Football press conferences aren’t normally known for their gaiety and managers are often watched, but not when Mickey, who has also stood in for Penney on some occasions, was involved.
It was in the build-up to the match at Port Vale, at a time when Mickey, who had been Penney’s No.2, was still in contention to secure the former club captain’s job, ultimately losing to former Bournemouth boss Sean. O’Driscoll.
I don’t think we learned much about how Rovers were going to approach the game, or what Mickey thought of the Stoke-based team.
But what we learned was that Mickey was the king of the lines, and I had pain in the side laughing, as did most of my radio and print media colleagues.
I also remember several other outstanding press conferences during the time Dean Saunders was in charge.
For some reason, Dean took the media to the restroom for the presser. Luckily there was no one in the cubicles at the time, but the occasional sound of water gushing from the urinals meant Radio Sheffield’s amiable Rob Staton, who wasn’t the most amused, had to re-record several interviews before calling it a day.
Dean took us all into the kit room on another occasion and just when it was my turn to ask a few questions the kitman left the room and closed the door behind him to reveal a huge poster of a bikini-clad Gemma Atkinson that caught my eye.
“Aren’t you going to ask me a question? Dean asked.
He and the others then saw what I had seen and there was a brief moment when we all stared at the poster, perhaps all thinking the same thing, before coming back to the case in Classes.
*Real Madrid’s recent Champions League win over Liverpool, in a final where the main talking point was not the game but the scenes on and around the pitch, reminded me of the first time I saw Real Madrid play.
It was 1960, in what was then called the European Cup, and they beat German side Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 at Hampden Park to win the competition, which had started five years earlier. , for the fifth consecutive year.
I had never seen football like this. It was so different from the game in England at the time with precision passing and steady buildup coupled with clinical finishing – and it left a lasting impression on me.
I remember going to the school grounds deep in our garden and trying to replicate some of the skills I had seen Puscas, Di Stefano and Gento produce with my friends.
There was an aura of invincibility about the Madrid team in this era rarely seen since in Europe’s top competition and their feat of five successive wins looks set to stand the test of time.
Only Ajax and Bayern Munich, both with a hat-trick of victories, came close to challenging the record.
Surprisingly, Madrid only lifted the famous trophy once, in 1965-66, before the competition’s name and structure changed in 1992, although their 1-0 win over the Reds was their 14th in total in both competitions.
It may be nostalgia on my part, but on many levels I much prefer the original format where only the champions of the various European leagues qualified, to the one used today and the even more fleshed out one that is to start in 2024.
But, as they say, money talks and there will be no turning back.
* For many years the Doncaster Lawn Tennis Club Junior Open has been played during the Spring Bank Holidays which we have just enjoyed.
The event drew participants from all over the country, as well as top local talent, and at its peak many families would travel to the club’s base on Saxton Avenue and camp out for the duration of the six-day tournament. on site or stay in caravans.
Others, including brothers Andy and Jamie Murray, stayed with members of the club who could not have imagined in their wildest dreams that they were hosting two future Wimbledon champions.
Club secretary June Rainey and a host of volunteers used to provide breakfast and meals throughout the day and there was a great atmosphere in the place as well as good tennis.
It was a sad day for the local tennis community when the event was scrapped.
* I was recently back in Elland Road to watch a young relative play in a junior tournament – for the first time since he was knocked out in the press room during half-time in the Leeds-Doncaster clash Rovers League One many years ago.
I had tried to balance a huge stack of sandwiches on a paper plate while trying to cross a busy room and had failed to spot a low concrete beam.
It was like I had been shot and the next thing I knew I was sitting surrounded by fellow reporters with a bump on the side of my head that was growing bigger every second.
Although I felt groggy, there was no one else to cover my duties, including dictating around 500 extra words of action in the second half, which I managed to do despite periods when I felt dizzy and had trouble concentrating, and post-game talks. .
The incident certainly gave reporters from the various radio stations who knew me and who had witnessed the incident something to talk to their listeners about during the periods of the second half when there was a lull.