Giggs: ‘Anfield was the toughest place to visit’

Ryan Giggs said Arsenal's Lee Dixon was always a tough opponent

Ryan Giggs said Arsenal’s Lee Dixon was always a tough opponent

On Tuesday night attendances at Barclays Premier League matches broke the 250 million barrier. To commemorate this milestone, premierleague.com invited its Twitter followers to ask a question of Ryan Giggs, the only player still playing in the Barclays Premier League who also featured when the first fans filed through the turnstiles for the competition’s inaugural matchday on Saturday 15 August 1992.

The Manchester United legend, who was voted the Best Player in the Premier League 20 Seasons Awards, answered 10 questions sent by followers of the Premier League’s Twitter account.

@DalisoC: Which trophy are you most proud of winning?

Ryan Giggs: I think the trophy I am most proud of is probably the first Premiership [1992/93]. Growing up as a United fan and obviously not winning it for so long, for me, coming so close the year before and losing out to Leeds was really disappointing so when we did eventually win it, the excitement and the relief and the pressure was off a little bit. It was probably the foundation to go on and win many things so I would probably rank that as my favourite.

@shanekels: Which three players from the Premier League era would you have with you in your midfield?

Giggs: I think the two midfielders that stand out are [Paul Scholes] Scholesy and [Roy Keane] Keaney, the year we won the treble. And then it would be close to [David Beckham] Becks and Cristiano [Ronaldo] but what Cristiano has done in the last couple of years probably just pips him. In my view, along with [Lionel] Messi, he’s the world’s best player. So, I wouldn’t mind being in that midfield, if I can get in!

@Ali_Alex_MUFC: If you could go back to any of your previous seasons, which one would it be and why?

Giggs: I think the treble-winning season. It was just such a rollercoaster season and [we had] three cup finals in 10 days; obviously winning the league first of all, then the FA Cup and going on to win the Champions League in the manner that we did. It was just like the season really. Those 10 days were like a rollercoaster, so that was probably the feeling and feat that you don’t often get.

@SiHanTheGoonerWhich team do you always look forward to playing the most?

Giggs: I think as a player you want a challenge, so any of the top teams really. I would probably say Liverpool, because there is always such a great build-up. It doesn’t matter how the teams are doing in the league, there’s always that rivalry and there’s always that ferocious tempo within the game, whether it be at Old Trafford or Anfield.

@amatan: In your opinion, what was your best game in the #BPL?

Giggs: I’m struggling with that one! I think I would have to say the City game, the 4-3 [against Manchester City in September 2009]. I set up a few goals and – the way the game went, obviously passing to Michael [Owen] to score the winner – that was a great game.

@Minion786: How does it feel to be playing alongside the youth players knowing you were starting for Man United before they could walk?

Giggs: [Laughs] I got used to the fact a long time ago that I am playing with someone who wasn’t born when I made my debut and all these sort of things that come up. So, yeah, I have just got used to it. It’s something I have got to live with, I suppose.

@Nookums69: What is your favourite goal that you did not score?

Giggs: I’d say Wayne’s overhead kick [Rooney against Manchester City, February 2011] or maybe Becks’s from the halfway line [David Beckham against Wimbledon, August 1996].

(After being asked if he’s tried to emulate either goal) It wasn’t the same as Becks’s but at Charlton away I hit the crossbar [in December 2000]. So I nearly scored from the halfway line but Wayne’s, no, I haven’t come close!

@deba1993Which stadium has the most daunting atmosphere?

Giggs: I think Anfield. Like I said before, no matter how the teams are doing there is always a great atmosphere. You could be playing against an average Liverpool team and it would still be one of the toughest games of the season, just because the crowd drive them on and the tradition between the two clubs.

@maestrofmhellWho is the one defender who gave you nightmares?

Giggs: I think Lee Dixon was always tough to play against, especially at Highbury where it was a tight pitch and it was that famous back four and [David] Seaman [in goal]. It was always tough to find that bit of space, which normally I can find but he had that experience, knowing whether to go tight or whether to come off, and it was always a test to play against him.

