He’s covered League matches all over the country, but BBC Radio Stoke reporter Phil Bowers is enjoying his new football challenge.
Phil is putting his commentary to youngsters’ skills as they score goals, and make great saves, from their gardens.
That’s an initiative by the Vale’s community scheme, The Port Vale Foundation Trust, who asked parents and youngsters to send in clips of them playing at home.
The Foundation then shows them on their social media page, complete with professional commentary.
The idea is to keep youngsters entertained while they have to stay at home during the coronavirus crisis and the football season is suspended.
Phil has been commentating on mainly Port Vale games since 2000 and is also a producer at the BBC. He’s happy to do the commentary in between his shifts at work. He said: “Someone tweeted me and asked if I could do a commentary of his lad’s goal. I said no problem and then the Foundation got in touch to ask if I could do it if they asked people to send theirs in.
“I am more than happy to help out. I like to think there will be a few kids out there who are pretty chuffed they have something special to remember their goal by. It’s not just goalscorers, if goalkeepers want to have a great save documented then I will do that too.
“I don’t mind sending myself up and doing a bit of Alan Partridge in there, that’s perfectly fine by me.”
Phil says some adjustments have been needed from his usual matchday style.
He explained: “I have noticed that quite a few of the people scoring goals don’t have to deal with a keeper! So, you have to factor that in with your commentary. You can’t say it’s a sublime finish if it’s an open goal, although I have known Vale players miss quite a few open goals.
“This is just a bit of fun, and if it helps out the club and gives kids something to laugh about then that’s the main thing.”
Phil, from Newcastle, is pleased to be supporting Vale and the Foundation Trust which is part of a community hub for the north of the city, put together by Vale owners Kevin and Carol Shanahan, and based at Vale Park.
Their other initiatives include players setting a fitness or skills challenge on social media. Leon Legge, Luke Joyce, Cristian Montano, Manny Oyeleke and Tom Conlon have all set challenges that can be done in the house, back yard or garden.
Phil added: “You see a lot of the outreach work the club are doing, taking parcels to vulnerable people and those who can’t get out. At times like this, clubs become more than football clubs, they do become a community hub.
“Carol and the rest of the board want to do as much as they can. I can’t do half of that but if I can help in some small way and put a smile on someone’s face then I am more than happy to do that.”
Fans can contact the Port Vale Foundation on Twitter @PVFCFOUNDATION or email Foundation.Trust@Port-Vale.co.uk
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