Going radio ga ga at the Recreation Ground

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Fan Nick Judd swaps the terraces for the commentary box for the Robins' Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie at Aldershot... 

"Heartbreaks and promises,
I’ve had more than my share…"

It hasn’t been confirmed whether Robin S - who sang You’ve Got to Show Me Love in 1993 (a good year for the Robins) - is a Swindon fan, but her lyrics certainly sum up my 29-year existence as a Robin.

I’ve seen four promotions and as many relegations. We’ve gone up, down and then down again in one go (and without even kicking a ball) and that’s just on the field!

Swindon fans brace themselves at MK Dons

One game away at Bolton in 1997 was too much for one fan. Sadly, the fan in question also happened to be commentating for the BBC at a game in which Swindon found themselves 7-0 down. Stuart Mac did what any discerning commentator would do; he started crying!

I’ve not followed suit (only tears of joy), but I can now empathise having been lucky enough to do some co-commentating myself.

I was first asked to help BBC Radio Swindon in 2002 for Swindon’s U18s FA Youth Cup tie against Spurs at White Hart Lane. The BBC has always invited guest co-commentators to join Ed Hadwin – Swindon’s answer to Jonathan Ledgard – but the Spurs game was perfect for my debut on the airwaves.

I had more knowledge than most on our youth players and I was on my best behaviour. It was like meeting the girlfriend’s parents for the first time, only without the footsie.

Not quite so easy were games that followed. Bournemouth in 2004 (lost 2-1), MK Dons hungover on New Year’s Day, Stockport 2003 (won 5-2)… I’m yet to swear** but I wonder how many radio bods kick the chair in front in anger, punch the air in delight or mockingly smack the mic over their own heads in despair?

"Just hit the &^%$&£@ thing you useless sack of..."

It’s not just what’s happening on the pitch, either. Sporting a sizeable pair of headphones Avid Merrion would kill for, you have commentary in one ear and the studio presenter talking in the other. Hearing voices is disconcerting when you’re trying to concentrate on what’s going on in front of you. Ask Andy Goram.

Particularly challenging was our recent 7-6 penalty shoot-out drubbing of Aldershot in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. My least favourite player stepped up to take a decisive penalty (a miss would have seen us eliminated).

I’m not lying when I say I had my head in my hands. My trepidation soon made way for elation when he scored a beauty, but I nearly pulled the mic from its socket as I leaped in the air!

This radio lark is harder than it looks and I have a lot of respect for our Ed. It hasn’t altered my opinion on Alan Green’s ‘wretched’ and biased diatribes, but ol’ Stuart Mac has a huge place in my heart…

Alan Green enjoying himself at the football, as usual... 

**I didn’t swear, which is a first while watching Town. I read with interest Dimitar Berbatov’s interview in The Sun, where he claimed he never swears. “This is a matter of good upbringing,” he says.

I challenge Berba to watch Town and say that!