After the record amount of complaints (since records began) to ofcom with regards to the recently aired ‘The Z Factor: The Final’, we at the Bi-Player channel would like to take this opportunity to point the finger of blame entirely and unequivocally in the direction of Malcolm Glazer and Red Fergie. Thank you.
Now, as scheduled we present, next , on the Bi-Player, Red Fergie’s Bife Stories. We’re contractually obliged to have him present this show, however rest assured he has been heavily sedated. Enjoy!
Och, many of us know Steph Doehler as the boss of Football United Blogs but what else do we know?
Och! What I want to find oot is a bit more aboot Steph the person behind the blog, behind the twitter avatar…
As part of the title sequence Red Fergie is now supposed to walk around a bit in the dark, but the drugs he’s been administered with mean he is unable to perform this simple function.
Just before we get started, I’ve just got a little bone to pick wee yer, Steph. Now apparently yoo were the one that encouraged our boss Brett to start blogging by allowing him to contribute to FUB…Och, Look I’ll slip yer a tenner after the show if yer can help me come up with a way of, I don’t know, discouraging him. I mean have you read our site recently? For christs sake…
…*cough* Och, anyway, we’ll speak after, so, hello Steph, welcome to the show. It’s a pleasure to have yoo here. How’s the site going?
Hi, good thanks, we’ve got some great writers on board for it. It can be quite time consuming at times but really enjoyable so no complaints!
Och, there it is, great stuff…One of our researchers found oot from a bit of digging around that despite only starting the site in October 2010 your hit rate matches many of the more establishes United blogging sites. What do yer think’s the key to that?
I think it’s a case of keeping it interesting. There are some great United sites out there, all of which try to be different to the rest and in turn, we often end up being the same! But I guess it’s finding different opinions and running with those. I think having the online magazine makes moves us away from being purely an information service.
And have yoo learnt a few things along the way?
At one point we were writing two or three a day with regular updates but after a while it came to me that we don’t need to do that. People would much prefer to just go on the official website for that. It’s similar with match reports. We recently stopped doing match reports as there are so many places you can read them, instead we do match autopsies now which go through the main talking points from the match. So I guess that’s it really – keeping the website interesting, full of debate and opinionated.
Och, the numpties who run this site, just seem to specialise in nonsense. I don’t get it at all. Anyhoo…Okay, so yoo were born in 1986 in Worcester in the West Midlands and Redditch is where yoo grew up with yer two older brothers. Was that tough? I know how bloody annoying siblings can be, but two boys…?
They were a bit older than me, five and seven, so I guess it was tougher on them than it was on me. By the time I was mobile and could speak I just wanted to do whatever they did. So I always tried to play football with them, play hide and seek, computer games and so on.
Och and they let yoo join in? Doesnae sound like any young boys I know…
I’d sometimes be allowed to play football though invariably play the role of a goalpost, whilst watching them! I’d be left up trees or find myself hiding for ages on top of the shed because instead of coming to find me they’d gone in to play on their Amstrad or Master System!
All in all we got on fairly well. We had the obvious sibling arguments but nothing major and they had their nice moments from time to time like building me Lego houses to play or letting me play on the computer games. So it wasn’t all a massive trauma!
Och, yer softies yer! One second, I’ve just got something in my eye. And the rest of your family…I understand your dad was a Baggies fan and he got yoo into football, taking you to matches and that. Going to West Brom matches in the late 80’s early 90’s when they were experiencing one of their worst slumps in their history must have been fun?
It was a mixture really of him and my brothers getting me into football – my mum hates the sport! I would have gone to my first Baggies game when I was around seven I think. I think they were playing Southend and won 2-0. There was a minute’s silence, can’t remember why, and I asked my dad what was going on. Lots of people looked round at me.
Heh, Did your dad expect you to be a baggies fan?
In terms of who I supported, my dad never really pushed me to support West Brom at all. I think maybe because I was the only girl he wasn’t that bothered about who I supported because he presumed I’d grown out of it.
Och, I think we’ve got a picture yoo took of a West Brom game yoo went to with yer Dad recently…
Yeah, I took him for his Birthday.
Och, obvious question, it’s on the autocue. So, how did you choose United?
I copied my best friend at school. He was called Luke and he’s a United fan – his family is from Manchester so it was an obvious choice for him. It was just before Leeds won the old First Division so I wasn’t that old. I just went home one day and told him I supported United and he didn’t really react. Sadly it was one of my brothers who reacted the worst because by this point he was quite a staunch Liverpool fan and still is.
I’m not sure why my dad didn’t push West Brom more onto him but for whatever reason, I guess them being the team of the 80’s, he chose Liverpool.
What did yer brother think aboot yoo choosin United?
