Although it sounds like a shortened version of Sgt. Pepper, it was, in fact, just two years ago today. That’s where the comparison ends, however, as even though I had a microphone in one hand, it had nothing to do with the band being taught to play. In fact, on this day (August 29 2014) I ventured on the balcony at Park Hall for the very first time, making my debut on TNS Radio.
A brand-new venture by the club, I had read several tweets during the preceding week, enquiring as to whether any fans were interested in making an appearance. I thought to myself, what a great opportunity for someone, but never considered it personally. In fact, as it was my favourite WPL fixture, namely TNS v Rhyl, it was Sez Roberts who more or less pushed me forward.
Although I had attended a few games at Park Hall over a period of time, she was the only person I had any contact with, and that was only on Twitter. With Sez acting as a catalyst, I then had a message on Twitter from the club, I replied, and on Friday afternoon I arrived at Park Hall to meet the press officer, Gilbert Woolley.
A fledgling initiative by TNS, I expected Gil to thank me afterwards and I would then go home thrilled that I’d been on air, with my team sheet as a souvenir. So imagine my surprise, and I must say pleasure, when he asked me if I would return. I think it was about four or five games in (all home ones at this stage) and I was driving home along the A5 that I thought to myself, ‘I’m living the dream’.
Little did I know how it would affect my life and take it in a direction that, as I look back, has been incredible. There I was, in my early 50’s, running a church and a small registered charity, and at the stage of my life, due to the fact I had paid the mortgage off in my 40’s, where I considered myself semi-retired.
In fact, when I made my debut on TNS Radio, I was 2/3 of the way into my bucket-list tick of going fishing every day of the year. The timing was perfect because I wouldn’t be able to do it now. Actually I saw very clearly, albeit mentally at that stage, the big picture in the making. It then began to translate itself onto canvas as the days, weeks and months went by.
With quite a commitment needed, just from the travelling aspect alone, it was important to me personally that I saw it as a calling rather than simply something I fancied having a go at. It still won’t be easy at times, for various reasons, but when you’re running on objectivity, as opposed to emotions and feelings, then it’s easier to stay on track.
Well, the track ran very smoothly indeed and over a period of time the radio show was joined by post-match TNS TV interviews, a page in the programme, pre-game promotion visits to Oswestry, a weekly website column, admin access to the club’s social media accounts, and more. In fact, especially with matchday travelling and the constant monitoring of Twitter alone, my involvement has become full-time.
— Paolo Fabrizio (@paolothebaker) August 28, 2016
For as much as the tasks are enjoyable though, the greatest pleasure has been the people involvement. Not just at Park Hall, but in the wider world of Welsh football, it’s been a real blessing to build friendships and relationships. From Sgorio, the WPL itself through to the FA Wales, club managers, players and fans, even those I have never met except through the TNS Radio airwaves, it’s been an absolute pleasure indeed.
What do the next two years hold? Well, I’m not ambitious in the sense of moving on, the only way I want to go is to move forward. I don’t have desires to do more or climb any sort of ladder and I’m definitely not on a career path. If I’m still at TNS this time in 2018 and doing what I do now, but much better, I’ll be happy with that.
Finally, you can contact me by email at email@example.com and don’t forget to follow TNS on Twitter and like our Facebook page. And feel free to send me a personal Facebook friend request, I’ll happily add you. Just search Facebook, you’ll find me. My Timeline is full of TNS-related stuff, you won’t miss it.