Rovers Chat talks to BBC Radio Lancashire’s Andy Bayes about his time covering the team and also his thoughts for the season.
The interview was conducted on the 11th August, the day before Rovers played Doncaster Rovers at home.
What are your fondest memories of covering Rovers?
“I think the Worthington Cup Final will always stand out. I was there as a reporter for Century Radio, with Elton Welsby and Gary Owen. It was a great atmosphere with the roof closed, and against all odds, Rovers went on to win the match without players like Craig Short, Garry Flitcroft and Tugay.
The squad around that time was full of great lads, who many of them are still in touch. Very close knit, they brought the club back to the Premier League, and set the ball rolling for the next decade.
Other fond memories are definitely the UEFA Cup games. Travelling abroad for BBC Radio Lancashire to cover the games was a real honour, something I’ll never forget. You only really appreciate times like that, years later. It seems a lifetime ago! The Intertoto Cup games were also fun, Lithuania was a great trip.
The 4-3 victory over Manchester United, was also a great night. The night that really announced that Rovers meant business that season, and David Bentley as a top player.”
What is the best interview you’ve done and why?
“I used to love interviewing Graeme Souness. I was young and inexperienced. He could have eaten me for breakfast. At times, he would pull me up for a daft question or two. He had an aura about him, and could hold court with a room very easily. It’s no surprise to me, just how good he is on television. He was exactly what Rovers needed at the time, and probably left at the right time as well.
I’d also say over the years, that David Dunn, Steven Reid, Stephen Warnock, Matt Jansen, Ryan Nelsen, Garry Flitcoft and Robbie Savage to name a few, have been great to interview. I always wanted to interview Tugay, but it never happened!
In terms of other managers, Gary Bowyer was a pleasure to deal with during his time with the club. I believe the job he did was underestimated.”
What is the worst interview you’ve ever had?
“Very few times over the years, have I thought “he was a nightmare”. Some players or managers clearly don’t want to be interviewed and you can tell. You just try and make the best of it. I always try to be light hearted and hopefully convince a player that I was pretty normal, a similar age to them (that doesn’t work any more!), and wasn’t in the habit of stitching anyone up.”
What are your thoughts on the transfers Mowbray has completed this summer?
“I think it was pretty obvious that the squad had to change. He’s brought in young, hungry players. Some he knows from previous clubs. Smallwood, I think looks a great signing. A leader, and somebody who can drive the team on from midfield. Gladwin and Samuel impressed me at Coventry. Caddis could also be a really useful addition. I’m also looking forward to seeing Antonsson, who had a decent goal scoring record in Sweden.”
How do you think Rovers will do this season?
“I hope they do well. With the squad they have, I don’t see why they won’t. This is a tough division to get out of. I saw a lot of Preston in League One, and they took a while to get back. Sheffield United took six years. Getting out at the first attempt is really important. I think they have the right manager to do so. The fans believe in him, and that’s crucial. I think they have to look at a top six position. Hopefully higher.”
From your time covering the Blue and Whites, who would be in your ultimate 5-a-side team?
“Brad Friedel, Phil Jones, Dunny, Damien Duff and Craig Bellamy.”
Who have you enjoyed working with in the commentary box?
“I’ve been really lucky to work with some great people. Richard Dinnis I still speak to regularly. He’s enjoying retirement. Kevin Gallacher is a good mate, you have to get on when you spend ages in cars together to and from games, and we’ve known each other a long time now. I’ve also worked with Dunny, Chris Sutton, Super Atko, Craig Hignett, Jason Wilcox, Matt Jansen, Howard Gayle, Derek Fazackerley, Tony Parkes and Don McKay. It’s a pleasure to do the job with some great people. If anyone has any feedback or questions on our Rovers coverage, feel free to email me – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rovers Chat would like to thank Andy for taking time out of his schedule to do this interview.
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