I remember he didn’t speak to me for a couple of days after I told him I had chosen United. I think even now one of the many reasons why Liverpool are, for me, the most hated rivals is partly because he supports them. I must admit I don’t often tell people he supports them!
Och, I don’t blame yer. Now, your dad’s side of the family is German. Hence the name Doehler. Is that right?
It was my granddad who was German, he fought in WWII and became a prisoner of war and stayed in England.
Wow. How do you feel like that impacted on your upbringing? Were you aware that other people or children may have been looking at you as different because of your German heritage? Kids can find the slightest thing to pick up on and use…
I never had any bullying in the slightest for it. Sadly my granddad died shortly after I was born so I never really got to know the German side of the family particularly well and even now I’ve only ever met a couple of them. Therefore I still have the same rivalry most English people have towards the Germans!
Heh…And yer mother’s side were Irish. What influence has that had on yoo, if any?
I learnt a bit about Gaelic football from them and used to get the latest Dublin Gaelic football shirt whenever I went out, as they live just outside Dublin, in Dun Laoghaire. But more than anything my cousins chatted to me about rugby. I’d never had much experience of rugby before because neither my dad nor brothers were into it.
Och, so do you support the Irish rugby team or English?
When I started watching it later in life I started supporting Ireland – for no reason other than the fact that I’m sure I’d have never got into it if they didn’t talk about it. I have that affiliation with what they taught me. I think it’s sometimes ironic that the only sport England have been world champions in, in my lifetime, is a sport I don’t follow them in!
The people of Ireland tend to be a particularly religious bunch. Did yoo find that and did you find it shaped the way yoo were brought up?
Yes, some of the family are quite religious, Catholic but that never really affected us. Despite my granddad’s not being English, both my grandmothers were, so we were more Christian, I guess, than anything else. All three of us were christened but we aren’t practicing or anything.
Phew. Thought I’d have to watch my cusses! How did the young Steph get on at school? Were yoo a model pupil or were yoo a bit of a mischief maker?
I was one of those students who was just a run of the mill kid really. I did pretty well, but not excellent. I loved English and PE, and did pretty well in maths.I Hated Science. But in general I was alright – I could be talkative and mess around from time to time but I wasn’t naughty.
Och, so, no all out war with any teachers?
I always got on well with my teachers and still speak to a couple of them now so I guess I can’t have been that bad!
Och, I guess not, hey. So, yoo took PE further and did a degree in PE and Sports Studies at the University of Worcester from 2004-07…
A very nice place, and this is also where yoo met Rachel who as we all know is the co-editor of the Football UB fanzine. How did University suit yer?
I loved Uni, it was one of the best experiences of my life!
Did yoo have a clear idea of where your future career was heading?
I went there fully expecting to do my PGCE after it and become a secondary school PE teacher. But in my second year I had a few placements and figured out that perhaps actual teaching wasn’t for me. I liked the idea of lecturing but didn’t think much of it. Then, when I graduated, a job came up at one of the college’s in Worcester and that’s where I am now for the time being!
Och, well I’m sure we’re all keen to hear more Steph, but we’re just going to take a wee short break. Back after the ads. Why not stick the kettle on hey?
Och welcome back! We’re still here with Steph Doehler and having a good chat aboot, well her. So, Steph, following on after Uni yoo got a job at a local college running the sport centre, where students had their lessons, which must have been the perfect stepping stone?
It was. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a lecturing job just off the back of my degree but this was a brilliant position to gain experience in that environment and then do the additional qualification needed to teach, which I did!
Och, How did yoo fit it all in?
It was hard work doing a full time job and my qualifications but it was really 18 months and it has kind of set up my career. I did a Masters in Sports History, which I don’t actually need to have in order to lecture, but I always wanted to do one and then as I was winding down from that I started my PGCE which I finished last July.
Still, a big workload…
Luckily I’m quite organised so managed to keep on top of it all just about!
And so now yoo are?
Since August 2011 I’ve been a Personal Tutor. So I deal with all the pastoral care for the Sports students and run their tutorial programme – which means I have to do all sorts of sessions on personal development, careers, Uni, study skills and so on.
According to this your moving soon?
I am moving in March, I’ve recently got a full time lecturing job at a college near Northampton.
Are yoo moving in with friends? Getting on the property ladder or just finding yourself a bachelor pad kitting it out with your Xbox and Sky Sports?
Although we do have Sky Sports and a PS3 so it sounds like a bachelor pad! I’ll be moving in with my partner.
Love’s young dream, hey?…Folks, come on, Jeez! Full time lecturer yoo say, ruddy hell. Quite a responsibility?
