The Football Ramble

Theatre Royal, Brighton

Sunday, October 6

THESE four friends have a shared passion for football. The Argus speaks to The Football Ramble about their upcoming live podcast tour.

The Football Ramble is going back on the road with a live tour. What should audiences expect?

Pete: Videos, games, nuclear-level messing about and a wealth of football-related daftness sounds about right.

Marcus: We definitely approach the live shows differently to the podcast. On the podcast we want to give our views on current footballing affairs.

Whereas in the live shows, we just find the funniest things to talk about and have as much fun interacting with the audience as we can each night.

Luke: You see other podcasts live and it’s just them sat behind a desk, doing exactly what they do in the studio. Every idea we have for the live show is about what gets us away from that. We can’t wait.

Jim: I’ve always thought you want to watch a show, you don’t want to watch a podcast. At our first live shows in 2014, we tried to make it as different to the podcast as we could and there was a real sense of excitement in the venues.

It was obvious from then that we wanted to continue doing live shows.

How did The Football Ramble podcast begin?

Marcus: Luke was a year above me at university and was working on the sports show for the college radio station, which somebody idly said would make a good podcast. I remember thinking “what’s a podcast”. I got in touch with the lads and Luke kindly volunteered that his kitchen would be a suitable place to try and record an episode.

Luke: Retrospectively it was the worst place. My friend Rob said his claim to fame is in episode two, because you can hear him cooking in the background. After a few episodes I messaged Jim.

Jim: Luke messaged me on Myspace, which dates it. It was fortnightly at the time and it was fun and loose and I was just happy to see where it was going.

Pete: And then I was a like a virus or a bit of malware ingratiating in the podcast quite easily through a back-door attack later on. I was working for XFM, Luke messaged me on Facebook and asked if I fancied popping in and seeing them.

Luke: No, there was more to it than that. his girlfriend came up to me and said my boyfriend always listens to your show, can he join?

Jim: I had no idea you were basically the Carl Jenkinson of the show. An Arsenal fan who plays for Arsenal.

You’re coming to the Theatre Royal in Brighton on the tour. What do you make of Brighton and Hove Albion and how do you think they will fare this season?

Luke: It’ll be fascinating to see how Graham Potter gets on in his first Premier League job. He has been rated as a managerial prospect for some time now, yet found it hard at times at Swansea last season.

But, he showed at Ostersunds that his teams can beat the bigger teams as well as the teams his side are expected to beat, and that should excite Brighton fans.

Pete: I really, really liked Chris Hughton and I think it’s fundamentally important to have black managers working at the top level.

He was really good for Newcastle and they replaced him with a poorer manager in Alan Pardew in my opinion. So, I was sad to see him leave Brighton.

Since you started the podcast in 2007 do you think enough has been done with regards to racism and do you think you can play a part in raising awareness on the issue?

Jim: Certainly not enough has been done. This season just gone in particular we’ve seen such a rise in the reporting of racism, so we are seeing how big the problem is. I am starting to think, what can we do? I think not sweeping it under the carpet and talking about it when it happens is important.

Luke: I hope that the more we talk about issues like racism in the game, the more our listeners will stop to think, “this show I listen to is normally really funny and it’s entertainment, but if they are stopping to be serious here, it must be really important”.

How do you prepare before going on stage?

Jim: There’s definitely a tension before a live show but I think that’s true of any live performance.

Luke: Yeah, and one of the main concerns is finding out where Pete is before we go on. In Birmingham, there was about five minutes before we were meant to go on, the videos are playing, the lights have dimmed, and Pete is on a balcony somewhere behind the stage. I’m thinking how is he going to get down here, but somehow, he always turns up.

Pete: Everyone gets quite tense, I drink one beer, and everyone starts saying “Pete, stop drinking”. I say, “I’m in a good mood”. Then we all go on.

You like to mingle with the audience after the shows and have a drink - how important is it to interact with your listeners?

Luke: Free beers are very important. Seriously, you don’t want to close yourself off to that. We are not rock stars, we’re not footballers.

Marcus: It may sound like a cheesy thing to say, but when you look at a band on stage or footballers, they obviously have a major talent and you can be in awe of them. I don’t think anyone is in awe of us and I think that is our selling point and the authenticity of the podcast. It would be ridiculous for us not to mingle with the audience and listeners and have a laugh. It’s just really lovely.

Pete: One audience member kept touching my face during some post-show drinks. Feel free to touch all of our faces.

Jim: It’s often not just podcast listeners that come to the shows too – the live shows definitely aren’t an exclusive listeners only club, so it’s good for us to meet new audiences too.

Luke: Yeah, our listeners often come along with a bunch of their mates and come up to us saying they all had a great time. I personally love that and it’s a great way for them to be introduced to the podcast too.

There are a lot of football podcasts, what makes yours different?

Luke: Saying we are just “four mates in a room” I see as a little patronising. But it’s a credit to us that we can make it look like we are relaxed and we have just waltzed in from a night out and are just having a laugh.

Jim: We are not just four blokes down the pub talking about the game. We work harder to be more interesting than that.

Marcus: It’s almost like when you see the lead singer of an indie band and it looks like they have just got out of bed, an awful lot of work has gone into that look. For us it’s important to be well-informed but also have a bit of bloody fun.

Jim: What I like about the format that makes it a bit different from those mainstream things is that we are free to talk about playing headers and volleys over the park and the stupid side of football.