Adrian Houghton, The Daily Football Show managing director

Adrian Houghton, managing director at The Daily Football Show. Photo by Lachlan Ballingall
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“I don’t come across many people who don’t like working as a journalist. It’s a little bit of a fantasy land.” The Daily Football Show managing director Adrian Houghton talks to Lachlan Ballingall about his job.

What was it about journalism or the media that inspired you to become involved?

One big element – fun. Let’s be honest, it can be that simple. It’s enjoyable. You get to interview the players and coaches. I think a lot of it just stems from passion. I love soccer and footy, and getting closer to those entities, those teams, those players, those coaches, and getting a feeling for what it’s like in the inner sanctum. That’s cool and fun at the same time. I used to write little Melbourne Football Club match reports when I was a kid. Early on I kind of knew I wanted to get into the media. I don’t come across many people who don’t like working as a journalist. It’s a little bit of a fantasy land.

How did you begin the Daily Football Show website and podcast?

I just turned 22 and went back to university to complete my Bachelor of Arts where I majored in journalism. I had a bit of a rough patch and decided to take some time off university. Had a bit of a think about what I wanted to do. I’ve always had a focus on getting into media and journalism. The tutor one day said, ‘put up your hand if you are writing a blog’. Not many people put their hands up, and the tutor said, ‘you aren’t going to get a job doing something of your own’. So I started something of my own, I started Outside90 (now The Daily Football Show) in August 2011. So six years ago I started writing a blog a day. I had no aspirations to make it anything big until after a year where I got an audience and a following. The entrepreneurship side of things started to kick into me and it sort of took off from there.

Did you expect the podcast and website to become as popular as it has?

It’s funny, I look back at it now and I was getting between 60,000 and 70,000 page views a month and I thought that was incredible. Then I realised what a well-oiled website gets and what’s credible in the market. That’s when I realised I had to build this up and I did. The podcast, I got proposed for a radio show on 3AW, but I didn’t want to do it because it was with a couple of dinosaurs and it was too serious. I wanted to do something that was a bit looser. I met Mark van Aken, funny guy, and he just lives and breathes sport in general. He loves the commercial side of soccer and it was just the perfect mix. I like to think that I have a fair tactical understanding of the game and a deep knowledge of the A League and the Premier League. Mark complemented that perfectly. It was just the right place at the right time.

I read you interviewed Brendan Rodgers when he was managing Liverpool Football Club. How was that?

He had an aura about him, very warm person, very welcoming, very calm. I was pretty nervous. I was still quite raw with my interviewing skills, especially face-to-face. I wore my Sunday vest and I had a haircut, so I was looking fairly confident, but in the inside I was a bag of nerves. After the first few minutes, he just kept me at ease. He was so nice and the way he engaged, he always looked me in the eyes. It was amazing how good it was for me. It’s nice to say you’ve interviewed someone of that calibre.

Would you say the way you have made the industry is different to the norm?

After I knew there was legs in what I was doing, and I was analysing how different publications worked in the UK, analysing the business model and also building an entrepreneurship skillset, there wasn’t a part of me that wanted to go down the traditional route. It has been tough. There have been times where I wondered if I had enough to pay rent and buy petrol, but I’ve always found a way. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Are there any tips you would recommend on how to make a living out of journalism?

There is so much merit in going down the normal path because the experience you gain is invaluable. It’s something I didn’t gain. I wouldn’t say it’s impacted me, but if I went into normal mainstream, some of the knowledge that I would have gained in six months, I probably would have gained that in two years doing what I’m doing. It’s more just an accelerator. Now I know how it all works, even from a mainstream point of view. If there’s an opportunity to get in there, then gain that experience and then look to do other stuff. Maybe that’s the best way to do it, but if you want to chase it, you believe in it, you have the resources and contacts to start something of your own, it’s a very good option to explore.