If you’ follow football, the chances are you’re a fan of The Football Ramble Podcast.
Founded in 2007 around a kitchen table by friends Marcus Speller and Luke Moore, the fortnightly show switched to weekly in 2009, by which time the original duo had been joined by comedian Jim Campbell and Absolute Radio DJ Pete Donaldson.
The show soon reached number 1 in the iTunes sports podcast chart and is now released twice weekly with over 65 million downloads!
“I remember we had a bottle of champagne because we had 3,000 listeners, which seems insane now,” recalls Jim.
Luke adds: “For me, I realised people were listening when we booked out a pub on the Saturday or a Sunday. We basically said we would put the football on all day in the pub and whoever wants to come can. It was absolutely rammed!”
So what’s the attraction of four blokes talking about football?
“Saying we are just ‘four mates in a room’ I see as a little patronising,” says Luke. “But it’s a credit to us that we can make it look like we are relaxed and we have just waltzed in from a night out and are just having a laugh.”
And Jim insists: “We’re not just four blokes down the pub talking about the game. We work harder to be more interesting than that.
“What I like about the format that makes it a bit different from those mainstream things is that we are free to talk about playing headers and volleys over the park and the stupid side of football. In most mainstream football media that’s the ‘and finally’ and we can go ‘but first’ and I think that is a crucial difference and for me is the most enjoyable thing about our podcast.”
Marcus adds: “It’s almost like when you see the lead singer of an indie band and it looks like they have just got out of bed, an awful lot of work has gone into that look. For us it’s important to be well-informed but also have a bit of bloody fun.”
Fans can certainly expect more than four blokes talking about football when their live tour hits town – the foursome insist The Football Ramble Live Tour is definitely not just the podcast in your local theatre.
“Videos, games, nuclear-level messing about and a wealth of football-related daftness sounds about right,” explains Pete, with Marcus adding: “We definitely approach the live shows differently to the podcast. On the podcast we want to give our views on current footballing affairs. Whereas in the live shows, we just find the funniest things to talk about and have as much fun interacting with the audience as we can each night.
Luke says: “Yeh, you see other podcasts live and it’s just them sat behind a desk, doing exactly what they do in the studio. Every idea we have for the live show is about what gets us away from that. We can’t wait!”
Jim goes on: “I’ve always thought you want to watch a show, you don’t want to watch a podcast. At our first live shows in 2014, we tried to make it as different to the podcast as we could and there was a real sense of excitement in the venues. It was obvious from then that we wanted to continue doing live shows.”
Pete admits to eyeing up more and more powerful confetti cannons on Amazon and bemoans the fact that he wasn’t allowed to use a drone on previous tours.
Luke says: “Pete is the most inspirational when it comes to ideas – sometimes you think ‘we can’t do that’, and sometimes they are great. With the drone, Pete wanted to fly a Newcastle shirt over the crowd and drop it on someone who’d win something. The venue said we weren’t able to do it and now the venues are a bit bigger we’re going to try again…”
The Football Ramble Live reaches G Live in Guildford on Friday 18 October and all four of the lads are looking forward to it for different reasons. Marcus’ revelation that he used to play for Guildford Saints sets the others off, with Luke declaring the show “a homecoming” and Jim musing: “I think we’re doing the show on an open bus.”