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Michael Timbs: A Career in Football

By Omer Olcer

On the latest episode of the Row Z & Beyond Podcast, I was honoured to have old Hamptonian Michael Timbs on. We spoke about; Arsenal’s current form, Hampton and the lessons learnt from Hampton, his first sports media job in addition to the Qatar World Cup, how he deals with criticism and finally advice for people who would like to follow in his footsteps.

When talking about Arsenal at the moment he was obviously over the moon with the incredible form they are in. Unlike Gary Neville, he believes the Gunners can clinch the title despite proven Champions City hunting them down.

Many people have been speculating the explanation for the large improvement from last season, however, Michael Timbs after a few chats with the likes of Ben White and Smith Rowe suggests that it is different than how people see it and the Arsenal team have been growing for a long time and season like this was a long time coming due to the long term vision of boss Mikel Arteta. Like many other Gunners have hopeful suppose that after a good but sensible summer transfer window the form can be continued into the 23/24 season by Arsenal.

As the conversation swayed towards school and Hampton he felt that although one learns subjects in schools to get educated in a specific field the main lesson taken from Hampton is the vital qualities of passion, hard work love and manners in addition to general lessons of learning how to learn and forcing the opening of doors for opportunities with agreeing to things without a clear cut vision as he believes luck is somewhat created by the individual. An example where agreeing to multiple opportunities opened doors for him in his future was languages. 

Michael Timbs (centre) representing Old Hamptonians

Timbs chose multiple languages to do in his GCSE as well as his A Levels. He spoke about when making these decisions he never knew where it would take him but looking back and joining the dots he can conclude that being multilingual has been an instrumental role in getting jobs at COPA90 or MOTDX and doing massive interviews with the likes of Messi and Neymar in foreign languages.

Timbs also stated that when a company employs someone they always look at what makes them special and for many, it may be being comfortable on camera or being eccentric but for him, it was his language skills which differentiated him from the rest.

We then got to speak about football a Hampton and the privileges of playing in great competitions such as ESFA and ISFA. However, Michael never got as far as the U13A’s last year or the First XI this year, but he never less enjoyed representing the team of yellow and black. He also wished the First XI the best of luck in the upcoming ESFA final. We also discussed how he still attends and loves playing for the old boys to this day.

Michael has done many shoots in his career so far and different events, but two large events stand out for him. The 2018 Russia World Cup and The 2022 Qatar World Cup. We discussed how he feels privileged to be able to work at these large tournaments and be so close to the players and organisation and the experience at the tournament is much better than at home having experienced world cups both at home and at venues.

Like many other football fans, Michael would consider the Qatar World Cup to be the best one of the lot in football terms. However, Michael said he was able to enjoy the Russia World Cup more as the organisation he worked for didn’t feel like work to him but rather a fan experience. Nonetheless, reporting the Qatar World Cup for FIFA felt more professional.

The main takeaway from both these experiences in Russia and Qatar is the togetherness of all fans coming together for the same reason. Their love of football. Although different people support different countries when another country wins the competition like Argentina his year one can relate the joy to the opposition fan.

Being a big personality on TV and online is kind of a double-edged sword for many as it comes with its supportive comments and positive attention but comes with its hate comments and criticism. Michael discussed how he finds being able to brush it off and deal with hate is an important skill if you want to put yourself out there in the world. We also spoke about how confrontation isn’t the way to go and he looks down upon that. Rather he proposes people take it lightly and keep a positive mindset.

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