Tuesday, 16 October 2012

*Exclusive* - Interview with Melissa Reddy.

Bit of a change of speed from me this morning, today is the first in a series about interesting people I have met along my Twitter journey. Twitter has been a very important part in my life in the last few years, it has helped me make some very good friends and some very good contacts.

First in the series is Melissa Reddy, a Liverpool fan who is very prevalent in the South African football media, but enough about my introduction and let Melissa tell you all about herself.

When she’s not busy tweeting f#$% as Liverpool concede another goal due to a defensive brain fart, Melissa Reddy spends her time putting together Africa’s biggest sport magazine – KICK OFF. An expert on South African football and well versed in the European game, her knowledge dvelves all the way down to the builders and painters who ply their trade in England’s non-league. The 26-year-old doesn’t just tweet, read, write, watch and analyse the game, she plays a bit as well. Her left foot is as bad as David Beckham’s vocabulary, but she has her did-she-just-score-that? moments. You can also catch her on SuperSport (South Africa’s equivalent to Sky) or on radio stations 5fm and Metro FM. Or just give her grief about Liverpool by tweeting @1stLadyOfFooty

1.     How did you become involved in Soccer / Football ?
Football has forever been a part of my make-up. I was watching John Barnes in those super tight Red shorts when I was expected to be playing dress-up with Barbie. Professionally, I entered sport reporting in 2007 with TEAMtalk Media, which was Sky Sports’ South African office. I worked across all their divisions (cricket F1 et al.), but once I started working with the football department, they wanted me on their team exclusively.  It was an online environment, where I shifted across ITV, Sky Sports and Teamtalk.com. I used to also work on Blue Square Football, but most of my time was spent on the new South African website we had launched. After four years, in which I progressed from a journalist to head of the football department, I joined KICK OFF. I’m currently the Deputy Editor of Africa’s biggest sport magazine – and that puts a massive smile on my face. I am also an analyst on SuperSport, as well as on our most popular radio stations here in South Africa – 5fm and Metro FM.

2.     When did you decide and what was the key moment in your choice to become involved with the media side of the game?
While I was at university, I did an internship at Summit TV, which is a business channel. While there, all the seasoned journalists used to tell me I should dabble in sport reporting. In fact, wherever I worked, I received the same feedback – writing has always been a strength of mine and my passion for sport was undeniable. So in 2007, I applied for the job at TEAMtalk Media, and got it immediately. I then moved to Cape Town and my life basically centered on becoming the best I could in this field.

3.     Football has always had the stigma of being a "Man's Game" attached to it, have you found any instance where sexism still rears its ugly head on your journey?
We may need a whole new dossier on this subject alone actually. Every exclusive interview I do is obviously only secured in a player’s bedroom, and not because I don’t spend my time asking lifeless questions like ‘how is the mood in the camp?’  I’m on TV and radio because I’m an attractive female, not because everyone that I’ve worked closely with in the industry is well aware of my knowledge. It’s stupid, sickening and shocking in 2012, but it’s still there. And not just for me – I’ve seen the ‘get back in the kitchen’ tweets sent to Kay Murray as well. This is someone who’s hosted the Ballon d’Or, and who will ace it again this year. If you’re good to look at, and don’t put forward your opinions or rock the boat, it’s all good. But if you’re brilliant at what you do, and people know it, you become a threat. Enter sexism.

4.     We can't let this interview carry on without talking about your beloved Liverpool FC, are you pleased with Brendan Rogers' start? Is there anything he could do better? And do you think FSG are providing the necessary support for the manager?
Liverpool Football Club: the longest relationship I’ve ever been in, and an abusive one often enough too. There are plenty of positives from Brendan Rodgers’ tenure thus far – we’re creating a clear playing identity, youngsters are getting the chance to show they belong in the first team, and the manager’s got a great football brain as well as the kind of humility that is stitched in the club’s fabric. Results haven’t always matched performance yet (see Manchester United) and Gervinho’s forehead is bigger than our strike force, but it’s a work in progress.  There’s always things that can be done better, and Rodgers will probably be the first to admit that. Our dealings in the transfer market were largely lacklustre, which is a direct result of last season’s wastage. To his credit though, BR hasn’t sulked – he threw a challenge to Raheem Sterling, Wisdom and Suso, who’ve all accepted with aplomb. FSG and BR share the same belief – Liverpool’s long-term health is more important than immediate gain. It’s hard to argue with that, but it’s also evident that the current squad lacks quality – a little investment in January will go a long way.

5.     What would constitute a good season for Liverpool in your eyes?
This is one of those head-versus-heart and reality-versus-fantasy question. Honestly, if we’re knocking around seventh, *Looks for a bottle of something stiff to gulp down*

6.     Who should we look out coming through the ranks at Anfield?
We’ve seen Sterling, Wisdom and Suso get a regular run out, but for now also keep an eye on Conor Coady, who is also one of England’s brightest young talents. He operates as a centre-back, but also turns out in the middle of the park. We should also see more of young striker Adam Morgan, due to a combination of our forward shortage and his brilliance through the ranks.

7.     And finally, many thousands of people on Twitter follow your account @1stLadyOfFooty, If you are indeed the First Lady, who would you choose to be your president?
The President of Footballdom has to be Diego Maradona. He’d walk through the negotiations with other ‘countries,’ or just chip them, perhaps even blow cigar smoke in their faces … And his sound bites would make those of Zlatan and Super Mario seem as though they were scripted for Teletubbies. Ah, it also means Sergio Aguero would visit the White House often. That’s a nice bonus, eh?

I want to thank Melissa for taking the time out to answer my questions and you can find her on Twitter at @1stLadyofFooty.

1 comment:

  1. My favourite, soccer lady, just like Carol Tshabala,Lebo Mabena, i admire you guys!

    Alfred Masokola, Chief Editor, Free Kick Magazine, Botswana