I recently had the opportunity to speak to Ian Cheeseman, who commentates on City for Radio Manchester ahead of the launch of his new book 'Best Job in The World: From Football Specials To The Press Box'.
For anyone who has caught his commentary, it is evident how much of a huge City fan he is (describing himself as a City 'idiot'), but it was only after interviewing him did I get a feel for how deep his passion and commitment for the club is. So much so, that he has missed just 30 games - home and away - in 32 years, this at the start of his time with Radio Manchester.
The book is essentially a life story and how he got to the position he is now in covering the team he loves, telling the story of his lifetime as a City fan to covering the side he loves. Far from being simply an autobiography though it encomposses elements of the job and being a fan, his life and times on the road covering City (and football) and some of the more unusual aspects and incidents he has encountered - all woven into a diary of the 2008/09 season, a season interesting enough in itself.
[Danny Pugsley] You are a lifelong blue. How did you end up supporting City?
[Ian Cheeseman] I suppose, like most supporters, I can't ever remember not supporting City. There were two people who probably had an influence, without ever realising. My next door neighbour and pal Kevan Barton was a very enthusiastic City fan, like me and I had an Uncle Bernard was a United fan, so there was plenty of banter between us. I lived in Radcliffe, half-way between Bury and Bolton, and my Dad w
You can over analyse these things, but I always felt City, as a club, was friendlier, didn’t take itself as seriously, lacked the arrogance of United and that the fans were m
[DP] What are you’re greatest mem
[IC] I suppose the reality is that there have been m
[DP] Who has been your favourite player throughout your time watching City?
[IC] Without doubt it is Colin Bell. As a young boy I admired all his attributes as a player, but also his shyness and his sense of fair play and honour. Most people will know that I helped Colin write his autobiography a couple of years ago, so I’ve become good friends with Colin, and he’s everything I thought he would be – loyal, modest and a true gentleman. There have been many others too, most of them tend to be the entertainers, currently it’s Robinho.
[DP] You are the voice of City on Radio Manchester, but how long have you been covering City?
[IC] I used to commentate on City’s club video, as a volunteer, and f
[DP] How did you get into the business, and what was your journey to get where you are know?
[IC] As I’ve explained, I was a fan – steward on the football specials – and did lots of voluntary stuff f
[DP] Who is a favourite interview of yours? I’d imagine Joey Barton was always good copy?!
[IC] Certainly the Joey Barton “rant” at
[DP] Onto the book, in a nutshell can you provide an overview of what we can expect from it?
[IC] It’s hard to explain briefly because it’s a bit “different”. People ask me what I do when I’m not covering City, and lots of questions about how I got into sp
[DP] What gave you the idea
[IC] I’ve always felt that my route into broadcasting is different to most people’s. My obsession with City has restricted my opp
[DP] 2008/09 was a hell of a season to cover and base the book upon. Looking back, what were the best experiences you have from writing the book?
[IC] I’ve written about lots of things that didn’t happen last season, but you’re right, it was a fascinating season to use as the template f
[DP] Any particular anecdotes or disasters that were encountered?
One of the incidents made me decide to write the book, as I considered if it was the right thing, came as I returned from Scunth
[DP] The recent spending spree seems to have inflated hopes of a top four finish again. What do you think the realistic prospects are f
[IC] In view of the massive investment in players, I think City should finish in the top four and reach either the League Cup
[IC] I agree, but it’s not easy persuading players to join the club at the start of this process. Having said that, I’ve been very disappointed to see Kaka move on this summer, after we were told he wouldn’t join City because his heart was with Milan – and he joined Madrid f
[DP] What are your impressions of the owners? The changes since they took over appear to be all positive and my thoughts are that they have really sought to engage fans back to the club.
[IC] I’ve never met the owners,
[DP] What are your thoughts of Mark Hughes? You are probably closer to him than most and I find it interesting how much he still splits the supp
[IC] It wouldn’t be right f
[DP] What would be your preference – a top four finish
[IC] I’d prefer to lift a trophy. I don’t like the mentality that has crept into football that finishing high in the league is m
[DP] Finally, can you give me your all-time City XI?
[IC] This is based on those I’ve seen play – not by reputation – and I have to say it’s very difficult. Joe C
Many thanks to Ian for his time, and the book is now available at the City store or to order online, priced £9.99.