By Nathan Bees
I had just got in on Monday evening when I found out that Rovers’ game at Crawley Town had been selected for live coverage on BT Sport and put back a day to Wednesday.
Initially I thought this was good news. The extra income we make from being on TV will be gratefully received and it means that every Gashead has a chance of watching the game.
I then realised the change in date meant it clashed with my shift at work and so I desperately rung my work mates in the hope of finding cover. It wasn’t looking good for a while so my original delight at hearing the news quickly turned to frustration and disappointment.
Fortunately early the next morning I was able to swap my shift and all seemed rosy again. I went to Crawley in our only away league meeting with them back in 2011 when we lost 4-1, making it a massively disappointing trip home.
It hasn’t put me off heading back to Sussex though and I’m quietly confident that we can pull off a result and knock the Red Devils out of the FA Cup.
My sister asked me if she’d be able to see me on TV during the game and I explained that she probably would when the ball was down near the away end. It’s obviously not going to be a lot but it did get me thinking… how many other times had I been on the telly properly?
The first time I can remember was during our game with AFC Totton a couple of years ago. The ITV cameras zoomed in on my mate and I holding up a sign with a cartoon picture of ‘Where’s Wally?’. We came up with the idea of having a sign on the coach down to the game and joked that it would make it on TV, not actually believing that it would.
However, I raised it aloft during the first half and the cameras were immediately drawn to it (although I like to tell everyone that they would have focused on me if I had a sign or not!) and kept it in shot for a good 5 seconds.
I had no idea about it until my phone went absolutely crazy with incoming calls and texts from people who were eating their Sunday lunch and saw me come into focus on their TV! I put the game on record and took great pleasure in re-watching it when I got back. The fact Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend began analysing the sign made my day.
That hasn’t been the only time I have been on TV. There is another occasion that most certainly tops the list. I featured on Sky Sports quiz show ‘Take It Like A Fan’ when they visited the Mem in March 2012 for our game with AFC Wimbledon - it was absolutely surreal but by far one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
I applied to be on the show the previous Thursday evening and the application form said that successful applicants would be told by Friday lunchtime that they were going to be on the show.
Friday afternoon came around and I assumed I hadn’t been chosen but at 6pm I was rung by a producer who told me to get to the Mem by 10am the next morning because they wanted me on the show!
I met Fenners (of Soccer AM fame and now host of Fantasy Football Club) and Bianca Gacoigne and got to see how a TV show was filmed and put together.
As an aspiring journalist with a big interest in TV and radio I was in my element and I knew I had a chance to display some confidence in front of the cameras when it was my turn to tackle the ‘Where On Earth?’ round.
For a laugh I told Fenners that I was after his job and we had a bit of banter about it as we prepared to film. He told me not to get my hopes up but he can’t say I didn’t warn him!
There was no real form of preparation before filming and there was no script in which to follow. The only thing I was told was that if I decided to take the double or quits decider at the end of the round I should delay my answer for dramatic effect, even if I knew it.
Other than that everything that was said on screen was completely spontaneous. If you showed behind-the-scenes that you were game for a laugh and happy to have some banter then they lent you more screen time when the cameras were rolling.
The all-round experience was superb and if I didn’t win much money I wouldn’t have minded much. It’s not very often you get to fulfil a dream and being on TV was one of mine so I would have been happy regardless of what happened.
Admittedly I would have been disappointed with myself if I walked away with a pitiful amount but I had confidence that I would do myself justice - and Fenners said I needed to do well having mentioned I had an ‘encyclopaedic knowledge’ of football in my application form.
Happily I recorded the highest score of all time in that round of ‘Take It Like A Fan’ having correctly identified the nationality of 12 footballers in 60 seconds. For each correct answer I won £10. My mind went blank on a couple of occasions halfway through but overall I flew through it and was dubbed the cleverest contestant they had after recording. It was a proud moment.
Having maintained that I wouldn’t do double or quits during the morning I shocked myself by saying I would do it when asked in front of the camera. I held my breath as they revealed the identity of the final footballer and hoped for the best.
Akos Buzsaky was shown and there was an eerie silence as I adhered to the instructions I had earlier been given about delaying my answer. Everyone thought I didn’t know where he was from… but I did.
He was Hungarian and after getting it right both presenters gave me a high-five before handing me the £240 I won.
Completely unexpectedly they asked me to look into the camera and end the round giving the stick I gave Fenners about wanting his job and all was going well until I forgot the name of the game! It wasn’t the smoothest piece of television you’ve ever seen but it provided some laughs.
That, Gasheads, was my 60 seconds of fame. I’m sure some of you have had bigger experiences but I’m happy with it.
Hopefully Rovers will take their time to shine on Wednesday evening and book a date with Birmingham City in the New Year. That would be some way to kick off 2014, wouldn’t it?
I’m off to Morecambe tomorrow morning, I have no idea why…! Have a good weekend, one and all.