by Bryn Goodall
BROADCASTER Phil Steele made an accidental transition into the media following his retirement from rugby.
The popular BBC Scrum V reporter revealed details of his career path at the launch of former cricketer and close friend Alan Wilkins’ book, Easier Said than Done, A life in Sport.
Steele hosted a question and answer session with Wilkins at Cardiff Athletic Club in front of more than 100 guests.
“I got into it by accident really. I was a school teacher back in 1992 after I retired from rugby aged 31,” he said.
“I know Gareth Davis who used to be Cardiff, Wales and Lions fly-half and who was head of BBC Wales Sport.
“They [BBC] wanted a few people to cover one of the eight games, and he knew I could put a few words together and was an ex player, so I said I fancy it and it went from there.
“I had a call from the producer who said ‘do you know anything about football?’. I said I had played some football when I was younger, so I ended up doing some football with Cardiff City and Swansea City.”
Steele added: “And that’s a good lesson really to any aspiring journalist, if you’re asked, do it.”
He also opened up on his later career in broadcasting, where he came into contact with former Glamorgan and Gloucestershire cricketer Wilkins.
“I went part-time at school in 2001 to three days a week, Radio Wales gave me a Sunday morning chat show and I crossed over into mainstream broadcasting and then went into television.
“I’ve been with the BBC 24 years now. I’ve never had a contract and never had a staff job because I’ve always been freelance.
Thank You @philsteele1 for your Michael Aspel performance last night! You were brilliant as always! 👏👏👏
— Alan Wilkins (@alanwilkins22) 24 October 2018
“Alan and I go back a long time. We played together at Glamorgan Wanderers which was my first club in Cardiff.
“Although he’s been all over the world and is a world-famous broadcaster now, he’s never forgotten his roots.”
Alan Wilkins’ book, Easier Said than Done, A life in Sport is published by St David’s Press.