Media: Double Standards - 'My first live game was something of a disaster'

What makes these two cable football presenters tick, what inspires them and how do they stand out from the TV sports crowd?

JAMES RICHARDSON - presenter, Football Italia on Bravo

- What's the best bit about your job?

It has to be doing something I love day after day.

- Which of your rival broadcasters do you like the most (and the least) and why?

I can definitely say I'm a fan of Adrian Chiles. He gets on with the job without trying to create a screen image. He always asks interesting questions and, most importantly, comes across as a nice, down-to-earth guy.

- What distinguishes you from your rivals?

My haircut certainly makes me stand out from the crowd. That, and my ignorance.

- What has been the most exciting football match you've ever been involved in and why?

When Roma beat Inter 5-4 in 1999. It was a mid-week game on a typical Roman night, which I took my mother to.

- How closely do you work with the commercial team at your broadcaster?

Bravo has done a great job with Football Italia. I'm more than happy to promote Bravo and all the coverage of Italian football.

- Do you have a favourite TV ad?

I've been caught out singing along to the Hedgehog ad - "stop, look and listen!". My other favourite has to be the Lynx ad with the armpit fire hydrant - it's a close call!

- Who are your broadcasting heroes?

My heroes have to have the ability to make me crease up, so namely Chris Morris and Steve Coogan. And then there's Monty Python, which is in a class of its own.

- Where did your interest in football come from?

My passion for the beautiful game definitely developed in the playground.

- Who do you support and do you find it hard to be impartial?

Roma all the way. Traditionally their form hasn't caused too much of a problem but with their recent form it is proving a little difficult.

- What has been your most embarrassing on-air cock-up?

My first ever live game was something of a disaster. I was returning to Ray Wilkins, or should I say Ray err, err, err ...

- What's your media diet?

I find a mix of The Guardian newspaper and online version good for news. For football, I generally look at The Guardian football podcast, Bravo Football Italia, Gazzetta Football Italia, La Gazzetta dello Sport and I'm a big fan of Uefa Champions League coverage. For entertainment listings, I rely on Premier Movie Magazine and Time Out.

CLARE TOMLINSON - presenter, Football First on Sky Sports

- What's the best bit about your job?

I love the buzz of live broadcasting. Saturday has always been a special day for me and presenting Football First means I'm across all the live games. I think I'm a rather lucky girl! It's hard to think of one single aspect - except the fact that I'm paid to do my hobby!

- Which of your rival broadcasters do you like the most (and the least) and why?

There are many people in broadcast media I admire and, of course, like most football fans, I grew up watching and enjoying classic shows such as Match of the Day and The Big Match. There's no current "best and worst" for me. And I hate the idea that everyone has to be a "rival".

- What distinguishes you from your rivals?

This season we'll broadcast more than 450 live matches in total, including our 1,000th live match from the Premiership later this season. We cover live football from the cutting edge of the Uefa Champions League to a U-16 home international tournament we sponsor, The Sky Sports Victory Shield. We've also led the way with the interactive options that are now commonplace elsewhere.

- What has been the most exciting football match you've ever been involved in and why?

From a professional point of view, it has to be the England versus Germany qualifier that signalled the end of Kevin Keegan's reign as England manager. He announced his resignation live on Sky Sports in my interview. From a personal point of view, probably the Spurs v Arsenal semi-final of 1991. Tottenham were the underdogs, badly in debt and expected to be summarily dispatched by our North London neighbours. 3 - 1. What a day!

- How closely do you work with the commercial team at your broadcaster?

As presenters we don't have direct dealings with the sales side but it's not a case of never the twain shall meet. We do mix and, as a relatively young company we've all grown up together and realise that our sales people are a vital part of the business. Hopefully the feeling's mutual!

- Do you have a favourite TV ad?

I'm not the biggest fan of them - but I did rather like the one with the Mission: Impossible theme and the squirrel. It was a beer commercial.

- Who are your broadcasting heroes?

I used to love Saint and Greavsie.

- Where did your interest in football come from?

Although my father would rather watch paint dry, my big brother loves football and I just grew up with it from his influence.

- Who do you support and do you find it hard to be impartial?

The mighty Spurs! It's not hard to be impartial when broadcasting - but it is when watching! That's why I have always kept my season ticket and attend as many games as possible, as a fan - so I don't have to mind what I say in the press box or directors' box.

- What has been your most embarrassing on-air cock-up?

Far too many to mention! This is live TV we're doing - it's how you recover that counts.

- What's your media diet?

I tend to read as many newspapers as I can and, if I'm in the office, that's all of them. I watch very little TV unless it's sport. I'm more a books person than magazines.