Interview with James Rowe – expert, professional writer and translator for World Football Index.

James Rowe is a football journalist, translator and Dutch football expert working for the World Football Index and also cooperating with such a brand as talkSPORT. How did he come to live in Netherland? What he does? What is the current mood in Netherland after canceling the season? Who does he suport every day? You will find answers to these and other questions below. You are very welcome to have a look at it.

FR: At the beginning I would like to ask you which region you come from in England and how it happened that you have lived in Amsterdam for so long? 14 years, right?

JR: I was born in London. I always wanted to live and work abroad from a young age. I came to Amsterdam in 2003 for the Ajax v Arsenal Champions League match. I was so enamored with the city and culture of the Netherlands that I saw my future here. I worked hard and emigrated to the Netherlands and I have lived here 14 years and I have loved every minute so far

You live in Amsterdam so you have certainly been able to be on an Ajax match more than once. Could you tell me at what level you think Dutch football is now?

Yes, I have been to many Ajax matches through the years and I have always said that the level of Dutch football is an acquired taste. There are many young, promising players who get the opportunity to play and develop from an early age. I enjoy the pace of games and especially live games where there are always many interesting things to see.

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What are the moods among Dutch clubs, owners, players and supporters after the season in the Netherlands has been canceled due to a coronavirus pandemic?

The mood is one of disappointment and that more could have been done before taking a decision so early. Clubs such as SC Cambuur Leeuwarden who were eleven points clear in the first division and on the verge of getting promoted can feel hard done by in my opinion. On the whole supporters are aware of the Coronavirus pandemic, and they respect that safety is the most important thing.

What was your first live match and what was your first match on TV?

The first match that I remember watching on TV where I was aware of the consequences was the 1990 World Cup semi -final between England v West Germany. England lost on penalties and I was really disappointed. My first live match was my team Arsenal v Crystal Palace in February 1991. Arsenal won 4-0 and my favourite player at the time Paul Merson scored and that made the day extra special.

I wonder who the English man who has lived in the Netherlands for so many years supports. Could you tell us that?

I am an Arsenal supporter and I have supported the club for more than 30 years. I am even in the privileged position to fly to England regularly to watch Arsenal games live and every game is a very special experience, win, lose or draw.

When I came across your Twitter account, we were immediately chained by the number of interviews you do with footballers. Could you tell us how your journalistic adventure began?

I started out interviewing Dutch players and managers in 2016 in their mother tongue and it was something that I really enjoyed. In 2018, I was approached by my current publisher World Football Index if they could publish my interviews. At the time of writing I have over 150 published interviews with players and managers at all levels of World and European football.

In how many languages do you speak? I am asking about this because I saw that you are interviewing not only English-speaking footballers, coaches.

I speak four languages English, Dutch, Spanish and French. It is something that I am passionate about and I really feel when I speak to players and managers in their mother tongue that it makes them feel comfortable and it adds to the depth and the quality of my interviews.

Which interview you have done in your life was the most valuable experience and why?

A very difficult question and I do not like to give an answer about my most valuable interview. I leave that for others to decide. I always like to focus on the next interview as in my opinion that is the most important one. It is great to look back on a great body of work on my authors page and it motivates me to keep producing quality in the future.

Could you tell me how you started your cooperation with World Football Index, TalkSport, Love Sport Radio and Capital FM Moscow?

As I say  World Football Index approached me about publishing my interviews and talkSport, Love Sport Radio and Capital FM Moscow all approached me at different times to provide news, insight and opinion on all things Dutch football. I am happy to speak to them at any time. It helps to add to my reputation as a football writer.

Who would you support in the match England vs Netherlands?

A very difficult question and it is extremely hard to give an answer. I was born and raised in England and I have lived in the Netherlands for 14 years so whenever I watch an England v Netherlands game I just try to enjoy the game and I hope to see a good game of football. I say may the best team win.

We both support Arsenal, so I have to ask you if the Arsenal has many fans in the Netherlands?

I have met a few Arsenal fans here in the Netherlands through the years and it is always nice. I do not know how many Arsenal fans there are in the Netherlands but the fans that are here are very passionate.

James when we talked once, you told me about the interviews you carried out in Odra Opole, Jagiellonia Bialystok and Piast Gliwice. Could you tell us exactly who you interviewed and how did this happen? I think this will be very interesting topic for our readers. 

Yes I have interviewed players from many Polish clubs such as Ivan Martin from Odra Opole, Tom Hately from Piast and also Cillian Sheridan from Jagiellonia. All three players had great stories to tell and I must say that the press officers of the clubs were very professional indeed.

You also mentioned that you have done 150 interviews in the last 2 years. How do you find time for all this?

I find time to do my interviews through sheer hard work in sourcing , conducting, writing up and sending through the interviews to be published. It is something that I really enjoy and it does take a lot of time but I manage to find the time and the enjoyment factor keeps me motivated.

Number 150 is really impressive. Tell us how the interviewing process looks like. Do you have so many contacts among footballers so you just call them or do you organize it through social media?

I have built up many contacts through the years and now my reputation sees me over the line when requesting interviews with players and managers. It has been a long journey these last four years, but I am pleased that the hard work is paying off.

Do you plan to stay permanently in the Netherland or someday you will come back to UK?

Never say never but I plan to remain here in the Netherlands in the future. I still get to visit my country quite often when I return for Arsenal matches which is really nice. You never know what is going to happen in life, and we shall see what the future brings?

Finishing this interview I would like to ask you about your favorite anecdote from journalistic work.

There have been so many different anecdotes from through the years. I think I will finish with the anecdote of my first ever interview with a professional player or manager and that was with the then manager of FC Den Bosch Wiljan Vloet. He invited me to the stadium, and we spoke in an area of the stadium looking out onto the pitch. It was the start of my journey that has taken me all over the Netherlands and I even interviewed a player of LA Galaxy Pele van Anholt in Los Angeles back in September 2017 with whom I raised his stay in Heerenveen, Willem II and also games under the leadership of Marco Van Basten. I would like to think the best is yet to come.

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