Feature by Patrick Hill
Updated Friday, 22nd August 2003
Deputy Iron-Bru Editor Patrick Hill caught up with BBC Radio Humberside's sport chief David Burns to ask him his views on the Iron, alleged bias towards Hull and getting in dodgy commentators.
IB: How did you first get into broadcasting?
IB: Who else have you worked for besides BBC Radio Humberside?
DB: I was Sports Editor at BBC Sheffield for about four years covering Barnsley, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday. I also did the Olympic sports bulletins on BBC Radio 1,2,3,4 and 5 during the 2000 games to help them out.
IB: What would you say your most memorable moment in broadcasting has been?
DB: Tough question, I enjoyed doing Barnsley in the Premiership and in the first Division play-offs. Especially the Man Utd and Liverpool games, they were real big games, the big time. Working with Billy Bremner was another real highlight for me.
IB: On a similar note, ever had any real nightmares where everything went wrong?
DB: There's been the odd embarrassing moment, I don't think I've ever done anything I'm ashamed of, nothing really cringe worthy. One that stands out was Scunny v Preston a season or so ago in the League Cup. There was a person who really shouldn't have been there, we were let down at the last minute by someone else and so someone got him in instead. It was an absolute mockery, that was probably the worst although that one wasn't my fault.
IB: What does a normal week involve for you besides presenting the show on a matchday?
DB: Basically getting things ready for the show, knowing who we're going to interview, doing interviews. The mundane things as well, making sure we have access and facilities in the ground. As well as just keeping up with the news, making sure we haven't missed anything, there is only myself, Matt and Guillem and so we have to be on the ball because we're competing against alot of other journalists especially the papers and websites. I think we probably, well infact I know, we break more stories than anyone else and that's not just with the football. That's right across the board with the rugby and the other sports we cover as well and that's very important to us.
IB: Some fans have accused the programme of being biased towards reporting on Hull City in recent years. What would you say to these critic's?
DB: (Laughs) It doesn't surprise me, but Hull fans accuse me of supporting Scunthorpe and Grimsby and Grimsby fans accuse me of being biased towards Scunthorpe and Hull. I think the main problem has been since Pearson took over at Hull they've signed more players than anyone else, had more managers than anyone else, moved out of one ground and into another and so there's been more to report. Also you have to understand where the main audience is, Hull is the main audience and Hull is the big City. I think everyone get's a fair crack of the whip though, we want to reflect everyone's views. I think it's just a reflection of us covering all three clubs, there's certainly more Scunthorpe commentaries than there has ever been before. I'm conscious of it though, we want to keep up with all the news and sometimes there is just more news at certain clubs.
IB: Who do you think the key players will be for the Iron this season?
DB: The front two will certainly be important, I've been fairly impressed by Paul Hayes. He has a good touch, pace, awareness and he can finish. Him and Torpey will be key for the Iron this season. I'd like to see Matt Sparrow come on abit, him and Nathan Stanton are great players. I think he (Stanton) still sees himself as a centre half but I certainly see him as a right back. His ability to get back and defend and then also to get forward and attack and get in behind defences is outstanding. I'm very impressed with the way Scunthorpe do things though, the way they bring players through is very impressive, I know that's digressing slightly but basically I'm always looking forward to seeing Hayes.
IB: Is there any position you think the club could do with strengthening?
DB: Not specifically, just in an ideal world they'd have a few more bodies in the squad. I think the team is certainly good enough but they could just do with a bit more back up. Laws has proven that he's usually astute in the loan market though and I'm sure that when the gaps do inevitably begin to appear he'll make good use of the loan market again.
IB: Do you think they'll get promoted?
DB: I think they have a damn good chance. I expect them to at least make the play-offs again this year and I think they'll definately be in the shake up come the end of the season. I do think it's a tougher division this year though. I'm not going to come out and say yes they'll definately get promoted but they'll be up there without a doubt.
IB: Who do you see as the teams to watch out for in Division Three this season?
DB: My dark horses are Swansea because I think Brian Flynn is a very good manager and it's a very tough intimidating place to go. I expect Hull to be there or there abouts. I don't know about Northampton, they've thrown alot of money at it pre-season but I think they could be the Hull City of a couple of seasons ago. Oxford will be up there as well. I'll stick with Swansea though as my dark horses, I think they'll surprise a few people.
IB: Why do you think so few Scunny fans seem to ring in to the phone in?
DB: It seems to have picked up a bit towards the end of last season and the beginning of this season but I don't know. Maybe there's less to talk about in Scunthorpe or Scunthorpe United fans are all shy! We could do with a few more though, we'd love to get more, if nothing else they can always come on and win free match tickets!
IB: Are there any plans for a Scunthorpe United fans forum this season?
DB: We would love to. I wanted to have one last year but it is at the club's end. The chairman wanted Brian to concentrate on the team getting promotion but it was something I really pushed for last season. They're very good, which has been proven at Hull City when we've had them there where they've been very successful. I definately want to do one down at the club though, the restaurant at Glanford Park would be ideal for us. There are plans but there is nothing definate yet.
Our thanks to Burnsy for being so co-operative and giving up his time to let us pester him with our questions. You can hear Burnsy on the sports show on 95.9FM from 1:30pm till 6pm every Saturday as well as any Tuesday's the Iron are in action from 7pm until 10:30pm.