Last night was one of the busiest nights in the world of sports journalism as Chelsea travelled to Barcelona to face the Spanish side in the second leg of their Champions League semi final. Tony Evans, football editor of The Times took to Twitter (@TonyEvansTimes) to give the world an insight into the workings of life on a busy sports desk. Here is Tony in 140 charachters or less as he starts tweeting prior to kick off. . .
Settling in for big night at office. If anyone’s interested I’ll give rundown of timing these things-shows pressure reporters under.
We’ve got three in the Nou Camp, @OliverKayTimes, Matt Hughes and @RorySmithTimes. All will be writing in region of 1,000 words, file by 10pm.
We’ve already talked to page drawers. 2 plans, one if CFC win, one if lose. Normal time : paper off 10:10pm, E.T: 10.20pm, Pens: 10.35pm.
When copy is filed, it goes to sub-editor, who fits it, checks it and writes headline. Then a revise man, who checks again.
For 1st edition, @OliverKayTimes writes the match report (1,000), MH colour (900) and @RorySmithTimes has worst job in football writing.
Poor @RorySmithTimes has to do the match ratings for both sides. Then, he has to write the back page. Around, 1,000 words.
Everyone hates doing ratings. But reader feedback tells us people love them. A great debating point. All calm now.
And I assure you. No one has written a word yet.
We’ll also have @TonyCascarino62 giving his verdict. He brings a pro’s eye to proceedings.
Spoke to the boys on the phone and discussed early ideas. Could all change by half-time. Have to be careful everyone doesn’t write same piece.
Some asking what I do. I decide who goes where. I select pics, rip the pages apart and start again, if need to and provide direction.
And scream blue murder if performance is not up to scratch. I can be very unpleasant.
Photographs are crucial to our coverage. Marc Aspland is in Barca. One of the best in the business.
I’m lucky. My boys pretty good in how they approach things. No huge egos. But, managing egos is another thing I have to do. Big part of job.
Bill Edgar is on alert for stats and tactical graphics. And other reporters on call if it goes mad. We’re set up. Now I got to the canteen.
Egos. Aspland hadn’t kept up to date on Twitter feed. Sent abusive text demanding namecheck! Those pics better be good.
Last email to Catalonia. File prompt.
A word about office: me, the night editor, chief sub, dep chief sub, revise man, 5 more subs, two page drawers, pic desk editor, 3 online.
Night editor looks at other sports, I focus on football. Also have @LansleyTimes at Villa Park.
Teams filed by@RorySmithTimes. Page drawers getting pics for ratings. 17 pages in section. None gone yet. Have to start shifting.
The next half hour is very much about watching. Having been with them, I suspect Kay and Hughes will start writing just before half-time.
Now it gets interesting.
Conversation with Nou Camp to clarify thinking. Have to make sure we don’t have half a dozen Terry pieces in paper.
No extra time now. One variable gone. Of at 10:10.
Tone of game changed. Ordered up three new pieces. Already thinking about 2nd edition.
They are writing away furiously in Nou Camp. The copy needs to be in this office in less than an hour. The problem is catching right tone.
Monitoring email between boys in ground as they carve up information and work out who uses what. In an hour, the paper needs to be off.
First words from @OliverKayTimes drop. Ratings should not be far behind. They will be finalised on phone later.
Ratings here. Good work from @RorySmithTimes. They take a while to set up by the page drawers before they’re subbed. Nearly 700 words.
Already planning significant changes to 2nd edition. Short turnaround time. It goes off just after midnight. All hands to pump.
Cascarino filed. Back page filed. Took phone call from sports editor. `Be Bold`. Oh yeah…
Off in just over 20 min. Waiting to see back page pic. Plus loads of copy.
Starting to get edgy about copy. Phone calls begin shortly.
Matt Hughes filed.
Page drawer forgot to include a file. Quick change. @OliverKayTimes filed. All copy in.
Page drawers (we’re down to one) briefed on changes. 10 pages of changes. Off at 12.15. Working on tactical graphic.
5 min to deadline. 7 pages left. Get too late, I’ll get a spanking tomorrow.
Very close to getting off. 4 pages left.
Off at 10.15. Two hours to improve it.
Look at the dateline at top of pages tomorrow. If it says 1GM, you’ve got the edition that’s just gone.
Bloody graphics department told me their machines are not working. Great timing.
Now the boys in the Nou Camp are finishing with the managers and will talk to players in mixed zone. Then they rewrite with quotes.
I’ll need their words in just over an hour. One sub editor has gone home. More files to shift than before, less people.
To those who “don’t care” or “zzzzz” just unfollow, why bother telling me? Enough people are interested.
This is the worst time. Waiting for people to file. Going over and over again whether you’ve missed stuff. Miss it often and you don’t last.
Got graphic in. Up two floors to apply some pressure.
The sight of me on the bounce worked. They’re finding a way of doing the tactical graphic.
Copy dribbing in. I’m bogged down with really fidly stuff. Painful.
Graphic sorted. Things beginning to fall into place. Now to try and read some of this stuff.
Unusually we’re in much better shape than normal. We’ll definitely be off on time. Now I need to talk to boys
Find out what’s been said at the ground and discuss what we do tomorrow. I’ll leave a note for the morning crew before I leave.
So, even though this edition is some way off from finished , I’m already thinking about tomorrow.
Still nipping and tucking here. Changing one of the panels. Looking at pictures and headlines. Only waiting for one more piece.
Last piece just dropped. Now to find out about tomorrow.
Other papers have come in. Check our stuff against theirs.
7 pages to go. I’ll start emailing morning lot.
6 pages to go. Be out of here in 20 mins or so, I reckon.
All off. Missed last tube. As usual. Could get cab but will walk down for last bus. It’s nice to walk a mile or so after a night like this.
Home by 1.30, half hour’s exercise, a couple of beers and back in here just after midday. It’s better than real work. Goodnight