Two thousand people pay to watch a live football podcast?
I've been listening to James Richardson's Football Weekly podcast since 2006. I find it the most consistently the funniest podcast on any subject, and a great window to football culture in the rest of the world. During a long six months in Gibraltar I hung onto every episode of this podcast like a lifebelt. It really kept me going.
My favourite lines from The Pod over the last decade
James Richardson on the magnificence of the Uruguayan national anthem
- “The sort of thing you’d expect to hear across a dusty piazza, played to a straggly line of soldiers in ill fitting uniforms, while a big fat guy in another ill fitting uniform covered in medals takes the salute next to a tart in a red dress who definitely isn’t his wife”
James Richardson on Zlatan
- "I'm not saying he hit the ball hard but apparently they found a Higgs Boson on the pitch afterwards"
When I worked at the Guardian I actually met one of the contributors to Football Weekly, Jacob Stienburg, in a lift. He was the only journo I met in 4 months at the Guardian. When I was back with senior IT people afterwards I suggested they charge £15 a pop for the podcast and give the paper away.
After that they moved my desk into a corner :-)
The podcast has got so big it now plays its own live events, often comedy festivals. The Palladium was the biggest event yet, featuring most of the smart wittiest football writers in Europe, Barry Glendenning, Raphael Honigstein, Philipe Auclair, and even Spain's elusive Sid Lowe. It was packed, 99% with men which made for some of the comedy -- "we need a long 20 minute interval because we know the queue for the ladies toilets can be an issue"
Best lines were from tweets in the audience
- "If we vote for Brexit then win the European championship will that be the ultimate drop mic exit?"
- "What is faster, Per Mertesacker or the erosion of the UK coastline?"
Football Weekly will be going back to it's Daily format to cover the 2016 Euros
James Richardson has recently branched out into equally witty film reviews.
The producer of this frightening successful journalistic afterthought, Ben Green. also has an offshoot show just dedicated to creating your own podcast
Jimbo's Football Weekly has had a few rivals podcasts over the years, such as ESPNs Soccernet podcast and The Time's The Game, all of which are inferior, but only in that they are, at best, Manchester United 2009 vs Barcelona 2009.
The chirpy and irreverent (British) ESPN Soccernet podcast ended a few years ago.
The Game, usually hosted by the engaging Gabriele Marcotti, is uncertain to return for next season (based on their last episode). This would be a shame as it is a brilliant and often funny sports podcast which did prompt me briefly to get a Times subscription.. which I cancelled because life beyond the paywall still consists mainly of adverts!