I commentate on three or four live matches a week. You can't just roll up and talk; you need a lot of preparation. Our researchers find most of the facts - my job is to add depth and to provide a relevant, interesting flow. I have to steep myself in the game, from watching highlights to coaching a non-league side. It's an obsession; my wife will vouch for that.
How did you get the job?
In 1973, while pursuing an undistinguished 'career' in non-league football, I was offered an editorial assistant's job at LWT. I turned it down - I wanted to keep playing. Jimmy Hill said I was mad to decline, so I changed my mind and a year later I commentated my first match, Southampton vs. Sheffield Wednesday. I thought: 'At least for one day I'll have been a football commentator.' I joined Sky Sports in '91.
Does reality match the dream?
I'm wide-eyed even now, after 31 years. Going to games is like catching up with an extended family and I'm very proud to be part of it. I don't like listening back to my work - something as small as a cough or loss of a syllable will mean not measuring up to my own standards. But it's thrilling working live - no other broadcasting is so unscripted, and you fly by the seat of your pants every time you're on air.