I edited and transcribed this audio Q & A as part of a feature on Premierleague.com. You can listen to the interview below:

Living the Dreem: On the record with DJ Spoony

As far as the UK Garage music scene, and radio DJing goes, there haven’t been many iconic figures as successful as DJ Spoony. After getting his first break on pirate station London Underground in 1997, Spoony went on to have spells on Galaxy Radio, Kiss FM and Radio One, where he presented a Sunday morning show, and the 606 football phone in on Radio Five Live for seven years.

Not only that, he’s DJ’d at nightclubs and venues all over the UK and the world. I spoke to the man himself about his career, his work with Timmi Magic and Mikey B in the iconic ‘Dreem Teem’ and his love for football and golf. The interview started with him telling me how it all kicked off 14 years ago.

This interview was published on column10.com, which I co-launched and edited from May 2011.

The Sports Hour on Nerve Radio, 87.7 FM

As Sports Editor of Bournemouth University’s student station, Nerve Radio, during my final two years of my degree, I launched, co-produced and presented a new show – the Sports Hour.

Last year, it was part of a special two-week broadcast on local FM radio that was also available internationally at nervemedia.org.uk. The show won ‘Best Talk Show’, among a wealth of competition, during the FM broadcast, and you can listen to both episodes I co-presented right here.

The Sports Hour’s FM Debut: March 14th, 2011.

Along with co-presenter Duggy, I launched the Sports Hour on to FM airwaves for the first time on March 14. The show included post-match reaction to AFC Bournemouth’s 3-1 defeat against local rivals Southampton, interviews with football commentators Dan O’Hagan and Clive Tyldesley, and an interview with former British Super middleweight Boxing Champion Cornelius Carr about his new Pheonix Mixed Martial Arts Gym in Winton.

The Sports Hour: March 21st, 2011.

This was mine and Duggy’s last show on the FM airwaves, and the action-packed hour included interviews with former Arsenal and Tottenham footballer Rohan Ricketts, ex Brentford manager Martin ‘Mad Dog’ on his new project ‘Pro FC’, more Six Nations reaction from Rugby correspondent Steve Johns and a second consecutive defeat for Bournemouth, this time after a 582-mile round trip to Carlisle. Four tickets for promotion-chasing Bournemouth’s crucial home clash against Tranmere Rovers were also up for grabs in a special competition.

Peter Dickson: The man behind the ruddy X Factor voiceover!

Peter Dickson: the voice of Saturday night telly

Peter Dickson: the voice of Saturday night telly

It’s me! Peter Dickson. You know – the Voiceover man from the X Factor, Family Fortunes and all that guff. I am the most iconic voice on British telly. The soundtrack to computer game adverts. Film trailers. Animated movies. And I am available on iPhone to say all the phrases you ruddy well like! I even want to be the voice of the 2012 Olympics. Jack Hyom spoke to me. The man behind the legendary voice… and it was live!

Sound familiar? Peter Dickson is the man behind one of the most famous voices of entertainment and continues to add to what is an already incredible reputation. He provides a repertoire or dramatic and massively over-emphasised vocals on BBCITV,  Channel 4, and E4 – you name it, he’s done it.

What a lot of people don’t know is that he is also the voice of Xbox 360 and Playstation games like Fable, kids’ TV series, and many film trailers. He’s also co-owner of two hotels, Chairman of a  digital agency and working with 2009 X Factor contestant Lloyd Daniels on a new album. How he managed to get a ten-minute interview in to his jam-packed schedule is a mystery in itself. He even said: “It’s pretty full on. Every day is a 12 to 13 hour day so there’s never a dull moment in this place! In fact, I don’t think I’ve got enough time to talk to you!”

And how did he discover his rare talent? His love for radio developed from his very early years and he has never looked back.

“I remember my father having a radio at home. It was an old fashioned valve radio and I always used to be fascinated by the voices that came out of it”, Dickson said.

“I used to love the idea of radio. So when I went to university I joined a film society and we made little radio programmes and documentaries and from there on my love for radio just grew and grew. I made it my mission once I left university to join the BBC and I did.”

He first got into the BBC as a journalist, getting stuck in to any reporting and news reading that was going before he moved to Radio Two – where he began to deputise for presenters and host his own shows. He was even Terry Wogan’s newsreader, and once he was introduced to Radio One presenter Steve Wright, his career launched in to action.

“I met Steve Wright on Radio One and that’s how my career jumped and progressed. I then went freelance and became solely a voice artist after some years. I’m really in the job I love so I’m so fortunate that I get to do all these big shows and meet all these people.”

