Johnny Cantor: From non-league to the Premier League - hard work paid off for Vardy and Murray

Glenn Murray fires in a shot under pressure from Liverpools Georginio Wijnaldum on Saturday. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Glenn Murray fires in a shot under pressure from Liverpools Georginio Wijnaldum on Saturday. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

As a presenter, reporter and commentator there is an onus on you to immerse yourself in all aspects of whichever sport you are covering and in this day and age you may well need multi screen if you want to keep up!

The broadcast channels, the phone-ins, the debate shows, the podcasts, the papers, the magazines, the online stories, the social media and of course the live action (I’m sure I’ve missed a few more!).

There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Fear not, there is always Christmas Day to switch off!

One show I have missed is The Next Jamie Vardy. Of course I’m up to speed with his wife’s endeavours in the jungle thanks to my son but as someone who started cutting their teeth as a reporter in non-league football the narrative of the player who seizes their chance to hit the big time is appealing.

Vardy may well be heading to Russia next year for the World Cup but it all started in non-league football. This week I was reminded of another story of a player who worked tirelessly through the ranks to make it to the Premier League.

One of my guests on Albion Unlimited on BBC Sussex this week was ex Huddersfield goalkeeper Matt Glennon, who was on to preview this weekend’s game.

Glennon is now retired but played with – and is a friend of – Seagulls striker Glenn Murray at Carlisle. As someone who remembers Glenn facing the Cumbrians years ago it reminded me of a conversation we had on the journey home and how he would keep his head down, work hard and hope it paid off.

Glenn was local to the area and Matt this week told us of Murray’s tireless work to prove himself for what seemed an eternity whilst on trial at Brunton Park from Barrow.

Of course since then Murray has proved himself through the leagues and stands as the Seagulls top scorer in the Premier League this season. Whenever I speak to him nowadays I always get the impression he appreciates every single minute on the pitch. And rightly so.

Some of us never saw the labour on the training ground years ago to make it as a professional footballer but whether you are Jamie Vardy or Glenn Murray, there’s proof that hard work can pay off.

When I stood in the back tier of the ground at Accrington Stanley, locked in, presenting a non-league show at 6.30pm on a Saturday night 300 miles from home over a decade ago I never knew, but hoped of course that one day the hard work would pay off.

Let’s hope Murray continues his goalscoring form for Brighton and Hove Albion and Vardy pops up with the winner in the final next July in Russia. Now that would be something to commentate on!

Johnny Cantor covers Brighton & Hove Albion as a commentator and reporter for BBC Sussex Sport.

Follow all the action, home or away, on BBC Sussex Sport or Twitter: @BBCSussexSport or @johnnycburger

To read more by Johnny Cantor, visit www.johnnycantor.com


Albion Unlimited podcast is available to download via BBC iPlayer and iTunes