Here is how columnist Dave Swanton broke into media for six shillings a week
Columnist Dave Swanton writes about how he got into the world of media
Life is good at the moment. The heart is behaving itself and the house move to the new ‘Swanny Towers’ went well too.
Work-wise I have been at Old Trafford for the past few weeks working as media manager for the Cricket World Cup, and that has been a dream come true. Cricket always was my favourite game, and to rub shoulders with some Lancashire greats like Jack Simmons and Clive Lloyd as well as meet and chat to ex-players like Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar has been amazing.
Cricket is a great game in that it gives you time to absorb the atmosphere as well as watch the action, and after bumping into a colleague I have known for years, the banter started about age etc. Then from absolutely nowhere came a ‘lightbulb moment’.
We were discussing how things had changed in the media down the years and he asked me when I had started. I said I had been the scorer at Leyland Cricket Club and the local semi-retired hack Nowell Bannister asked me what I was doing during the winter on Saturday afternoons.
He then invited me to help him cover Leyland Motors Football Team in the Lancashire Combination and would pay me six shillings every week. That was the equivalent of a paper round wage and I could do my job in four hours whereas a milk round was seven days a week with a 4am start.
The year was 1970, so quick as a flash I worked out that in 2020 it would be my fiftieth year of working in ‘media’.
My colleague suggested there had to be a book there somewhere, and I dropped an email to the publisher who printed my Jason Robinson. Like the man from Del Monte, he said ‘yes’, so I now need to start writing and produce 110,000 words on the last 50 years.
Leyland Guardian, Lancashire Evening Post, Red Rose Radio, BBC Radio Lancashire, BBC World Service, Yorkshire TV spring to mind, and there are so many wonderful memories, some funny, some sad, that I can share with anyone who reads the book.
Evolution has brought about the electronic book, although I prefer a book you can feel and really own. Also Marketing is one of the tools of my trade so getting the message out shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Do we do a ‘kiss and tell’ type book? No chance, I have never been a fan of that type of book, I like to tell the story without causing legal issues of someone wanting to sue me for an incident or fall out 30 years ago.
The whole media experience came about by accident, sat watching and scoring at a Leyland Cricket game back in 1970, round about the time Bobby Moore was having problems in Mexico, and Gordon Banks was clawing that Pele header round the post.
My memory is as sharp as a tack thankfully so I am going to enjoy writing everything down as a record, and hopefully it may inspire some youngster to follow in my path, in what has been a great journey.
Weirdest thing that’s happened?
In the mid-eighties I was sent by Red Rose Radio to cover Badminton at the Guildhall and that took some doing.
Doing two minute pieces on a sport I had only played over the washing line in the back garden....
Mid-afternoon there was a fire alert as the vents on the roof caught fire and we were evacuated.
Not before I had voiced a piece to studio about the fire and how it was being dealt with. It made the national news and I got a £3 bonus for my efforts.