Bentleys's Roof The Ian Stringer Interview.
By truro12
Friday 10 Jun 2011 17:28:00
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Love him or loathe him, Ian Stringer has left an indelible mark on BBC Radio Leicester listeners over the last few seasons. Forming a formidable double act with former City striker Alan Young, the pair have provided a passionate and compelling soundtrack to City’s turbulent seasons, with relegations, promotions and numerous managerial changes, the thirty-year-old father of two has shared some memorable interviews with Foxes followers, now’s it’s our turn to ask the questions.

Taking time out of a busy schedule to speak to Bentley’s Roof, Ian talks to us about his youth, how he came to be commentating on his beloved Leicester City for BBC Radio and most importantly, what confectionary he would use to construct The Kop.

The son of an Army chef and born in Blackpool, Ian grew up off Beaumont Leys Lane, achieving 8 GCSEs before moving down South. Jobs as a electrical store manager and software salesman, plus some part-time radio work, were the foundation for an ambitious twenty-six-year-old Ian Stringer who jacked it all in to chance his arm on BBC’s The Apprentice. The three week stint in series four ended with Ian at a crossroads in his life, but the man who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “loser” soon found his feet, landing the dream job of commentating on Leicester City for The BBC.

We caught up with Ian after another gruelling Bentleys Roof F.C. training session at St. Margaret’s Pastures.

BR: You’ve mentioned that you were born in Blackpool, but call yourself as a Beaumont Leys boy, what was your story as a kid?

IS: It's a long and painful one for me. Here's the short version - My Dad was in the British Army, stationed close to Blackpool at the time my Mum was full-term, that's the reason I was born there. My Mum, Dad and immediate family are all from Leicester, we were simply away because of my Dad's job.

After short spells in Catterick and Gibraltar (and divorce for my parents) my Mum and I returned to Leicester, just off Beaumont Leys Lane in a council house, I loved it. We moved to the other side of leafy Beaumont Leys when I was 6. Near Beaumont Lodge Primary School. Following that, the carnage began. I'll save that for another day. I left Leicester (for various reasons) when I was 13 but would return twice before settling in Coalville where I am now.

BR: You’re obviously a passionate Leicester fan. What are your earliest memories of the Foxes?

IS: Boxing Day 1985 - I only remember the cold and the fact I was with most of my family, a rare occasion. Following that there were many years sitting on top of the lawnmower box in pen 4 of The Kop whilst my Dad stood at the back. These years were very humble for the club but I loved them. The smells, sights and honest football were great. Then in the 90s, we became a good side, strange days indeed.

A junior fox, mascot, member, season ticket holder and away travelling fan from time to time. I fell in love with Leicester City as a young boy. You only get one club. My 4 year old son Owen is a little City fan these days. The family tradition has to continue when you're a Foxes fan, we don't grow on trees and you have to get in there before the plastic clubs get their claws in.

Ian’s Favourite player: Steve Claridge. Those 2 goals alone, wow.

Favourite goal: 1996, Claridge in the last knockings. Euphoria.


BR: What was your path to Radio Leicester? Your Apprentice days are pretty well documented but how did you get from school/college to The Walkers Stadium?

IS: I was living on my own at the age of 17 after my Dad's job as a pub landlord took him away, again. College was tough for a young lad with no family within 100 miles of Godstone in Surrey, living in a pub, not old enough to drink and trying to maintain a long-term relationship.




It failed, as did I. I was forced to leave college as my part-time job was taken away due to “legal changes within the industry” and I got a job at Dixons, I moved through the managerial system, into training, and was head-hunted by a software company before selling lots of 3D software. Meanwhile, I'd previously won a commentary competition on Radio One on my 21st birthday and won a trip to the FA Cup final before getting a job on the phones at Three Counties Radio Sport.
When the Wycombe Wanderers reporter was dropped, I was asked to fill in, excelled and was given the gig. They taught me to read bulletins and present programmes but I only worked there one day a week. Looking to kick-start things, I resigned from both jobs and went on The Apprentice, but after 3 weeks I found myself jobless, homeless, accused of adultery (wrongly might I add), divorced and disowned. I'm not after sympathy at all; this is my path to my current role.

When the job at Radio Leicester came up, I applied and was the best show-reel/interview on the day and the rest is history. I continue to strive to learn. I have a lot to learn but have a rich desire to be the best broadcaster I can be. The fact I'm reporting on my home-club is a dream come true.


BR: More recently, your time around the Club has coincided with something of a rollercoaster. How would you describe it?

IS: The transition from Milan Mandaric to the Raksriaksorn family has been great for the club in my opinion. Milan guided the club from League 1, having been at the helm when they were relegated to the 3rd tier for the first time in their history, but the Thai owners are warm, friendly and want the best for the club, that's certain. There is some stability at the moment and long may that continue.



Dealing with changes at the club is tough. I strive to be first with news for our audience and that means staying close to contacts within the industry, without exposing them and putting their position in jeopardy. Many hours on the phone, keeping things off the record when asked, but requesting some content as and when it's needed. Being a local reporter is a very difficult balancing act.

BR: The new owners seem very ambitious, and appear to be walking the walk. Where do you see us in two years time?

IS: I see Leicester City in The Premier League within the next 2 years. The owners are investing on and off the field. I hope they see the fruits of their labour in the years to come as it will continue to feed their love for the club. The Raksriaksorn family are very successful in South East Asia and I think Leicester City will achieve in its own right, as well as increasing brand awareness in Thailand. This can only be a good thing for the club as more fans = more exposure for a forward thinking club.

BR: What do you make of Sven-Göran Eriksson?

IS: Sven is a true gent and a great manager, in his hands the squad will develop and move forward. Leicester City is improving as a club and us as fans will be there through thick and thin, that's for sure. Given what's going on, I don't plan on leaving Radio Leicester anytime soon. There's a huge story which is in it's infancy at the moment and I'm enjoying reporting on it. Let the good times roll.

BR: Great story Ian, but I know that some of the regulars on “The Roof” will be wanting to know the important things: For example, what’s your favourite cheese?

IS: My favourite cheese has to be a bit of Roulé. Cheese cheese cheese cheese cheese!

BR: What CD have you got in the car?

IS: Bruno Mars
 
BR: If a model of Filbert Street was made with confectionary, what would you use for the Double Decker?

IS: I'd use a Boost. Not quite as hardcore as a Mars or Snickers, that would be The Kop. A more sedate Boost. The more you have, the nicer it becomes. The East stand would be a Chomp, family stand a Curly Wurly and the members stand would be made of chocolate covered Werthers.

Sounds like Hansel & Gretal. Let’s hope that Leicester’s, and Ian’s, fairy stories end with as sweet an ending! Thanks Ian.

You can keep up with Ian through the summer on BBC Radio Leicester, while more avid fans can following Ian on Twitter @IanStringerBBC.

Ian ran alongside The Birch for his 31st Annual End-Of-Season ordeal in aid of The Teenage Cancer Trust. Any of you with any change left after Bentley’s Roof (http://www.justgiving.com/BentleysRoofFunday) have finished rattling our LOROS bucket can donate at www.justgiving.com/birch2011.





  


Images used by kind permission of www.Ianstringer.co.uk



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