I promised you I'd find you something special to kick off the new series of Talking Tottenham. I think you will agree that I've succeeded. A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to secure a few minutes of Daniel Wynne’s time.
Daniel a passionate lifelong Spurs fan is of course the voice of Spurs TV match day commentaries. Supplying a welcome connection to the club for all of us especially those far from ‘The Lane.’ He agreed to answer some questions about his role at Tottenham and his love of the club shone through.
I started by asking him how and when he became a Tottenham fan.
My route to White Hart Lane was a simple one! My dad was a season ticket holder for many years and had the pleasure of watching the great sides of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. He bought me my first season ticket in 1975 just before I turned 5 years of age. I was young and impressionable, and it is fair to say I fell in love with it all. The matchday experience, the stadium, the Club itself……all of it. I was hooked from day one and I have had a season ticket every year since (I still have mine even though I have worked on a matchday at Spurs for the last 14 seasons.) I still get that same buzz today, at the age of 44. I love my involvement, I love matchday at WHL (and the away games obviously) and I love being associated with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. It has, and continues to be, a massive part of my life.
What are earliest memories of those days and who have been your heroes?
I remember my seat in Block J of the old West Stand (before the current West Stand opened in 1982) and as a young boy, I recall walking down the stairs into my seat, half expecting to fall out of the stand (I know, I know!! I was young, right?!!) I recall the old steps leading up to the stand and looking back now at old photos, it makes me proud that I remember those famous old steps.
As for early heroes. I was lucky enough to see Glenn Hoddle for all of his career. From the mid 70s I have to mention Alfie Conn for his flamboyant approach. I used to like Jimmy Holmes too! Since then, there have been many fantastic players that have caught my eye, far too many to mention now, but I have to single out the likes of Ossie Ardiles, Gary Mabbutt, Ledley King to name but 3. Spurs men through and through and they are all still involved at the Club in one capacity or another (and they are all very nice people too!)
Away from the TV gantry what do you do in the ‘real world’ in-between games and how did you become involved with Spurs TV?
I have a day job, in the City of London, working in Financial Services! A far cry from sitting on the gantry at White Hart Lane! I have the flexibility to always be available for our games, whether home, away or in Europe.
I started out doing the Sky TV Fanzone commentary and I did the first 6 or 7 Spurs games and was asked to cover the first few England games. At the time, Sky ran the Spurs web site through its Planet Football vehicle and they were looking for a web commentator.
A few months later I was put on to the TV side, and when the season kicks off in August, it will be my 15th season doing Spurs TV.
What sort of preparation is required before you commentate on a game?
The preparation for each game is key. It is a little more intense and detailed for a game against a European side that we don’t play too often as I don’t have a working knowledge of their Club or their players but each game would involve a few hours prep, whether it is against Arsenal or Asteras!
We know some players are superstitious, do you have any superstitions or match day rituals?
Ha ha! Great question. The football world is full of superstitious people. On a match day, I like to arrive at the ground early, to make sure everything is ok with my commentary position. The only thing I do for each game, so therefore a kind of superstition, is to read through my opening lines a few times in the 20 mins leading up to the players appearing out of the tunnel. It is the only part that can be prepared, and it is the 30 seconds or so as the players emerge from the tunnel and then the line ups. I just think that if the opening few seconds go well, it sets me up for a good commentary. At least, that’s the theory!!!
What can we expect from Spurs TV this season? Is it more of the same or can we look forward to a few more special programmes similar to the League Cup final?
One thing you can expect from Spurs TV is great coverage from every area of the Club. On top of that, I know the production team are keen to develop new and exciting features. We saw some great content last season such as the League Cup Final live show presented by Ledley and one or two light hearted features involving players, like the Trolley Dash at Xmas time. There really is something for everyone and it is so exciting to be part of that team. 2015-16 will be a good year.
Are you able to enjoy watching Spurs when you’re working or are you too occupied?
I’m a Spurs fan and I hope that comes over in my commentaries. I have to be respectful of the opposition and keep things professional but the passion does come to the fore at key times. Looking back at last season, I think that was evident when we beat Chelsea and Arsenal and of course when we got that late goal at Bramall Lane to secure our passage to the Capital One Cup Final.
