It’s a year since I was sacked by OSN. The network lost the rights to screen the English Premier League, and when a new boss came in we knew the writing was on the wall. In fairness, if I’d been in charge I’d have sacked us too, although looking back our show was still better than anything else on the box.
With no money, a wife, five kids and school fees to pay, I suddenly had to shuffle my feet double-quick time. There’s no getting away from it: it’s been a tough year. I chucked a couple of radio ideas to Coast 103.2FM, where the innovative boss, Mohammed Murad, gave me great confidence and told me to run with them and see where they ended up. A season on, the Friday Footy Show is still going strong, with great guests, but it was the Soccer Saturday show that caused the real doubt and the real problems.
We broadcast live from the al-fresco Horizon Lounge at the Habtoor Grand, but in freezing January (freezing by Dubai standards, at least) only a couple of rogue polar bears and three penguins who had escaped from Ski Dubai were there to watch us. It’s at this point I have to say a massive thank you to my pals Derek Whyte and Carlton Palmer, as well as various hardcore guests such as Gillingham chairman Paul Scally and Man United legend Lee Sharpe. Week in, week out they’ve been there, wrapped in 43 sweaters and banging out scorelines whatever the weather. Now the temperature has risen the place is heaving, the audience is rocking and the live show is buzzing, with the banter flying thick and fast.
My point, I suppose, is that I’ve been so lucky to earn a living doing something I really enjoy – and make no mistake, I really enjoy Soccer Saturday. Next up is Euro 2012, which kicks off on Friday June 8 – come on down and see all the action for yourself.
Hear Rob’s radio shows on Coast 103.2FM every Friday 11am-2pm, and every Saturday 6pm-9pm live from the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5000).
And another thing… The unemployed might look at the money and job that former Barça manager Pep Guardiola has just given up, and ask if he’s lost his mind. While he’s cited the immense pressure as a reason for leaving, surely trying to support a family with no job or money is real pressure? Yet I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: I don’t think people really understand just what a strain football management is. Be it Barnet or Barça, it’s 24/7, and when the world’s media is hanging on your every word, the pressure gauge is cranked up even further. I don’t blame Pep, who seems like a thoroughly decent bloke. I wish him a well-earned break.