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Collymore Part Two: Stan on Benteke, Basic Instinct 2 and Twitter

Wednesday media watch [06.02.12 PM]: Boss happy to win ugly Thursday media watch [07.02.12 AM]: Clark opens Ireland account
Collymore Part Two: Stan on Benteke, Basic Instinct 2 and Twitter

Former striker Stan Collymore is next up in our special Cult Heroes feature series.

The TalkSPORT presenter was so expansive with his replies that we have decided to split the intriguing question and answer up into two-parts.

Find below his thoughts on social media, despression, the media and star strikers.

Q] How good is Christian Benteke? How good can he become?

A] I think he can become a great European central striker.

He is playing in an exceptional group of Belgian footballers - Mirallas, Fellaini, Dembele and Hazard. His football education at international level is already up and running.

Physically he is strong enough to hold off central defenders and give the team a platform.

His touch is excellent. It took him a couple of games to get used to playing in the increased pace and pressure of the Premier League.

But I think we have already seen how much he's improved - just look at the backheel into the path of Andi Weimann at Anfield.

Some of his finishing has been superb.

I think over the next four or five years we need to build a team at Villa around Christian.

He can go and achieve whatever he wants to in the game. He is a potential European superstar.

Q] Talk us through your preparation for a match on TalkSPORT?

Essentially on a Thursday - a couple of days before a game - I will get hold of the stats sheets for the Premier League which cover all the weekend games.

I will just jot down all the information I need - who's scored when, how many wins for specific teams, what kind of streak the sides are in, how many clean sheets - generally very detailed stats.

That's obviously backed up by the fact I have watched a lot of games - probably over 250 games in five or six years.

Then I will jot down points for debate for Call Collymore.

On matchday, I get to the ground three hours before a game because that's when the media office is starting to open. I get told off a lot by press stewards because I'm arriving as they're setting everything up.

I take a few pictures of the ground for Twitter, have a chat with the local reporters to find out what they think in terms of potential team changes for their sides.

Then I get on my laptop and open up about seven websites, which will show me updated scores, formations etc.

Then when I have done the commentary of the game with Sam Matterface, I bring up a host of stats for the two hours for Call Collymore when I'm fielding calls.

That really leads me into a feeling for what is going on and what fans want to talk about.

Q] Have you enjoyed the transition from player to journalist?

A] Absolutely! I was always fascinated by the media when I was a player - and active in broadcasting.

I did things for BBC Radio Nottingham when I was out injured because I had a real interest in the industry and giving an insight from a player's perspective.

I also did a stint on Radio WM filling in for Ed Doolan on his consumer affairs show for a week.

I wanted to find out how the buttons were pushed, how the industry worked, how to prepare.

I have worked with people like Martin Tyler, Richard Keys, Mike Ingham, Alan Green and Mark Saggers - I have learnt from some excellent broadcasters.

As a footballer in my 20s though, I was always interested in wanting to go on after I retired.

When I did hang up my boots, I set up the office in my house as a mini studio.

It had a TV with Sky Sports News on, I had a PC with a thousand bookmarks as points of reference, lots of information on the walls, books, contact forms.

And TalkSPORT put a broadcast-quality ISDN line in my house soon after I started working for them.

So my office is a studio. That was set up about a year after I retired with no broadcasting possibilities on the horizon. If anything, I was always prepared.

Q] What was it like to be in Basic Instinct 2? What was Sharon Stone like?

A] I got a phonecall from my agent when I was away on holiday in Thailand. He said that Michael Caton-Jones, a big, big Celtic fan, was taking over directing the follow-up to the first movie.

He asked if I wanted a role. I said 'yes absolutely.'

When I got back, I headed to Pinewood Studios.

The part was Sharon Stone's boyfriend who was a professional footballer. I didn't have to be Marlon Brando! It was standard for me.

I met Sharon. She was lovely. She was so courteous during our week of filming.

