Phil Vickery gets nostalgic about sport on TV
Rugby legend Phil Vickery reveals how watching big games on the small screen has played a massive part in his sporting life
From his childhood in Cornwall to memories of his dad, TV has played a big part in rugby legend Phil Vickery’s sporting life.
And now he’s retired from the game, watching sport in the comfort of his own home with wife Kate and their two kids helps him to feel as though he’s right back on the pitch.
We spoke to the former member of England’s World Cup-winning squad about his memories of watching sport on screen – and how gadgets like the 4K HD TV bring big games to life like never before.
You grew up on a farm in Cornwall. Did you watch rugby on TV when you were at home?
Growing up at home on the family farm as a youngster, really my only touchpoint for sport was watching it on TV. It was gathering around, particularly athletics, watching Daley Thompson, Steve Cram.
But the rugby, the big games – watching England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland – all huddled around that tiny TV screen. You couldn’t really hear anything, but that was the atmosphere – the kitchen, family, friends gathering around, just waiting to see that great occasion.
What about the TVs of today? Can you create that big-stadium atmosphere at home?
I think being at the stadium and live at the game of course you get caught up in all the emotion and it’s where you want to be. But ultimately, with these TVs, the sound, the picture quality, being able to get that atmosphere feels like you’re there. It’s making the hairs stand up on the back of my neck just thinking about it.
And ultimately being able to share in what will be some mesmerising action on that rugby field will be like you’re there with the team. And as a fan that’s what you want.
Sounds like your house would be a great place to come on match day then. Will you be having friends over to watch the game?
I enjoy watching sport on TV. In fact my dad, through my rugby career, only ever came along to a game to watch me five times. He used to love watching it on TV because he said he could see more, he could understand it better and he actually loved it.
And I suppose I’m a bit like that – I think the beauty for me at home with Kate and the kids and friends coming round is you can share in all the emotions as a family and as friends with food and a few drinks. It’s a real occasion and I think 100% the quality of your TV adds a massive amount to that.
How do you think TVs of today could transform the way we watch sport over the coming years?
Being a complete novice in the TV world, I’ve been blown away by the detail, the colours, the sound. I feel like I’m involved in the match like I used to when I played. This is exciting, this is TV of tomorrow today – unbelievable.