Sports reporter Chris Brammer leaving Archant with whole host of memories and tales to tell
Sports reporter CHRIS BRAMMER is leaving the EADT and Ipswich Star after six years. In this feature, Chris recalls some of his fondest moments and talks about some of the people that made his job so special
I sat wondering what I had let myself in for.
The weekend before my big move to East Anglia, I was witnessing Ipswich Town being thumped 7-1 on TV at Peterborough United!
I started to think it was me.
After all, I had just reported on Lincoln City’s demise from the Football League and now, there I was watching one of my new “teams” being humiliated.
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Still, it didn’t deter me and, as I write this, I am coming to the end of six happy years at the EADT and Ipswich Star.
I’m happy to report that the Blues are a far better outfit than the one I saw in 2011, although there have been some bumps in the road.
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Under Mick McCarthy there have certainly been more highs though and, at times, Town have been a pleasure to watch, especially in the play-off season.
All in all, it has been an enjoyable experience, especially this season, alongside Stuart Watson, as we have developed our digital brand and added regular Facebook Live broadcasts and podcasts to our weekly To-Do List.
Grassroots football is in great shape too, especially at Ryman and Thurlow Nunn League level, while the SIL is hopefully on the up and will continue to grow.
Non-league football is more entertaining than watching the professional game at times.
You are a lot closer to the action, and the players and managers – as a rule – are always more than happy to talk to you.
Managers such as Ian Brown, Glenn Driver, Mark Morsley and Richard Wilkins have been a pleasure to deal with, while players such as Matt Blake, Marcus Garnham and Ollie Brown have always been generous in their time on the phone.
There are numerous others that fall into that bracket too – too many to mention – and I am sorry if I have missed you off the list.
Then there are the volunteers, the likes of Phil Griffiths and Terry Adams, at Felixstowe & Walton and Hadleigh United respectively, that work tirelessly to ensure their team gets their fair share of column inches and the photographers, Stan Baston, Alan Stuckey, Paul Leech and Gary Brown that provide us with excellent football pictures.
Since being in Suffolk, I have been given the opportunity to meet people I would never have dreamt of meeting had I not been in this profession.
Interviewing England rugby coach Eddie Jones and former England cricket captain, Alastair Cook, in the same week was a highlight.
Then there was my place on Anthony Ogogo’s journey from talented amateur to bronze medallist at an Olympic Games.
I will always be immensely proud that I broke the story that he was going to sign for Oscar De La Hoya’s Goldenboy Promotions, having met up with him at a press engagements at Otley College!
That wasn’t my first meeting with the man though.
I was new to the town, and he wanted to meet somewhere near the Ransomes Industrial Estate, having been on a prior engagement near there. The only place I could think to take him for a coffee was in B&Q!
After a walk through the store, the cafe being closed and Anthony getting more than a few knowing looks, we eventually decided that Pizza Hut must sell coffee and went there.
Other Olympians I have had the pleasure of meeting include handball player Louise Jukes and hockey trio of Harry and Hannah Martin and George Pinner.
But there’s one Olympian that stands out for me, and it was so sad when we had to report her passing – Elena Baltacha.
“Bally” was a fantastic tennis player and, with Nino Severino, committed herself fully to finding Ipswich’s next tennis star.
Her legacy lives on through Nino and the Elena Baltacha Foundation, it’s just so sad she can’t see the results of her hard work.
I have covered a whole host of other sports and I learned how speedway worked on the job, although I am not convinced my match reports are up to Mike Bacon standard!
Mike is one of several colleagues that I have been lucky to work with over the last six years, and I have built some long-lasting friendships on a small but committed sportsdesk.
It’s the people that make the job, but not just my colleagues, or the people I have referred to earlier.
I’ve played rugby with women’s rugby team for a feature, been thrown to the mat by a judo player and played tennis against a ten-year-old.
Everyone I’ve ever met, with a passion for their particular sport, has helped shape my journey and made my job was it is. I will be eternally grateful to them all.