Yesterday was quite the day for U.K. football fans. Not only was a provisional date announced for the return of Premier League games, but our friends behind last year’s award-winning podcast series GIANT managed to sneak in a new, one-off episode alongside the team from World Cup-focused programme We Came to Win.
Your friendly neighborhood Pod Bible folks joined the team behind GIANT last week for a listening party on Twitter where we explored their first episode, “Ronaldo: A Superhero Origin Story”, about the Brazilian football legend’s time playing for PSV in Holland. If you haven’t given all six episode a listen yet, we can’t recommend it enough, whether you’re a football fan or simply a lover of great podcasting production and storytelling. There’s something in there for everyone.
When listening to yesterday’s drop, fans of the programme will be reassured to hear as Mundial features editor Owen Blackhurst once again introduces us to another brilliant episode. Blackhurst, alongside Seb White and executive producer Tayo Popoola, comes together with We Came to Win’s Nando Vila to discuss the thing that brought the global game to its knees only three short months ago: the coronavirus.
In two equally beautiful but heartbreaking stories, we experience the impact the virus has had on the football community on both a small town and global scale. The GIANT gang take us to the Hampton & Richmond Burough Football Club, part of the National League South. Here we meet coaches, staff, players and fans, all of whom passionately describe the screeching halt that ended their season, and how important the football club is to the surrounding community.
In the second half, Nando introduces us to broadcaster Kike Mateu, who covers Valencia and was deemed “patient zero” after contracting coronavirus at the Champions League match in Milan between Valencia and Atalanta. The story of how the virus spread throughout players and fans alike reminds us all why we are enjoying the podcast from the safety of our homes, and not on the way to a packed stadium.
Though the tentatively scheduled Premier League season will be played behind closed doors, far from the raucous, singing, screaming throngs of fans that are so integral to the vibrancy of football, the underlying message of yesterday’s GIANT stories rings more true than ever. While some games are played, the football that fans truly love is still a long way off. So until then, we look forward to more stories of intensity, victory, heartbreak, and redemption.