Journalists Under Covid: Peter Drury


My guest for this Journalist Under COVID edition needs no introduction, that said, let me begin with this historical quote: ‘’ROMA HAVE RISEN FROM THEIR RUINS..MANOLAS THE GREEK GOD IN ROME!’’

That should do it really but let me tell you a bit more, he is the reason your arm hair stands, the reason you have chills evolving from your back to your neck during a match day, the reason every football memory is forged right there in between your ears and chest.

The reason the Beautiful Game is even more beautiful when his voice follows the pictures in front of your eyes and your hearing senses are as captivated and contribute to every emotion driving you. The reason we have a ‘’Football Poet’’, he is Peter Drury if you have not guessed it by now. Football commentator for as far as a lot of you could remember, formerly for ITV and BBC, and currently working for the Premier League productions and BT Sport.

With all the changes happening since Project Restart I was personally thankful to at least have Drury’s commentating still in place. However, this article is about him, so without further ado, here is how COVID-19 has affected the way Peter Drury approaches his job as a Premier League football commentator.

He would usually get there around three hours before kick-off, and goes about is usual planning, nonetheless, that has changed on different levels:

‘’It’s been very different since restart’’ he said ‘’you are not allowed in the ground three hours before, the logistical process is different, in some sense it’s easier, in that it’s possible to drive right up close to a football ground now and park close by and not have to concern yourself with congestion and that sort of thing.’’

Not everything has been that simple though as Drury continued:

‘’You have to be masked, you have to be temperature checked and go through that sort of protocol and rather than mixing with fellow broadcasters and journalists, go straight up to the position from which you’ll commentate and stay there until the game kicks off.’’

With such a sociable profession such as journalism all while being a renown figure in the industry, you tend to chat and be in touch with fellow reporters, writers and broadcasters in the ground and media areas, nevertheless, Drury describes the experience as a rather isolated one with the many modifications, he added:

‘’There isn’t the same interaction at all, it’s much more of a lonely event.

‘’It’s a shame because part of the pleasure of the job is mixing with others, and that’s what we do instinctively, that’s what sport is, sport is about human interaction, if that human interaction is taken away from you a lot of the pleasure of doing it taken away from you.’’

It really has been a lonely event but not only because the journalists were at social distance from each other but also a very important group of people would be absent, and that proved to be the toughest challenge of all, he said that the hardest part was:

‘’maintaining an energy through the football match when there isn’t that energy being provided for you by the crowd.

‘’The broadcast is more or less the same except that normally as a commentator in terms of the soundtrack for a game, I suppose it’s like being sort of a soloist with a backing choir and it’s a very sort of different experience when that backing choir doesn’t exist

‘’When a goal is scored, you surf the wave of crowd noise and that, isn’t there to surf.’’

Despite the controversies around the fake supporters’ cheers and chants, the commentator said that it has been quite helpful for him, he explained:

‘’I have had the piped crowd noise in my ears so that’s useful because at least it sets a level and without it you dip as a commentator, to a very conversational level which might be very unexciting.’’

Nevertheless, it’s never going to be the same as the passionate roars of the mighty Premier League public, he assured:

‘’That’s useful but it’s still not the same emotional lift that tens of thousands of people breathing down your neck and creating an atmosphere offers.

‘’That is what gives football its energy at top professional level, the fantastic supporters who shout and sing and jump up and down and create an atmosphere, and without them, I think it does make it a slightly more difficult broadcast because they are sort of your battery, they are what keeps you energised.’’

Finally, Drury insisted that there is a bright side to all of this and that the situation is not so bad when you put it in a relative way, he concluded:

‘’We miss that, there is no question, we miss that but, we have to have some perspective and some understanding of where we’re at. We are very fortunate that we can at least carry on doing our jobs and to some extent, we are able to meet a few of the people around us. And let’s face it, there are a lot of people a lot worse off, if this is the worst outcome of this dreadful pandemic for us then we haven’t got much to complain at.’’

Click here for full video interview

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