Haha yes, scary! I’ve been teaching on a smaller scale for two years so it’s nothing new, it’ll just be different doing it day in, day out. But I’m really looking forward to it.
Away from the career side of things and your involvement with the website. Do yoo play any sports yourself? Sport, from what you’ve answered so far, plays a big part in your life…
I have played a number of sports in my time, but my main sports growing up were hockey and football. This turned into just hockey once I got to Uni and since. I haven’t played in the last year however for a number of reasons: I was finding I had a lot of neck and shoulder problems, plus with the website and fanzine demands and going up to the football quite regularly.
Och, I think we have a picture of yoo in action…
When I move I think I’ll probably take it up again next season. I’m a naturally very competitive person and I really miss that side of it. That said I’ve always been quite a laid back, almost lazy, player, think Berba…
…but I play in defence. So I quite literally stop forwards getting past me and pass the ball forward. I’m no hockey equivalent of Phil Jones, darting into the opposition’s box!
Och a fan! So, as you’ve played a bit of footy yourself. What do yoo think aboot the women’s game? I think I’ve heard yoo say you’re not that keen? What do yoo think could be done to improve it? Or do yoo think it’s just what it is?
I think it’s a vicious circle. It won’t be improved until more money is pumped into it and built up the profile but then again people probably don’t want to put money into it because it’s not particularly big, compared to the men’s game.
My main dislike for it though is probably similar to most people’s – when you’re so used to the men’s game, watching the women’s is so much slower and boring. I know that probably sounds really bad but I just don’t think I’ll ever be interested.
Have yoo been ter any games?
I’ve been to a women’s FA Cup final and was pretty underwhelmed, it certainly wasn’t like being in the Stretford End! I used to watch some of my friends play sometimes and that was good but I guess it’s different when you actually know the people playing.
Och, okay, fer enough. We won’t mention the United womens team. hey. Back to yoo again, growing up around Brum, did it influence your musical tastes? Got any two-tone on your I-pod?
Not even remotely! My dad and brothers, again(!), influenced it more growing up. So at a young age I loved the likes of Guns n’ Roses, the Wildhearts, the Beatles and even Chris de Burgh, thanks dad!
What aboot your own tastes you’ve picked up?
As I think most girls did who grew up in the 90s, I went through a boyband phase too – so Westlife, Boyzone, East 17 and so on.
Och! All the best stuff, hey? Yoo should have stuck with Chris…No laugh for that? Suit yourselves…
Nowadays it’s reverted back to being a bit more rock based, Oasis, Coldplay, The Killers…basically anything you’d hear on Kerrang.
Och, again not a popular choice with our audience…Yoo lot are wicked! Let’s move on. You’re also a keen gamer. What games would we expect to find yoo playing in your non-bachelor-bachelor pad? Let me guess Footy Manager?
I deliberately haven’t bought the latest Football Manager because I have a tendency to become quite consumed by it so I haven’t played that in some time.
Football management is the hardest game in the world, let me tell yoo…
Currently, I’m playing the latest Uncharted on the PS3, it’s brilliant! I can’t wait until the new GTA comes out though.
I think we’ve got a picture of that I don’t know why…
Och, apparently we’re charging Naughty Dog an arm and a leg for the plug and the invoice is in the post. Oh, I wasn’t supposed to *cough*…So, what does the year ahead and beyond look like for yoo? As a lover of travelling you’re going to Prague in April?
That’s right, Prague in April. I’ve never been there before, but heard really good things about it.
And apparently you’d love to go travelling across America?
America is my dream place. I’ve been over a couple of times but only to New York and New Jersey so I’d love to spend some real quality time exploring all the states and learning about all the different cultures. It would be fantastic…Of course what stops most of us achieving our dreams is money. So maybe that’ll be one for the future!
Well I hope so! That’s aboot it by my watch. Someone in my ear, is telling me my tranquilisers are wearing off. I’d just like to thank Steph, it’s been an absolute pleasure and our wonderfully soppy studio audience. What are your thoughts for the rest of the season Steph?
It’s going to be a difficult, yet exciting second half of the season. We have a really tough couple of weeks now with Chelsea and Liverpool away, not to mention the ties against Ajax. We also still have the likes of Spurs and City away too – so it’s not going to be easy. But then again, we never like to do things the easy way! We will be there or thereabouts at the end but I think injuries will play a part in who wins the league. We’ve had a difficult start to the season with so many but I think if we can get everyone, bar Vida, back fighting fit it’ll be a battle to the end.
That would be very nice. Thanks for your time Steph. If yoo didn’t catch those links earlier or click on any icons then Steph’s site is www.football-united-blogs.com and yoo can follow her on Twitter at @Stephdoehler! Good night everybody!