Do I enjoy watching Spurs? Of course! I know I am in a privileged position and I appreciate every second of it so enjoying the job comes naturally.
Following on from that whilst you have professional detachment do you sometimes find the fan emerging and catch yourself thinking “Why is he making that change or something similar?”
My private thoughts have to remain private. I have a job to do during the game, representing the Club and I will always try and be as professional as I can be. One thing is for sure, the manager at the time knows the players far better than we do and I would say 99.99% of the time, even a decision which, from the outside may appear a little strange, is usually made for a very good reason.
Daniel, you are also involved with the Tribute Trust, can you tell us a little about your role?
The Tottenham Tribute Trust is a registered charity in the UK which was set up in 2002 to help the former players of our great Club who find themselves in various forms of difficulty later in life. The TTT is run independently of THFC but it goes without saying that THFC are incredibly helpful and supportive. I was asked to be a Trustee when it was set up and I am honoured to help our former players. THFC are one of very, very few Clubs to have such a charity and it really goes a long way to show the caring side of the Club and the family feel it has. We are the Tottenham family irrespective of age and geographic location. More information can be found at tottenhamtt.org or on twitter at @tributetrust
Turning back to Spurs TV, what have been your best moments ?
There are a few games that stand out! The game in Nov 2006 when we ended our long run against Chelsea without a win was one. At the final whistle, I was very, very happy! I also have to mention the League cup semi final wins v Chelsea and Arsenal. They were amazing nights at WHL when the gantry was rocking as a result of all 4 stands being up, jumping, clapping etc.
The Champions League 3-1 win v Inter Milan has to be included too. When Rafael Van der Vaart put us 1-0 up Inter were defending champions at the time and in wrapping up that opening goal I remember saying with a mixture of surprise and elation “and Spurs lead the European Champions!”
Finally our readers (a strange crowd) will want to know have there been any great gaffs or foot in mouth moments that you can bear to share with us?
Thankfully there haven’t been too many mistakes! When there has been a rare mistake (!!) the magic of the Spurs TV Editors can usually put it right. They have been my best friends at times!!
The hardest incident I ever had to cover was when Fabrice Muamba collapsed. That was just awful.
This interview took place just days before the clubs announcements about the new stadium and the NFL link up. I caught up with Daniel again and asked if he wanted to comment on the new plans, not knowing he was actually at Heathrow about to board a flight and he still found time to send us his thoughts.
I am really excited about the NFL link up. Not only will it bring the drama of that sport to White Hart Lane but it puts our club on the map globally and shows the ambition that our owners have. These are exciting times and don’t the plans for the new stadium look amazing? I can’t wait.
Before we close do you have any thoughts on the approaching season you like to share with us?
I think there is plenty to be positive about for next season. The spine of the team is young. In fact, we had the youngest average of any Club in the Premier League last season. We have beaten some of the best teams in the League; we reached a domestic final so the future under Pochettino is extremely bright.
We saw a very strong team spirit last term. The way the players celebrated together after key wins, and late goals, shows how close they are as a unit. Also, the fact we scored so many late goals demonstrates a fitter, more determined team. It has been a pleasure to watch. We have bought well so far this summer so I am excited for the forthcoming season.
If you like what you’ve just read, feel free to follow me on twitter at @danielwynnethfc
A very big thank you to Daniel for taking the time to share his thoughts (I’m glad you didn’t miss the plane) with us at India Spurs and our readers not just in this country but around the globe. Best wishes to him and the unseen team at Spurs TV including fellow presenters Paul Coyte, Pete Abbott and Daniel van Der Molen. Not forgetting the great team that they have backing them up and bringing us a little closer to the Lane either via the THFC website or on a local TV Channel, (I notice in India Sony have moved us from Sony Six to the Sony KIX Channel so members better check their TV subscription packages). Do follow him on twitter he is always informative and entertaining.
Talking Tottenham next week includes another Tottenham Mystery, Do you remember when we first played Real Madrid ?
Are you sure ? While this Tuesday our trip to the Hotspur Towers archive explores 'Spurs and the Charity Shield.'
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