Even for a 45-second role, the work was a week-long.

She killed me off in a car and we had to do the filming in a dive tank. I realised very soon that when you see these films that are two or three hours long, it doesn't tell the full story.

The preparation and filming time is huge. Sports broadcasting is live, immediate and you have to think on your feet. The movie industry is stop-start, with a lot of waiting around before you do your bit.

I had a taste for it. It was enjoyable. But I loved getting back into football!

Q] Do you feel vindicated seeing how depression is now viewed as a big thing in the football community?

A] Yes I do. Absolutely.

There are many players who have had issues. We're seeing it at the moment in the newspapers with the continuing travails of Paul Gascoigne.

Back in the day, it was a case of 'pull your socks up.' Now most football clubs have mental health specialists on call.

It's obvious now that trauma of the brain is like trauma of the body. I think one in five people will struggle with depression in their lives.

I absolutely feel vindicated. There are many enterprises that support players that struggle publically and anonymously with the issue.

The message I would give is 'just because you struggle with depression, it doesn't mean you can't be a competent, active footballer or a competent, active broadcaster.'

The amount of time taken off work from people with depression is roughly the same as someone with flu. We need to treat it as it is - another illness.

It's just like a broken leg or a broken metatarsal. I think we have made massive strides into breaking down the stigma.

I have had a lot of support from star names and clubs donating shirts - Darren Bent for example. It's out in the open now and people need to realise they can contribute fully even if they have depression.


Q] What's your advice for someone suffering from depression?

A] Go to the doctor!

It is a very difficult one to talk to someone about because you feel very isolated and lonely. But try and reach out to a friend or family-member.

Go to the doctor and talk in privacy.

The first step in helping yourself is talking and reaching out. It's a cliché but a problem shared is a problem halved.

It's such an isolating illness that makes you feel like there's no-one there for you.

If you get a good network of support around you, bouts of depression which usually can last two, three or four weeks can go in two or three days.

It's vitally important people speak out.

Q] Do you enjoy using Twitter?

A] I do! I love it!

I have been using it now for five years. I was the first sports broadcaster to use it.

I remember when I first went on it, there were literally a handful of people using it. One was Stephen Fry and a few USA celebrities too like Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.

All I saw were celebs telling you about their day - we're filming this, we're doing this, we're shopping here.

I thought, personally, that it could be an amazing tool to ask questions and tweet teamsheets and offer news, pictures - that kind of thing.

All those things are now par for the course for every major broadcaster, celebrity, footballer in the world.

I'd like to think if you ever traced back the genealogy of Twitter in terms of certainly broadcasters and found out who offered things like news, pics and teamsheets first, it was me. It's something I'm very proud of.

It's a platform that's far from perfect though. When there's a degree of anonymity, people can abuse it.

I have had racist abuse and general abuse.

I can take constructive criticism with the best of them but when it comes to unnecessary abuse, I reach for that lovely big block button.

Q] What is the craziest you've ever reacted to a goal or a result?

A] On the pitch, it was the Athletico Madrid goal.

It was a cracker from 25 yards in front of the Holte End. I still maintain that it is up there - the feeling that evening - with the best five or six atmospheres in 40 or 50 years at our great old stadium.

It was a wonderful night. We unfortunately went out but we beat them on the evening.

Off the pitch, it was Ciaran Clark's goal at Stamford Bridge in the 3-3 from 2010-11.

I was commentating with Sam Matterface, a big Chelsea fan. He was very professional. He'd seen them take a 3-2 lead with seconds remaining and said : 'Well John Terry has scored and Chelsea have won this game.'

I was really miffed. Villa went up the other end and Ciaran popped up at a corner and I went absolutely ballistic.

I had a block of Chelsea fans up on their feet flicking the Vs. But I was so proud of Villa.

The commentary has had thousands of hits on YouTube. I make no apologies for it though!

Pick up your tickets for West Ham.

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 7th February 2013
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