Ask a footballer what the worst part of the game is, and many will reply: being injured. It means you are out of contention. Out of the loop.
My childhood hero, the late Colin Bell, who suffered a serious knee injury while playing in a Manchester derby in 1975, admitted that his months out of the game left him completely disorientated. Bereft of focus in his life without the motivation to prepare for that special day of the week on Saturday.
It's much the same for a commentator - particularly if you have been involved in the game virtually every day of your working life.
I can still vividly recall my first-ever live commentary (Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League in August 1993), and the intervening years are pockmarked with memories of a distinctly football-coloured hue.
1996? I called the FA Cup Final for BBC World Service. 1998? I was in Burkina Faso for the African Cup of Nations. 2004? My first Grand Final in Australia. 2005 & 2006? Well, you know all about those events. On and on it goes, through almost the whole history of the A-League.
That’s why, after a year much less involved in the game, I’m so excited to be part of a brand new broadcast home for Australian football.
Channel 10 have been good enough to give me an opportunity to return to commentating on the game I love - and as the new season approaches, I am filled with excitement at being back behind a microphone with both the national teams and the national leagues.
The new TV deal offers a fresh start, not just for me - but for the game. A new team full of passionate football people, working together with the APL and Football Australia to try to deliver on the potential we all know this wonderful game of ours has in Australia.
What am I looking forward to most? First and foremost, being back around football people on a daily basis. The game in Australia is a family affair (yes ok, sometimes it can be a bit of a dysfunctional family, but still...), and the chance to renew old acquaintances and make new connections is exciting.
Putting a good product to air befitting the game’s stature, needs, and reflecting its history is also paramount (no pun intended). We want the fans back inside the stadiums and engaged on television. To call games to the backdrop of a stadium full of the most important people in football - the supporters - is the best part of the job. We'll work as hard as is necessary to earn that privilege. We know the fans are out there.
But most of all, I'm excited about being back inside those stadiums (CoVid permitting) on game day. BankWest, or AAMI, on derby day. Hindmarsh for a Friday night when Victory are in town. The trip up the motorway for an F3 derby. Perhaps even - one day - an overseas trip to some far-flung destination for the biggest honour of all, calling the national team in a World Cup qualifier or major tournament.
Football has given me everything in my life. I will try to continue to put a bit back over the next few years as we try to grow the game in Australia.
I'm hoping you'll join us on Channel 10 and Paramount Plus for the next part of the journey.
* Simon Hill will join expert pundit Andy Harper, former Socceroos Mark Milligan, Bruce Djite and Alex Brosque plus former Matilda Georgia Yeoman-Dale on the Ten network, the new home of football showing Socceroos, Matildas, A-League and W-League games.
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