Re­la­tion­ships

Sib­ling ri­valry makes jour­nal­ists An­gus and Steve Scott good sports.

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My brother is five years older than me. Per­haps that’s where the com­pe­ti­tion started. He was my par­ents’ idea first. He was born first. He got to have a go at things first. He could start his ca­reer, make a name for him­self be­fore I had cleared the univer­sity hur­dle and got on the ca­reer lad­der. But thank good­ness he did. In ret­ro­spect it prob­a­bly was a bit eas­ier get­ting started when your brother, re­spected and con­fi­dent, was mark­ing out a ca­reer in lo­cal jour­nal­ism, and putting the Scott name on the me­dia map. But that was 25 years ago. A quar­ter of a century on, we are both shar­ing a global tele­vi­sion stage. He’s out in Brazil as Sports Edi­tor for the UK’s pre­mier commercial chan­nel ITV with its news oper­a­tion, while I’m fronting be IN Sports’ exclusive cov­er­age of the Fifa World Cup from our stu­dios based in Doha, Qatar.

And would it be fair to say I am a lit­tle jeal­ous of his trip to the Ama­zon, to the beaches of Copaca­bana and the streets of Belo Hor­i­zonte? Just a bit.

But that is the way our lives have al­ways been. Jeal­ousy, re­spect, ri­valry – yes – but above all sup­port for what the other is do­ing.

There were never re­ally dis­cus­sions about be­ing jour­nal­ists, about fol­low­ing the same path on to the air­waves. We were of med­i­cal stock – my Dad a

‘We’d shared fights and foot­ball fan­tasies – now we were ex­chang­ing con­tacts and head­lines’

gen­eral prac­ti­tioner, my mother a theatre nurse. Both Steve and I knew that was never go­ing to be our call­ing, when merely the sight of a nee­dle would send us both run­ning for the sick bag. In the early days the con­ver­sa­tions around the din­ner ta­ble re­volved around flu, car­diac ar­rest and rheuma­toid arthri­tis, rather than why Ed­ward Heath [prime min­is­ter of Great Bri­tain from 1970 to 1974] had taken us into a three-day week.

“Take an as­pirin, drink plenty of wa­ter and go to bed,” would have been heard rather more of­ten than any­thing to do with the Win­ter of Dis­con­tent [the win­ter of 1978–79 in the UK when there were wide­spread strikes by trade unions de­mand­ing larger pay rises].

Maybe it was the daily in­take of BBC Ra­dio 4’s To­day pro­gramme on the way to school that fi­nally sowed the seed that the role of the jour­nal­ist was quite a good one.

Steve started in ra­dio, while I worked in print on news­pa­pers – but we were both in our home town, in Bris­tol in Eng­land’s West Coun­try. We’d shared clothes, fights and foot­ball fan­tasies in the back gar­den – now we were ex­chang­ing con­tacts and head­lines on the look­out for the best sto­ries of the day.

He’d al­ways tried his hard­est to bowl me out while play­ing cricket on the beach in the sum­mer hol­i­days – I’d al­ways tried to be the one to get a goal past him while play­ing foot­ball in the park. It was nat­u­ral sib­ling ri­valry.

We were work­ing the same me­dia patch for two years – me learn­ing from his greater knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence,

him steal­ing the odd phone num­ber from the news agency I was work­ing for at the time. The dis­tri­bu­tion of in­for­ma­tion, it has to be said, was a lit­tle bit one-sided.

Then I started work at the same com­pany as Steve – at the re­gional commercial broad­caster in the city. He was pre­sent­ing news pro­grammes, I was to be a lowly pro­ducer/re­porter.

He ac­tu­ally wasn’t re­ally in­ter­ested in my ar­rival at all. He was far more fas­ci­nated by his young and pretty co-pre­sen­ter. In those days the big­ger the shoul­der pad, the dan­glier the ear­ring, the higher you went. This one was go­ing far. Side by side they sat in the news­room. Side by side they sat on air. In­sep­a­ra­ble.

All those years as a teenager when there was an ar­ray of ladies that came over our doorstep hold­ing hands with my big brother, all I was, was an an­noy­ing lit­tle brother! And here we were again, 10 years on, the pesky lit­tle brother cramp­ing Steve’s style as he and the glam­orous co-pre­sen­ter, Patsy, be­gan their on- and off-air re­la­tion­ship. Del­i­cate hushed whis­pers in the news­room in­ter­rupted by the bounc­ing new boy.

