Terry McFlynn is one of the most humble, genuine athletes I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. After working at Sydney FC’s grounds for twenty months I had a considerable amount of contact with Terry.
Terry was always one of the only people to offer a simple “g’day”, and we all respected him for that.
Considering I had this relationship with some Sydney players and staff, the thought struck me to ask Terry for an interview following his impending retirement.
After being a student at TAFE for two months, I went back to the place that had been my daily grind for nearly two years. I realised Sydney FC Kit Manager, Joe, was the man to go to first. Joe was someone my colleagues and I regularly had contact with and he is always happy to help where possible. Joe put me into direct contact with Sydney FC’s Media Manager who was setting up his own interviews with the players, discussing their fond memories of McFlynn.
Sydney’s Media Manager, David, was happy to help with my interview and grabbed Terry for me as he was on his way out. Terry greeted me in his usual kind, courteous manner, but I was still extremely nervous of making a mistake in my first outing.
I really appreciated Terry sparing his time as he was on his way to Sydney University, officially completing his Masters certificate. Not to mention the fact he had already done countless interviews with Journalists in regard to his retirement.
Throughout the interview I had a million things going through my head; “Was my recorder working?” “Was it picking up everything he is saying?” “What am I going to ask next?” “Stop looking like such a rookie”.
Terry’s manner throughout the interview was cool as ever, and his answers provided a wealth of knowledge and information – more than I could have ever asked for.
At the conclusion of the interview I immediately realised the mistakes I had made; I didn’t always listen to what he had to say, I forgot to ask ‘follow-up’ questions in response to his answers, I used my written questions as more of an unwavering structure than a guideline, and while I was fully prepared, it was a more difficult situation than I could ever comprehend.
David also picked up on my mistakes and offered some really helpful advice in not only interviewing, but producing news as well. He did however make note that I had obviously done my research and thought I asked some great questions. He made mention that athletes will respect you for having researched their history and the fact that you have shown an obvious interest in their life.
Reflecting now on my interview, I see it as a massive learning curve that helped me through my time at The Daily telegraph. I realised you need to stay calm, focused and follow your instincts – they’re just another person.
I am thankful for the research I had done on Terry as he really does have an interesting history, and his tumultuous ride through the roller-coaster of a club that is Sydney FC is a remarkable story. The research led to some cohesive questions and had a prominent effect on the interview’s operation.
I am so grateful for my interview with Terry as it dawned upon me the development needed to succeed and how far you can be taken out of your comfort zone in the industry. This notion was idealised personally within the interview, as I was staring a high-profile athlete, an inspiration to many, right in the eye and desperately trying to look as professional as possible, grasping for their respect.