The Pompey Live Obituary

By James Robbins

Regardless of your view on the B Team Boycott Trophy, we should be reflecting on George Hirst finally hitting the back of the net, Gassan Ahadame giving my 18/1 League One top goalscorer betting slip a glimmer of hope or Pompey’s progression to the next stage of the competition.

But no, it was overshadowed by the departure of Ryan Stillwell from Pompey Live and from where I’m sitting that also looks to be the final nail in the Pompey Live coffin.

It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see what a once fiercely loyal but opinionated home of passionate Pompey debate is going to be turned into a radio cheerleader for the club.

Obviously this is slightly more personal for me as one of the Express FM graduates who was then able to form a career in radio because of it.

And while I didn’t do too bad in radio, if this was a league table, I would be in the relegation zone compared with some of my predecessors and successors.

The reason why Express has flooded the industry with talent is simply because of the time and effort which went into producing every show as if it were on talkSPORT or Five Live.

From memory Dan Windle cutting Christmas Days short to make sure the script was absolutely perfect for a League Two match on Boxing Day, Dave ‘Bunky’ Bowers staying behind for at least an hour every day after work to research the opposition and Martin ‘Scoop’ Hopkins providing us with new ideas for features.

This has continued with the current team – Ryan’s expert analysis and passionate insight was always worth listening to and Liam Howes, who was never shy to look at things through blue-tinted glasses, also received his marching orders.

Their coverage for many of us was the soundtrack to Saturday afternoons in lockdown or Tuesday night away games.

Not that I claim to be Mystic Mac, but this is an excerpt from an article I wrote earlier in the season for PNN about the media coverage.

However with the ‘in-house’ coverage, there is another issue – If the club is controlling the narrative, how objective can the analysis be?

Will pundits be able to speak their minds and provide us an accurate account of the match or will they be blinkered to spin the truth.

There is absolutely no way a club employee can put their own employment at risk by calling out things which are wrong.

That independent voice of authority is just so important.

If the rumours are true, in what is seemingly one of the world’s worst kept secrets, is a former Express FM drivetime host has been signed by the club alongside a player from the Pompey Women’s team.

Obviously I wish them the best of luck as through no fault of their own they are being thrown into the lions den with an audience if social media is to be believed which has already switched the dial. 

However, the bit which grates me is the programming is reportedly going to be scripted and pre-approved.

How on earth is this being allowed to happen? What are they supposed to say if we have a repeat of the Ipswich game ‘well be happy we didn’t concede nine!’ 

Anna Mitchell made no secret of the fact at the Tony Goodall Fan’s Conference this was the direction of travel – On a side note, can someone tell me is Anna Mitchell even a real person or a pseudonym for whenever bad news is about to drop and the club need a talking head?

The amount of times I hear Anna Mitchell is or was responsible for decisions is outstanding considering not many of us have a clue who Anna is? Mark Catlin and Andrew Cullen have their flaws but at least they put their head above the parapet from time-to-time.

There are many clubs where the happy clappy approach would work, this most definitely is not one. 

Pompey Live was a reflection of the city, passionate and defiant to its core but never afraid to be honest even when it can be tough to listen to.

Ryan’s rant following the Ipswich game was a great example of this.

Someone from the club needs to provide us with a proper explanation as to why this restructure is happening mid-season.

It’s unclear just how much involvement the Torante have had in this, but, my only knowledge of the American sports broadcasting scene is the NFL where pundits have a certain degree of wiggle room to critisise things which they see as wrong.

However it wouldn’t shock me if they see a commercial opportunity with this new approach.

It is just depressing to see it has come at the expense of a local radio broadcast which for many of us has been the sound of a Pompey and paved the way for so many careers in radio.

Farewell, Pompey Live. You will be missed.

One thought on “The Pompey Live Obituary

  1. This is totally out of order. I would like to know who had the power at pompey to go to Express radio. They don’t like it because they say it as it is especially Ryan who I personally love listening to he knows his football for sure. Express pompey live will never be the same again.

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