We see Tony Curr reporting on all sports from sailing to snooker, asking Channel Island sport stars all the important questions, but today Sportscast Jersey have put the questions to him.
Has he always been interested in sport? What Guernsey FC player leaves in star struck? What advice does he give to those wanting to follow in his foot steps?
The brilliant full interview with the ITV man is below. Sit back and enjoy.
Firstly, have you always loved sport? What is your first sporting memory?
I’ve definitely loved sport for as long as I can remember. Those that know me well know I’ve got a good memory for some things, and a terrible memory for others – including which side of arguments I’ve been on! I do vividly recall watching the classic Liverpool-Newcastle 4-3 and getting a first taste of cricket via a VHS of Botham’s Ashes. Certainly by the age of 8 or 9, watching and playing sport was pretty much all I was doing.
Did you ever play any sport?
I’ve always tried! My friends and I were pretty active growing up – we played a huge amount of garden football, garden cricket (nothing got more competitive), a fair amount of tennis, and a bit of golf, among other things. I slightly regret not playing more formal sport – but I guess we were happy in our own little sporting bubble. I always think I could have gone further with sport at school – if I was faster, fitter, and had actually focused during training sessions… I’ve played small-sided football for most of my adult life, and flitter in and out of cricket as time allows, disgracing myself in the odd exhibition match over the years.
What is your favourite sport to watch?
I really could watch and get into anything I think. I follow cricket and football most closely and have definitely got some of my biggest sporting kicks out of those two. You only have to look back at the last couple of glorious summers to see the extraordinary effect they can have. That said, thinking back, some of the best sport I’ve watched on TV has come from rugby, tennis, athletics, golf, boxing, snooker, the list goes on – oh, and very little beats the Olympics.
When did you realise you wanted to be a sports reporter? How did your move into the profession come about?
Good question. I guess I really never thought about it growing up, that it was an option. I’ve always been a pretty rabid consumer of sport on TV and radio, particularly, but I’d never really considered it as a job until I started working at BBC Guernsey – which itself happened almost by chance. Even then, being a sport reporter full-time wasn’t on my radar. I guess there’s no right or wrong way into it, although being more decisive about what I wanted to do earlier in my life and doing a relevant degree couldn’t have done any harm. Things definitely don’t always work out how you expect. If you’d said to a 12-year-old me that he’d be live on TV a couple of times a week, he’d have laughed – and probably squirmed at the thought. I was pretty desperate at public speaking at school, but somehow I’ve arrived at a point where I’m doing something I massively enjoy, hopefully am half-decent at, and something that suits my passions, experience, and skills right now.
What is your first memory of reporting on a sports event or game?
You’re testing me now! Funnily enough, something that really stands out didn’t happen on a pitch or a court. I remember in 2011, fairly early on in my time at BBC Guernsey, being sent up to the airport to meet two members of the newly-formed Guernsey FC board who’d just landed after a trip to Wembley to formalise the club’s entry into English football. It was a small moment of reflection for them at the start of what’s been a fairly storied journey so far, and set my mind racing at the time about the sort of thing I could end up involved in covering. I was pretty lucky when I started at BBC Guernsey to work alongside a few brilliant and experienced journalists who were also very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about sport, and the way it should be reported. That was a great help early on.
What do you think is your favourite part of your job?
There are lots. My job pretty much revolves around talking to people about the things they’re passionate and enthusiastic about, and I’m interested in too, and that doesn’t really get old. It’s hugely varied and what’s great is that it is what you make it.
You have done many Island Games, Muratti’s and Siam Cups, but what has been your favourite event to cover?
Tough to look past the Island Games. It really is something special to be a part of. I’ve been lucky enough to cover three now; one for radio (in Jersey) and two for TV (Gotland and Gibraltar). As an event, it hits a real sweet spot of level and access. For us reporters, you get some fantastic competition to cover, and which means an awful lot to those involved, and awesome access to it and them. As a one-man sports team at ITV Channel, it’s also one of the rare times – along with the CI Sports Awards – where I get the chance to work as part of bigger team on something, and that’s priceless.
Have you ever been start struck when interviewing someone?
Every time I speak to Ross Allen.
How did you keep yourself busy over the last few months?
Funnily enough, there wasn’t too much downtime – although lockdown was obviously much less hectic than usual for me. Early on it was all about what was being cancelled and what that meant, then coming out it was about sport returning and how that was happening. There were only a few weeks in between where I did start to wonder what the rest of the year would look like, but thankfully that period didn’t last too long. We’ve been exceptionally lucky in Guernsey to see sport comeback sooner than most other places, and in some ways it has been a unique and quite special summer on that front. I just hope that things continue to move in the right direction and you’ll see me in Jersey again before too long.
How pleasing it it for you now that sport is coming back?
Hugely. For me it’s a massive part of what makes the Channel Islands so special. Sport’s everywhere here, or at least it should be in normal times, and pride in representing your island undoubtedly drives on local athletes to be the best they can be. I see that every week in this job. Sport is also such an important link for us to the outside world – which is definitely something people will have missed greatly this year. It brings people to the islands, it takes them off to experience new things, and it’s a big part of how a lot of people find focus. It’s got a really vital place, I think, in our island life.
Finally, what advice would you give people who may be interested in becoming a sports reporter one day?
Be prepared to put in extra effort. It’s a million miles from a 9-5 job. Early starts, late finishes, weekends – it interrupts every part of your life, but if you enjoy it, you won’t mind. Like any job, it can be frustrating, but it can be the best fun and hugely rewarding.