December 11 2020 – Mitchell Grimes
Hey Paul! Firstly could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background in football?
I’ve always been a massive football lover. I started playing at the age of six and remember many many sleepless nights watching World Cups, Euros and leagues across Europe with my dad. It was always my goal to work in sports media and specifically football and I was lucky enough to land a job at Fox Sports back in 2011. From there I worked in the football department for eight years, before moving onto Optus Sport where I have been now for almost three years.
I am a Newcastle United fan which certainly has had it’s ups and downs over the years. I thank my grandfather for that as I didn’t have a choice who I supported. As a kid watching Alan Shearer in his prime was pretty special.
For those who aren't aware of your work at Optus Sport are you able to tell us a bit about what you do behind the scenes?
I work at Optus Sport as a Senior Producer. Behind the scenes I am responsible for making sure all our studio broadcasts tick from the control room which still to this day is a massive thrill. Our presenters and pundits get the joy (I hope) of hearing me talk to them in their ear and steer them in the right direction as the broadcast goes on. I also get to work across our feature stories which means I get to meet some awesome characters from across the football community in Australia. There are some super passionate and amazing people involved in our great game which is what makes football so unique and special.
What does the future hold for yourself and Optus Sport? Anything coming up that we can look forward to?
I’ve been lucky enough in the last three years to work on the World Cup, the Women’s World Cup, Champions League and Premier League. Hopefully in the future I get to keep working on the big games and bringing the coverage to the viewers at home. I feel pretty privileged to get to watch football and share it with people for a living.
In the next few months we have the Euros coming up which will be epic! Not to mention, another Champions League knockout stage, a manic finish to the end of a crazy Premier League season and the Women’s Super League which is exciting watching all the Matildas show their stuff on the global scale, so there is plenty of awesome football to come going into 2021.
Beyond that, you never know! Keep your eyes peeled.
Can you give us some of your favourite memories that your work has given you?
For me there have been some pretty unbelievable memories that you pinch yourself and go wow I got to work on that game.
The two Champions League Semi Finals in 2018/19 do stand out as they were out of a fantasy novel. Seeing Liverpool and Tottenham come back from the dead on consecutive days was incredible. I can’t imagine we will see anything as crazy as that for a long time.
At the time being in the control room is a tad stressful as you have to chop and change things so fast, but when the adrenaline settles it’s awesome to look back on.
Tell us a bit about your collection? (when it started, how many kits etc)
I think being a kid playing football there was always something thrilling about rocking up to training with a new kit. My dad also travelled a lot for work when I was a teenager and from time to time he would bring back a kit from wherever he had been. There was always this excitement to see what he’d come back with. Over the years I guess that feeling has continued. Keeping across the kit culture is fascinating for me. Seeing the clubs designs, thought process and inspirations for kits is a unique part of the game. Beyond that seeing the kits of yesteryear brings back memories of your own life, growing up and watching the game you love. In my collection at the moment I am up to 68 kits (both club and international kits) and hopefully that will continue to grow. Luckily my better half supports the addiction!
Which Kit have you chosen for your MY KIT? (Pick fav kit you own)
I have chosen the 2002/03 Denmark kit as my favourite kit. It only very narrowly beats out one of the (many) Newcastle United kits in the collection.
What is it about this kit that connects with you?
It holds a special memory for me as it was the first I bought for myself on a family holiday when I was 15. I was in Copenhagen and recall being so excited to have a fresh European kit.
Which player/s immediately comes to mind when you look at the kit?
I immediately remember players like John Dahl Tomasson, Dennis Rommedahl and Thomas Sorensen (who I now get to work with) when I look at the kit. I kind of feel Denmark was one of those sides that everyone loved even as a neutral football fan. I think the kit is a cracker as it’s just a simple, old school classic.
Favourite Footballing Memory In this Kit?
I was lucky enough to catch a game at Parken Stadium as a teenager while on that same holiday with my dad, so there was that cool feeling of seeing the players wearing the kit I had got a hold of that makes it special now almost 20 years later.