My Early Exposure
As with many podcasts, I discovered this one through other podcasts. How did it happen here? When my beloved TSS began working on The Goalmouth with people from the Howler Magazine family, I discovered there were OTHER Howler Podcasts, like a little family. After a couple of months of The Goalmouth, I gave in. I added the whole family, and I’m going to start by talking about The Play. No particular reason for doing it first, except that it’s the next un-listened to podcast on my backlog of un-listened to podcasts that I haven’t already blogged about or isn’t Formula 1.
This show is hosted by Bobby Warshaw, a former player (defender) who works in the Howler family, not only on this podcast. I’m not a huge fan of his voice, but anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for defense and keepers, and it’s great to get the insight of defenders and keepers. He organizes the show well, asks good questions for the purpose of the show, and has really put together some interesting recurring themes and ideas that make this show different, relevant, and interesting to people like me who listen to probably too many football podcasts. Well-organized, but as I said, I don’t love listening to him the way I do other people.
This is where this show is very different/interesting. Instead of covering the same games, news, controversies, etc. that every other podcast covers, this is a specialist show. Bobby invites guests – always players or former players – to talk about aspects of being a professional footballer, typically in the American system. They take a specific line and pick it apart for half an hour, forty-five minutes. For example, the episode I’m listening to next has Bobby (who also played DM) and guest Stephen Keel (retired CB) talking about the relationship between the DM and CB roles, how those roles interact tactically, great pairings, etc. It breaks down tactics for the nerds out there like me, and it’s interesting to hear it from a player’s POV rather than in pundit speak, even if the pundit used to be a player.
Bobby also sometimes hosts an interesting segment where he has a young player and a veteran or retired player in the same sort of role come on together, and the young player gets to do an AMA with the veteran/retired player, curated by Bobby. This is relatively new, only done a few times so far, but it’s a very interesting listen.
The podcast is great for players, coaches, etc., who want to enhance their own tactics and understanding at their level by learning from those at a higher level. It’s also great for nerdy listeners like me who are always looking for new ways to better understand the beautiful game.
Episodes come out about weekly, late in the week. They range, as said before, from half an hour to forty-five minutes. Sometimes, they skip a week. Not super-regular, but it suits alright.
As part of the Howler Podcast Family, it shares a support structure – presumably funded by whatever funds the magazine and other podcasts, which I presume involves ads and subscriptions. You don’t get harassed by adverts, but the beginning and the end there’s a bit of a push for the Howler Magazine and other podcasts in the family. All perfectly reasonable, and about as relevant as you can get. Good content, all around.
Are you a The Play listener? Anything I missed you want to add? Anything you disagree with?
Also, if you have a podcast you want me to review, go ahead and let me know in the comments! I might be on my list (I’ll bump it forward), or I may not have listened yet, but I’m always looking for more football podcasts to try.