Our monthly Members’ Meeting took place in the Circle Restaurant, this due to the Dug Out being in use as a School for the children of Hull Fair. Our special guest speaker was David Burns from BBC Radio Humberside.
At the beginning our Chair gave a number of notices starting with our December pre-Christmas Luncheon. We already had approaching 130 people booked and more were still booking their places. Dave mentioned that we would change the format from our in-house Quizzes to something very different. No secrets were being released but more was promised at the November meeting!
Notice was given of the Hull Photo Society’s Exhibition in Princes Quay throughout October. They had been very supportive to us doing the launch of our Memorabilia Programme earlier in the year. Pete introduced the Raffle and a list of exciting prizes whilst Babs drummed up support for the forthcoming visits to the National Brewery Museum in Burton (Oct) Valley Parade (Nov). Our Player of the Month was also introduced, noting that on arrival each month members would be invited to declare their choice for the Player of the Month. These will all add up through the season and lead to the announcement of our first Player of the season.
Burnsie introduced himself by sharing his delight that someone can still organise a “xxx-up in a brewery”. He mentioned just how pleased he was to be back in the commentary seat – which brought a spontaneous round of applause. He mentioned that he had missed this last season but that it had affected ‘Swanny’ more than himself since he did not have back-up opportunities to turn to.
He was guided to make reference to the possible return of Paul Duffen, backed by serious Saudi Arabian investors. He even put a note of caution in, reminding us that his first tenure at the club had not been successful and his departure saw the club in financial meltdown. However, this was a different approach and could be the break through we were waiting for. Due diligence is now underway. Sky Sports was suggesting that there were also two other groups bidding.
We learned from Burnsie that he was born in 1959 in Glasgow but that he and his family moved when he was 5 years old – “I was too hard for Glasgow!” He did, however, remember watching Sir Alex Ferguson play for Rangers. The family moved around, “my mother was addicted to Removal Men” – moving round the country and even as far as Nigeria.
He went to University, well, he admitted, to Birmingham Polytechnic. Four years during which he had one night in! A brilliant time and he still managed an Honours degree in Business Studies. Then came Journalism, a plan he just fell into – “I’ve fallen into a lot of things!” He started with the BBC on finance & personnel and then had opportunity to stand in for John Tonda at Grimsby Town. Overall it took him 7 years to make the transition to football, He left R.H. where he was working under David Gibbons, and took a job with Radio Sheffield as their Sport’s Editor, covering the period when Barnsley made the Premier League. In 2000 he transferred to London to work with BBC Radio 1, 2 and even 4 but admitted that “people didn’t quite get me!”. During his months in the Capital he felt like a hamster in a wheel and he really missed those nights visiting places like Spotland (Rochdale).
He was asked for his favourite away ground and admitted a liking for Arsenal & Manchester City which both provided a free bar with a preference for the Gunners as they also threw in personalised fish ‘n chips! Chelsea also provided him with bottles of wine for the journey home whilst the Vetchfield (Swansea) was among the scariest. The commentary box was at the top of the stand, accessed by a ladder which swayed as you climbed. He was once left at the top, post match, when all the lights were turned out and he had to find his way down in total darkness!
When the call to return to R.H. he was delighted. Preparing for a match meant a few hours and then the partnership with Swanny followed. He was asked whether the banter with Swanny was off the cuff or scripted and admitted it was totally ad lib, off the cuff.
Sport had always been a dominant part of his life. He played football, tennis, golf and had watched football across the country, in Nigeria and also in Trinidad. Many years previous he was crowned Butlin’s Putting Champion and he is the reigning HCOSC Dart’s Champion!
R.H. asked him to move from Sport’s Talk to the Morning Show as they wanted to boost the listening figures. He only agreed on the proviso that he remained on match commentary. He mentioned that he just tries to make a difference to people’s lives. In these recent years he has achieved a number of high accolades, 3 times Broadcaster of the Year no less. He was now in with a shout of the Sony Awards for Best Radio Presenter in the Country, already in the top six. (since then he has, of course, won that top place award. Our congratulations.)
Another big love is live music and he is always delighted to help publicise young local talent making their early marks. His love of music was really established in those days at Brum Poly when he was out night after night.
More questions would now be put to him:
He was asked about his experiences with different managers & owners. Nigel Pearson was always awkward in interviews but undoubtedly a really good manager. Phil Brown was terrific to work with even though he twice banned Burnsie. Terry Nolan also served a ban on Burnsie! Bruicie was great to deal with and Nigel Adkins is so positive, uber positive that he had to love him to bits.
His memories of 2008? Watching the queues outside the stadium looking for tickets and being promising bacon butties on air being challenged from the crowds where these butties were! He also predicted that Dean Windass would score!
He mentioned that Billy Bremner was one of his real heroes and that during his time at Radio Sheffield he had been join by Billy as a summariser. He was terrific.
Who would he most like to interview? Sir Alex and also the late John Peel.
The current absence of Mike Dean? He informed us that “he was just not well”
He was asked that if the Saudi Arabian take over is successful who would he like to nominate for the ritual beheadings at the KCOM? Much humour which he safely navigated! He was asked whether the take over would include the SMC. He responded saying that it has to be included, there had to be a ‘clean break’.
During Slutsky’s tenure Burnsie had been given a Russian Doll set. He confirmed this and that it stands on his mantelpiece. Of Slutsky himself he said he was a really charming man but never had a chance. The quality of recruitment was simply not good enough.
Who decides which match appears on R.H. FM frequency? It was the Sport’s Editors decision. Burnsie said he would have City on FM all the time but other factors are taken in to account.
Late night Yorkshire wide Radio Show? He had a run a couple of years ago, enjoyed the experience but was not invited back!
Have you reported on TV (local or national)? “Do I look like I could?” !
Most bizarre moment in the commentary box? At the Dell (Southampton) the Press Box was very tight and one guy tried to exit by a window and got stuck! Personally he recalled North Ferriby winning the FA Vase at Wembley. Gwillym Lloyd was on the pitch with the players and Burnsie was describing the scene. “The champagne cocks are popping!” It took a long time in the studio to calm down from that slip up!
Of the Allams he felt that much of their grief was probably self inflicted and that they had wasted a golden opportunity.
What would be his dream changes for the future? Tickets at £20, seniors at £10 and kids for a fiver.
So we came to a close on what had been a memorable afternoon. Many thanks to Burnsie from us all.