Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. In our latest feature, Billy Mulley sits down with Tottenham Hotspur Correspondent for Football.London, Alasdair Gold to talk about his career so far.
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
My name is Alasdair Gold and I am the Tottenham Hotspur correspondent for Football.London, a role I have been in for nearly four years now.
I started off my career as a senior news reporter, where Sport only accounted for a light segment of my work. I covered crime, inquests and also more upbeat and joyful stories, and I think that these experiences helped me become more of an objective journalist. I then became a sports reporter at the Hertfordshire Mercury and after a few years I progressed to editorial role. In 2013, I became the Group Sports Editor at Trinity Mirror (Reach PLC), which spanned across a number of local newspapers.
What do you do in your current role?
As the Tottenham Correspondent for Football.London, I cover all things Spurs, whether that be press conferences, transfer news, post-match interviews, pre-match planning. There are certainly a lot of aspects to cover, but it keeps me on my toes and I like it that way.
What does a normal week look like for you?
Spur are such a busy side, and that subsequently means, I am typically busy. At the moment, there are normally two matches every week, so that just adds to the chaos.
On Monday’s, I usually finish off any post-match stuff from the weekend. Tuesday’s schedule depends on when the mid-week game is. I will have a day-off if Tottenham are playing in the Europa League on the Thursday, whereas if it is a Wednesday night game, the press conference will be on that Tuesday.
Even before these strange times I was hardly even in my office. I prefer not being stuck in an office, despite being located in central London.
At Football.London I guess there is increased emphasis on game-days. So they are typically a lot of work. I will produce a live match blog, player ratings and pick up on other aspects of the game during the 90 minutes. Then after the games I will attend the press conference, where I will once again produce a live blog.
How has Covid-19 impacted your professional life?
Since football has returned, we have been extremely busy, but that has been glorious after no football for such a long time.
When there was no football, there was a focus on us journalists to become more creative and delve deeper than the usual stories we produced. I tracked down a lot of former players during the first Lockdown, and it was not necessarily the big names I went after. I wanted to try and find the interesting stories that would cast fans minds back to players that our readers may have completely forgotten about.
For Spurs more than anyone, a period of rest was welcomed. We had so many players out injured that it was somewhat of a blessing.
When you first started in the industry, what was the end goal?
I remember what I was younger, the nationals were always the dream. However, I do not think that these national papers are at the peak anymore. For more definitive publications like us and the Athletic, we can target fans of our clubs, whereas only a select few will be interested in the Tottenham stories in national newspapers.
I think I always envisaged a full career in print, but as the web continues to takeover, I knew I needed to adapt. Can you imagine our Grandkids picking up the paper one day? I hope that we do not lose these papers anytime soon, but that is how it is looking.
What is your best memory or best place your career has taken you?
It will have to be that night in Amsterdam. I don’t think I fully appreciated it all in the moment, but no way was that meant to happen. Lucas Moura was incredible and despite not going on to win the thing, it still was just a surreal moment that I had the pleasure of witnessing.
The bad side to it all was that the unhappy Ajax fans started to flood the press box with their chucked beers, doing damage to my Laptop.
The pre-season tours are also an unbelievable experience. To be able visit places like Shanghai, Singapore and various places in America is a real privilege.
Is it difficult to write about the team you love?
Honestly, I thought it was going to be impossible, but because I spent most of my early years as a reporter in the lower leagues, I knew how to behave shall I say, in the press box.
I feel like I am rather detached from it all now. Even when I watch a Spurs game from my front room, I cannot stop being analytical.
Have you or would you ever want to delve into other formats within journalism?
My role involves a lot of video work, but when I first joined that was my idea of hell. I am now doing three or four videos a week using live video and I have my own YouTube channel. When I first started out that would be the worst thing on my mind.
We also used to produce podcasts but that was put on hold for a while. I have also done little bits for radio although, I really should be doing more.
In today’s world, you have to diversify and you need an online presence. It helps to draw us closer to our audience, which is vital in modern day journalism.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Be enthusiastic, have endeavour, but ultimately write, write, write. Put yourself forward for lots of voluntary work and placement opportunities and it is really like any industry where you need the experience and to show you are willing in order to get the job.
You can follow Alasdair Gold on Twitter here.