From Abu Dhabi to Cyprus via Manchester

I HAVEN’T had a great deal of time to blog over the last few days, largely due to trying to keep pace with the utterly surreal goings on at Manchester City. Oh, and also because I was being interviewed on Cypriot radio.

Long-time readers of this blog will know all about my tendency to pop up in foreign media outlets saying nothing of any great value in English. My appearances on Swedish television and Faroese radio have become the stuff of legend, at least in my own head.

Nothing, though, prepared me for the experience I faced this lunchtime, when I received a phone call from a very pleasant chap in Cyprus asking me if I would be prepared to appear live discussing City’s forthcoming UEFA Cup tie against Omonia Nicosia – even though a) I don’t speak Greek, and b) I don’t know very much about Omonia.

So naturally, I agreed.

I was put through to the studio, to be greeted by a presenter talking 19 to the dozen in Greek. Surely he wasn’t going to interview me in Greek as well?

Alas, no. Having introduced me to his listeners, the presenter started talking to me in English about the proposed takeover of the club by the Abu Dhabi United Group. Still, this was going out live. What was I to do? Should I answer in English, but attempt a Steve McClaren comedy-style accent in the hope that this would make me easier to understand?

I was tempted, I can tell you.

In the end, I answered in my normal accent, but speaking very slowly, as if I were an English tourist in Magaluf asking one of the locals for directions to the nearest petrol station. Having given a long, wordy and perhaps even insightful answer to the question on City’s new-found wealth, the presenter replied:

“OK, I am now going to have to translate your answer for our listeners. Stay on the line; I will be back with you in a moment.”

And the interview continued in this vein for the best part of 10 minutes. The presenter would ask me a question in English, I would answer it in English and then he relayed my answer to his listeners in Greek.

What on earth the listeners made of this, I have no idea. But I found it baffling to listen to, even though I was the only one who had the faintest clue what I was going on about. I have to praise the presenter, for managing to conduct an interview in two languages – and putting up with my waffly answers – without going mad.

Interview done, it’s now time for me to get back to work and discover whether there are any players left in the world for City to be linked with buying.

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