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This is the time of the year that we look ahead; it’s also one where we reflect on the twelve months that have passed. From the perspective of working for The New Saints FC, there have been so many highs and numerous memories made that will last a lifetime.
However, if I was backed into a corner and I had to choose one that stands above the others, then it would have to be the visit of FC Copenhagen to Park Hall back in July. The UEFA Champions League qualifying round game had a special attraction as far as I was concerned and that was down to the manager of the Danish champions.
Prior to getting involved with The New Saints, I was a season ticket holder at Wolverhampton Wanderers for many years, and in with the numerous managers that had occupied the hot seat at Molineux during that time was Ståle Solbakkenn.
Like the others before and after him, I can picture him now in the technical area, as I looked on from the South Bank. You never realise where life takes you, and fast-forward a few years, he’s now at Park Hall with the champions of Denmark for their training session prior to the game itself the following day.
I had already been in conversation with the FC Copenhagen media team, of course, and got on well with them, so when they arrived I asked if I could interview Ståle for a blog entry. You always approach club media to request access to a player or manager; it’s both courtesy and protocol.
Anyway, as they didn’t want to do a pre-match press conference with their manager (we had done ours with Scott Ruscoe and the set-up was still in place), I ended up doing theirs for them. I didn’t need asking twice.
There I was, in the Snackbox room at The Venue, sponsors’ board behind him and just me in front, interviewing the man himself. It’s one of those you-never-know-where-life-takes-you experiences. I’ve had lots of those since being with The New Saints and I’m sure that there are plenty more to come.
The video below was filmed in the seat where I used to sit at Park Hall when I was just a fan. The story fits nicely with the Solbakken one.
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