Press Watch: Rest In Peace…

Welcome to Press Watch by Brendan Hobbs, TheWashbag’s sideways glance at all things Town related in the media. If you see anything remotely concerning Swindon Town in the worlds media get in contact with me via Twitter @mrbraindown

Well, I never thought it would come to this, I’ve had to take some drastic action over the past few weeks in an attempt to revive this flagging article series. Ever since Paolo’s departure my poor, battered Press Watch column has become a shadow of its former self. I would catch it shuffling around the house with a blank expression, occasionally it would foul itself and not seem to care, sometimes it endured exhausting bouts of self-harm by carving ‘PDC’ into its broken body.

I explained that those initials are not welcome in this house anymore; that they aren’t usable in polite society. It’s tear-filled eyes regarded me balefully, it craved symbolic initials – it needed a snappy term of abbreviation to heal its open wounds, it looked away in disgust and started to shake uncontrollably.

I explained that I will now refer to it as PW, it can have its own snazzy set of initials, a lovable nickname that only I can use (and also to act as a clever device to dig myself out of all this sex-less ‘it’ nonsense which almost renders this column unreadable.)

Like some terrible, ruinous drug PW has suffered tremendously with PDC withdrawal symptoms. It would go out for days on end and not return, only for me to find it housed up in a shop doorway clothed in dirty rags, with a smaller, sadder looking column curled up next to it tied up with a piece of string as a lead.

It would beg and plead with passers-by just for a glimpse of some new PDC related media articles, video clips or insane post-match rants. It would beg passing youths to Bluetooth over any stored PDC interviews or saved clips of his touchline antics.

I took him to the doctor, who prescribed two treatments. The first was to watch this half-time meltdown video clip four times a day. (Not safe for work unless you’re wearing headphones)

And to ease the ranting post-match interview withdrawals it was to watch this one as often as is necessary. (Best press conference entrance ever)

It didn’t work, PW kept to the medicine initially but it wasn’t strong enough to ease the cravings, eventually I caught it sneaking into unauthorised internet cafes to watch this illegal clip:

I had to take action; I brought it home and dumped it in my spare room. I plastered the walls with posters of banal managers like Ken Beamish, Andy King, Paul Hart and Maurice Malpas and nailed the door shut. PW was going to have to sweat it out, go PDC cold-turkey or should that be cold-prosciutto?

The screaming was relentless; I had to sleep with a pillow over my ears. When it eventually stopped I knew we were over the worst, I entered the room which looked like a Hiroshima hotel room circa 6th August 1945.  I confirmed with the sorry wretch that it had just seen an unconvincing special effect of a baby crawling on the ceiling and I knew that the ordeal was finally over.

We sat down and reviewed what the next steps would be, what direction could the column go in during these bleak post PDC days. I explained that the column could still exist beyond flamboyant Italian centric themes and could stand up on its own two feet, all it required was solid Swindon related news.

Tentatively we started our internet search, just like we always did in the good ol’ days, using our standard ‘starter-for-ten’ search, so imagine my horror when Google returned this…

Press Watch - Google mock up

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I feared a relapse, but quickly adjusted my search terms, this time incorporating some of Google’s own search operators and syntax. Luckily this time we had some correct results.

Press Watch - Google mock up - namby pamby

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Still not much to report though, so instead I toured the individual national newspaper websites which quickly led to another face-palming moment courtesy of The Mirror:

Press Watch - Daily Mirror

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Feeling PW’s strength dwindling, I thought I’d return to some of the old ‘local-rag’ favourites to see if they could help with the rehabilitation. So inactive has the column been since the ‘great departure’ that there have been multiple matches to cover, so I dipped into the Coventry Post as they gave us such great copy last time, I mean who could forget their marvellous Tommy Miller photo love-in?

Press Watch 18.10.12 Tommy Miller

No such luck this time, the photographer seems to have forgotten all about Tommy’s rugged charm and moved onto a younger, fresher target in the shape of Nathan Thompson.

The uncompromising right-back dominates the photo shoot, leaving match-winner Darren Ward trailing in his wake.

PW’s strength was ebbing, eventually we finished with the local paper websites, normally this was the cue to scan the Italian websites for extra Swindon news – Corriere Dello Sport and Tuttosport. PW’s mouse lingered briefly over the bookmarked entries but instead it flicked over to close the browser. Closure.

With the research finished I really could tell that PW’s heart was still not in it, with its energy levels dropping rapidly the urge to live was definitely lilting away.

From nowhere, inspiration hit me – my Twitter favourites! Surely in there would be some long lost forgotten gem of Swindon related news? And amazingly there was. Step forward Dave and Jon Perrett (@codenamehardhat and @Tractorpants) because you two might have just saved the life of our beloved column.

Like being heart-thumped with a defibrillator, immediately PW’s spirit soared as this cracker was unfurled. If you’re at home or work reading this, fix yourself a drink, sit back and seriously savour this fantastic story.

Press Watch - Darren Bullock

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This got me thinking about Mr Bullock, about his debut against Birmingham City in which he scored, it was the same game that featured a truly fantastic strike from Marlon Broomes, where is he now? Where is everyone else on that featured on that team sheet now?

PW was bouncing with joy, a new, non-PDC outlet to explore and maybe the basis of a new column: “Where Are They Now?”

Press Watch - Swindon v Brum

Is it a sign of getting old or just another indication of how tragic life can be when two members of the starting 22 are sadly no longer with us? Frederic Darras passed away in October 2010 from a heart attack and goal scorer on the day Gary Ablett ‘left the field of play’ on January 2012 after failing in his battle with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Marlon Broomes career saw him turn out for a fair few sides, but never really found a proper home, with a 69 appearance spell at Preston being his longest term of service.

Donald ‘Scott’ Leitch had a spell as manager of Ross County before becoming a regular second in command for Mark McGhee.

Mark Seagraves last involvement in football was as a scout for Ipswich Town, a post he left recently when Mick McCarthy rolled into town.

We see enough of Ian Culverhouse on MOTD to know what he does for a living.

We see enough of Kevin Watson on Sky Sports to know what he does for a living

Wayne Allison had a brief caretaker spell as the manager of doomed Chester City and is now a coach with Bradford City.

Steve Cowe drifted around the non-leagues and eventually became a plasterer

Oh, and Wayne O’Sullivan? He’s the current manager of the Newcastle United Jets womans team in the Australian W-League.

This got me thinking, about other players, where is Craig Taylor? Where is Philippe Cuervo? Where is Chris Hay, our most accomplished finisher in pre-Parkin times?

Well, perhaps that’s for a future column…

After the initial wave of enthusiasm, PW slumped back into depression, this new, exciting “Where Are They Now?” feature really doesn’t seem to have the legs to support a whole new column, perhaps a one-off special now and again maybe.

I nipped to the loo and came back to find PW watching this and I knew then that all my efforts have been for nothing. I shook my head in disappointment as I realised what I had to do now.

Without a word I bundled PW into the boot of my car and went off to the garage to fetch my crossbow, a shovel and a bag of lime.

So by the time you’re reading this, Press ‘PW’ Watch  is busy ‘rehabilitating’ in a shallow grave in my local woodland – trust me, it’s better this way, he’s at peace now.

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