Peter Dickson's Pocket Announcer gives instant access to his iconic voice

Peter Dickson’s Pocket Announcer gives instant access to his iconic voice

After years of success and important roles in shows including Family Fortunes,  Brucey’s Price is Right and Catchphrase during the 80’s and 90’s, Dickson then noticed that Talent Show tycoon Simon Cowell was on the lookout for a voice to compliment the launch of the X Factor in 2003 – and the Voiceover man just knew that he was the man for the job.

“When I heard Simon was looking for a voiceover for it, I called him up and said ‘Look, you’ve got to have me on there because I know I can deliver the voice as big as this show and it’s the voice that it requires’.

“So I auditioned for him along with a load of other people and I got the gig, which was very satisfying. It has been great being associated with that show professionally because of the amount of the people who watch it and the profile that it has.”

With such strong ties with media mogul Simon Cowell, Dickson has ironically built a bit of an empire himself – and he even gives every person on the street a chance to get a glimpse of his voice at the push of a button. As well as Peter Dickson’s pocket announcer iPhone app, his website, MY RUDDY VOICE DOT COM! (The emphasis very much representative of the accent he was putting on at this point) allows people to buy pre recorded messages. These can be anything from a Wedding proposal to a text alert, or people can get him to record a personalised script. And Dickson admitted he loves to give this back to the people that recognise his voice so well.

“Yes I do like doing them. That’s always been the case and I love doing them when I can for friends or people I work with. Kylie and Dannii Minogue have got my voice on their voicemail. As do Louis Walsh and all the X Factor contestants in the current series.”

And the fact he is inundated with so many requests means there is always something down right bizarre that sticks in the memory. Dickson – who surprisingly hails from Dundonald near Belfast – picked out his role as a psychotic octopus with multiple accents, during a crazy computer game cameo, as a standout highlight in his career.

“The whole thing required me to emerge from the water in this game. I had to recite this paragraph of several sentences while changing my accent about 15 times – going right around Britain – from Scottish to Newcastle, cockney to West Country, Welsh to Northern Irish to Southern Irish, and then to Italian, Australian and then to Central European and Russian.

“That was all in the space of about 15 to 20 seconds and I then had to drown myself in a glass of water, which was hilarious. We tried doing it in stages and we thought we’d edit it all together but it just didn’t sound right, so I had to actually do the whole thing in one take. I get so many of these things that I can hardly remember half of them, but that was a funniest and most difficult thing I’ve had to do.”

Much like Peter Dickson’s voiceovers, you could endlessly reel off his achievements in what has been an incredible career. And there is no sign of relenting as he’s got a big ambition to repeat his success in the United States – and he even has his sights set on being the voice of the 2012 Olympics in London.

“I would love to go with Simon to America to do the X Factor in USA. I have been talking to him about that and I’m in the frame. Nothings been decided yet but I would love to do that for him. I would also love to do a Disney Pixar movie over in Los Angeles, an animated feature film.”

“The other thing I would really like to do is to be the voice of the 2012 Olympics in London. It would be fantastic to open the Olympic Games on the big day and have my voice heard in millions of countries. That would probably be the ultimate voiceover gig I think, don’t you? If anyone in the Olympic Committee is reading, I would love to be involved in the Olympics!”

Having one of the board members of the Olympic Committee reading this article may well be very wishful thinking. But if he is in luck, you may have found the biggest and best voice in the business, which shows no sign of getting lost.

The Voiceover man doesn’t hear the ruddy end of it if he’s not switched off at home. Click here for the ‘X Husband’!

This article was published in online-only magazine Sabotage Times. Click here for the ST feature.

Raging against the X Factor machine

There is no doubt that the annual X Factor winner’s single has dominated the Christmas charts in recent years, but in 2009’s festive period, Essex couple Jon and Tracy Morter started one of the most remarkable social media campaigns in recent memory. They decided that Simon Cowell’s monopoly needed to be challenged, and successfully tried to get Rage Against the Machine’s rock classic ‘Killing in the Name’ to beat Joe McElderry’s cover of ‘The Climb’ to the top of the festive charts.

Just a week before the number one was announced, I spoke to campaign leader Jon Morter, Kerrang Deputy Editor Daniel Lane and members of the public.