David Freezer: A new role at an exciting time for all connected to Norwich City
PUBLISHED: 08:24 27 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:24 27 July 2019
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It's not just Norwich City relishing the Premier League challenge this season, as I proudly begin a new role for the Eastern Daily Press, Norwich Evening News and Pinkun.com next week.
My long-time colleague Michael Bailey is moving on to his own new challenge and that's prompted a bit of a reshuffle here at Archant Towers. So, as of Monday, I'll be taking on the role of Chief Norwich City Reporter.
Having worked closely with Michael and Paddy Davitt, our Group Football Editor, for over five years it's a change which I'm hoping will allow for a smooth transition so that we can continue covering all that's important to Canaries fans.
To begin with, I'd like to pay tribute to the excellent work Michael has contributed to our team during his 12 years or so. I've learned a great deal from him, shared many laughs and battled furiously with internet connections at stadiums around the country.
The first time I met Michael was when I was on work experience with the sports desk of the EDP and Evening News in 2008, during my final year studying sports journalism at Staffordshire University.
Eleven years later and together we've reported on four managers, two Premier League relegations, play-off final glory at Wembley, last season's brilliant title triumph and all the highs and lows in between.
So as much as it was a sad to say goodbye to Michael on Friday, on a personal level I'm proud and excited to be taking on a more senior role in our Canaries coverage - and confident I'm ready for the responsibility.
Michael Bailey: Be it Norwich City or Norfolk sport - thank you for the ride
If you'll indulge me for a few minutes, here's a little bit about my journey up to this point.
I'm a proud north Norfolk boy whose relationship with our local newspapers was balanced between a football mad youngster eagerly consuming all he could find on football and discovering how heavy the Saturday editions were during my years of delivering the papers.
Thanks to some patient tutors at Paston College in North Walsham, I did enough to get a place at university and it was off to Stoke to continue chasing the dream of working as a football reporter, having long since realised that I wouldn't be making it as a professional sportsman of any type.
After a few stints of work experience I managed to secure an extended spell with the EDP as I experimented with the earliest incarnation of the Pink Un podcast.
Over a decade later, the show continues to go from strength to strength and we'll be looking to make sure we bring you a Premier League standard podcast every Monday throughout this season. If you're not already a subscriber then please do give it a try.
Fortunately I was able to secure a job in sports journalism just a few months after graduating and I spent over two years at the Scunthorpe Telegraph, moving to a town I knew little about to get my first break into the industry.
During that time I covered Scunthorpe United in League One and the Championship, including two Wembley finals, of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and the League One play-offs, as well as the local rugby club in a Twickenham final and with plenty of speedway meetings in the mix as well.
That gave me my break and allowed me to return home to take on a trainee news role in December 2010, really stepping up my industry training to gain senior status in 2013, covering all sorts: from people celebrating 100th birthdays and reporting on local issues in the House of Commons, to crown court cases and interviewing actors including John Hurt and Michael Palin.
All of which allowed me to return to sport in November 2013, taking in all manner of local sport through to the start of the 2017-18 season, when I started covering the Canaries home and away.
It's been quite the ride so far and all before my 33rd birthday, so I'm certain there's plenty more to come. It's rarely dull down at Carrow Road but through all the changes to journalism in the last 20 years, I'm confident you can still turn to our coverage knowing that we'll have as many of the NCFC bases covered as we can manage.
All of which I hope qualifies me aptly to appreciate the responsibility which comes with the privilege of covering City. From my days in the River End as a child and the Barclay as a teenager, I've seen so much happen to our local club in my lifetime and can't wait to see what comes next.
I'll continue to keep working as hard as possible to cover what's happening to the Canaries, from good, bad and everything in between, as so many excellent reporters have before me.
In that spirit, if there are areas of our coverage that you would like to see improved, do get in touch. We're busy boys on the sports desk but I do my best to get back to emails, so firstname.lastname@example.org is the address you need to know, or send a letter to Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.
It's on to Luton today as City step up their Premier League preparations and I'm already counting down the days until it all gets under way at Anfield. So roll on 8pm, on Friday, August 9...