What I didn’t know then was that this was the start of the fu­ture Mr and Mrs Scott, and be­fore long they had both been posted to South Africa. There was now only one Scott in the city, but Steve had this fan­tas­tic job as Africa cor­re­spon­dent for ITN, the main commercial broad­caster in the UK.

It was a phenom­e­nal time for him and them – Nel­son Man­dela was rul­ing South Africa and the coun­try was just about to host the Rugby World Cup. I was stuck in Bris­tol.

He was there, where not just rugby fans were watch­ing – the whole world was watch­ing. Man­dela in a Spring­bok rugby shirt, unit­ing an aparthei­drav­aged na­tion.

T he hand of his­tory was very much on that green jersey and Steve was in the right place at the right time to re­port it all. It re­ally made me want to be there, for the big events – for sport’s iconic epoch-defin­ing mo­ments.

That’s where our tour­na­ment ri­valry started. Who could do the big­ger, the bet­ter tour­na­ment? Who would get the top in­ter­view? Who would put a man­ager re­ally on the spot?

So af­ter South Africa in ’95, the Fifa World Cup in France came around.

That was my turn. My first big tour­na­ment. No sign of big bro there – the stage to my­self! Then Wales for the Rugby World Cup a year later. I was an­chor­ing it for the host broad­caster, Steve nowhere to be seen. Then a se­quence of big tour­na­ments be­tween us, more World Cups, Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships, where it was a case of ei­ther/or – Steve or me.

I knew he wanted to be on the ones I was at, and I was jeal­ously look­ing on at the big names he was in­ter­view­ing when I was left at home. It just seemed to be one or the other Scott, never both.

That was un­til four years ago, when we were fi­nally united in South Africa on the same tour­na­ment, with Steve given the hope­less task of fol­low­ing Eng­land and their dis­mal jour­ney through the com­pe­ti­tion. I was pre­sent­ing Al Jazeera Sport’s first-ever English lan­guage cov­er­age of the event for the Mena re­gion.

Four years on, his role and mine are the same – his task of trav­el­ling with Eng­land even more des­per­ate. At least I am miles away in our lux­u­ri­ous Doha stu­dio and can con­cen­trate on all 32 teams in the tour­na­ment rather than just the mis­ery of hav­ing to watch our na­tional side bow out at the ear­li­est stage for 56 years. He’s there with Roy Hodg­son, Steven Ger­rard and Ra­heem Ster­ling. I’m rub­bing shoul­ders with Kevin Kee­gan, Michel Sal­gado and David Moyes.

Fronting cov­er­age and reporting it are two very dif­fer­ent beasts. Steve is bril­liantly com­fort­able do­ing what he is do­ing. I hope to try and carry off the same level of con­fi­dence in what I do in the stu­dio. You have to when you know a lot of people are watch­ing.

It was quite stag­ger­ing to think that 163 mil­lion people were glued to the chan­nel four years ago when Spain beat Hol­land in the fi­nal in Jo­han­nes­burg.

Steve is just a ter­rific jour­nal­ist. One of those old-fash­ioned hacks who not only scents a story but writes well too. I have learned so much from him as we’ve shared notes, quotes and con­tacts over the years.

Oth­ers too in the re­gion have shown me the way. OSN’s Jim Rosen­thal was a col­league of mine in the UK for nearly 15 years. No one could ask a ques­tion as con­cisely as Jim, and still can’t. He’s the mas­ter of that trick.

But Steve will al­ways be the one I ad­mire, and not just be­cause he’s my brother. Our paths have moved in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, but al­most ended up at the same place. I’d like to think one day we’ll be in the same stu­dio work­ing for the same com­pany. We have done so in the past; I re­mem­ber a re­hearsal for a pro­gramme we pre­sented to­gether ended up in fits of gig­gles, un­able to read au­tocue, very im­ma­ture, but just the way we used to muck around as kids. I’m not sure the gallery and stu­dio floor found it funny, but we did. It would be nice to do that again.

But at the mo­ment we are ge­o­graph­i­cally miles apart, though with the same aim, and the same good for­tune that has brought us to the top of our pro­fes­sion. I don’t think our mum and dad an­tic­i­pated that.

An­gus, left, with Steve

An­gus on the set of his sports show

RE­LA­TION­SHIP

An­gus and for­mer English foot­baller Steve McMana­man pose with the Pre­mier­ship tro­phy in 2007

The ITV team, from back left, John Barnes, An­gus Scott, Clive Tyldes­ley, Matt Smith, Andy Townsend, Barry Veni­son, Gabby Lo­gan and Rob­bie Earle

An­gus says many great jour­nal­ists have shown him the way

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