Adam Bate | Football Journalist with Sky Sports

Hi Adam, thank you for taking the time to speak to us today. Can you tell our readers about yourself, what you currently do and how did you end up where you are right now?

I have been a football journalist with Sky Sports for over a decade now, initially working in the Leeds office before moving to London. Since the pandemic, I have been based in the Midlands where I grew up. My main role is to write features and do interviews for Sky’s digital platforms but I also cover games and contribute to our podcasts.

When did you know you wanted to work in football?

Football had always been an obsession but I didn’t think that journalism was for me, hence going into accountancy. It was not that I couldn’t write, I enjoyed constructing arguments in essays. I just felt that I lacked the confidence to knock on doors or pick up the phone, elements that seemed to be at the core of the job. I got over that when I became desperate.

As a Football Journalist with Sky Sports, what does an average week look like for you?

I have just been back to London to do a couple of days in the office for the first time in two years, meeting some new colleagues for the first time and catching up with old ones.

What are the most enjoyable and difficult parts of your role?

Covering tournaments is great and I try not to forget how lucky I am to attend big games. I have not done a World Cup final but I have ticked off all the other big ones, I think. I suppose it is a bit like being a wedding photographer except that you really are witnessing the best days of people’s lives.

You’ve interviewed many professional football players and managers in your time! Any that stand out, you wish to share?

I am very fortunate to work for Sky given the access that we have. For example, it occurred to me the other day that I have done five one-on-one interviews with Pep Guardiola in 18 months and there are many more talented journalists who would love those opportunities.

Who are your favourite journalists at the moment and what do you think it is that makes them so brilliant?

I don’t really view them as favourites, it’s more of a pathological jealousy that eats away at my very soul. I would love to have Jonathan Liew’s turn of phrase but it is beyond me. Michael Cox’s knack for reading a game would be useful. It would be nice to write with the empathy of Stuart James or Daniel Storey. I long for Kate Burlaga’s ability to craft an interview. The job would be easier if Alex Bysouth and Robert Kidd stopped writing pieces that I wanted to write before I knew that I wanted to write them.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would that be?

I do think the industry is still quite London-centric at a time when that makes less sense than ever. I suppose that ties in with issues of gender and race in that there are still entire communities of people for whom a career in journalism feels impossible. That is a huge loss.

What general advice would you give to those individuals looking to pursue a career in football journalism — what are the key skills needed?

Any advice from my personal experience would probably be out of date because the industry changes. If I had listened to the advice telling me to do five years of court reporting on my local paper before thinking of writing about sport then I would have missed out. But I think the principles of working hard, being determined and reliable will always hold true.

Working in sport can be hectic, so what do you do to switch off outside of work?

Travel is important to me so I’m glad that the world is opening up again. I have a couple of city breaks booked and a golf weekend lined up with friends. I have just bought a house in the same village as my sister so my nieces keep me busy too. This job can be all consuming but Sky are a fantastic employer and they do their best to help with the work-life balance.

And finally Adam, where can people find you on social media to connect?

I am on Twitter as @ghostgoal — which is a relic of my old blog of the same name and serves as a useful reminder to me of where this journey started.



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