'm so glad I did it You know, I tried to pull out when they rang me and said we've been commissioned for Series seven I went oh no, and they what what do you mean? Oh no? No, no, you know getting the old coming they said oh don't worry about it and I What's a bit of the first episode and even though it don't sound like me. It's possible, you know, so I'll people enjoy it. Well as you said 25% of years better than pretty much most So we'll take that. Thank you so much, Chris. Thanks. No, no I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast for many years people have been asking for a coffee flavored heel and quite recently he'll release the ice coffee caramel flavor of their Ready to drink heels and I've just become hooked on it over the last couple of weeks I've been on a really interesting journey with heel Which I've described and talked about a little bit on this podcast I started with the berry ready to drinks that I moved over to the protein salted caramel because it's a hundred calories And it gives you all of your essential vitamins and minerals But also gives you the 20 odd grams of protein you need and now I'm balanced between them both I drink mostly the banana flavor ready to drink. I've got really into the ice coffee caramel Flavor of heels ready to drink and now I'm drinking that as well as the protein Make sure you try the new ready to drink flavors that the caramel flavors amazing the new banana flavor as well as amazing and obviously as I said the iced coffee caramel flavor has been a real smash hit so Check it out. Let me know what you think on social media. I see all of your tags and Instagram posts and tweets about you