This past Saturday afternoon I was invited to spend the day at Setanta as part of a 4 week tutorial programme. My dad knew former Setanta Head Of Programming Tim Tuomey, and he got in touch. He forwarded my dad to John Kelly, the current Sporting Director of Setanta broadcasting and he then contacted Coleman Hanley, head researcher of information for the Premier League. Before you knew it John and my dad had agreed for me to come into Setanta to sample what life was like inside a sports broadcasting organisation. It was my luck that Newcastle were due to host Arsenal in what proved to be the greatest comeback in the history of the Premier League.
I enjoyed myself throughly and so I decided to provide a diary to you all on how the day went about. Without further adu, here it is:
12:30 pm – The time I arrived for work. My dad had driven me in to Setanta broadcasting in what was to be an afternoon filled with fun. Upon my arrival I was greeted by John Kelly (or J.K as colleagues call him) and he showed me around the place before he introduced me to Coleman Hanley. Coleman and I exchanged pleasantries before we got down to work. Over to his workplace we went, and he showed me what goes on in preparing for a typical day at Setanta which featured the latest Premier League statistics (sent every week as a package by the Premier League themselves) goals, press conferences and so on.
1:00pm – The presenters Paul Dempsey and Pat Dolan arrived, the latter I had the fortunate pleasure of meeting. After the meet and greet, Coleman, Pat, John and I all bundled into a small room to discuss what was going to be talked about on-air. John and Pat settled on Torres, Andy Carroll and also Arsenal’s goalkeeping crisis. Coleman and I were the statistic lads who Pat and John referred to when they needed confirmation of a particular topic, i.e Ireland’s next European Championship qualifier, which was left unsaid when the boys went on air due to lack of time.
1:45pm – Rehearsals. Paul and Pat strolled into the studio and Coleman and I settled ourselves in the gallery which was basically a room for the ‘techies’ of Setanta. There was an unbelievable amount of screens facing my way as I entered the gallery and there was an endless amount of different matches, sports going on. J.K also entered the gallery, who ‘headed the operation’ as they say. Paul and Pat were given the topics to discuss and the Setanta crew went through an endless array of shooting until it was agreed on that everything was peachy.
2:00pm – Setanta airs live. Paul and Pat discuss the latest affairs in the Premier League and while they are discussing, the finishing touches were being applied on the inside and Coleman rang the commentator in Tyneside to get the team sheets. 2 minutes later the teams were completed and Coleman copied them out to Word Document who then passed on the team sheets to the graphic designers.
3:00pm – Newcastle vs Arsenal is now on display live nationwide. Arsenal score inside the opening 40 seconds and continued to apply pressure which lead to the Magpies crumbling, conceding 3 in the opening 10 minutes. Matters got worse for Newcastle when Robin Van Persie made it 4 inside the half-hour mark and it seemed there was no way back for Newcastle. During this whirlwind half for Arsenal, the technical team in the gallery were keeping the presenters up to date on the latest happenings in the Premier League, often updating the screen with the latest scores. They made it to half-time error free and the presenters had to follow a specific schedule before the station had to take breaks and so on.
4:00pm – The second-half was expected for Arsenal to continue the way they left before the break, dominating the Magpies in every aspect of the game. Newcastle stepped it up a notch in the second half and got what seemed to be only a consolation when Joey Barton dispatched a penalty in the 68th minute. More Newcastle pressure continued with Leon Best scoring and another Joey Barton penalty seemed the give the hosts a glimmer of hope. Arsenal were hanging on for dear life and in the 87th minute an unlikely source salvaged a draw for Newcastle. From a free kick, Laurent Koscielny had headed clear only for the superb Cheik Tiote to volley home and all but end the Gunners hopes of a faint title challenge.
After the match Paul and Pat centred much of the attention on the dismissal of Abou Diaby which inevitably lead to Arsenal’s downfall. They also praised Gary Neville on his glittering football career but a shortage of time stopped things short, when they were only able to squeeze in a mere 1 minute on the Neville matter.
5:25pm – End of programme. Paul and Pat say their goodbyes to the viewers and end the show on a high note with the Gary Neville tribute. Coleman and John congratulate everyone on their hard work and look forward to next weeks match which see’s Liverpool play host to Wigan Athletic.
All in all, I enjoyed my day at Setanta and hope next week’s match will be just as good.