A NEW series shining light on what life is like behind the scenes on a non-league matchday. Next up is Dave Deacon.

Dave Deacon is a well-known figure in Cornish football. Indeed, the man with the Twitter handle @Cornishfootball is the editor of the Cornish Soccer magazine, administrator of the Cornwall Football Forum, co-host of the Rappo and Deacs Friday Fix podcast and the results secretary for the South West Peninsula League.

Dave’s matchday begins before the weekend, with a decision on which match to attend usually being made earlier in the week, with that decision depending on where he has been recently and whether a team or individual he is wishing to feature in the magazine is in action.

The type of game also has a big say in where Dave will end up on a Saturday afternoon.

“I’ve got a priority list of fixtures in my head,” Dave says. “If there’s an FA Cup or FA Vase game that takes number one priority. Then it’s the Senior Cup, and then it’s the ordinary league games.”

One more pre-weekend task for Dave is to publish the weekend fixture lists for most Cornish football leagues on the forum on Friday.

But Saturday usually begins with a ritual practised by many in non-league football – a quick look out of the window.

This is The West Country:

Dave Deacon

“Pretty much the first thing you do is open the curtains and check what the weather is,” he says. “If it’s OK, it’s not a problem. If it’s raining, you have to have a rethink because we all know which pitches are likely to be affected more than others.”

With his results secretary hat on, one of Dave’s jobs on Saturday mornings is to update his fixture list, which will be emailed to various media and administrators at full-time, so if fixtures are being called off left, right and centre it usually means the start of his day is spent in front of his computer.

After a spot of lunch, it is time to get ready to head to whichever match he has chosen to attend – armed with a couple of pens, a notebook, his phone, camera, laptop, and several layers of clothing.

“I’ve learned in years of experience to take loads of layers of clothing because the worst possible thing is to get cold at a game!” he says.

Dave’s drive to the ground is usually accompanied by the sound of either Radio 2 or 5 Live, before possibly switching to Talksport for live commentary of the early kick-off in the Premier League – unless his beloved Spurs are involved.

“If it’s Spurs, I probably don’t switch over because it seems to be that they do better when I don’t listen!” Dave laughs. “I’m a bit of an unlucky charm when it comes to Spurs on the radio. I only switch over to the commentary if I know by some other means that they’re 4-0 up, which obviously isn’t that often!”

If he manages to reach his destination in good time, he will take the opportunity to get the team line-ups and have a chat with any familiar faces that might be at the same game, before taking a walk around the pitch.

“If it’s at the warm-up stage it’s always interesting to see who might be playing or who isn’t playing for the two teams,” he says.

This time allows him to make use of his camera and get some photos for the magazine, with Dave usually hoping to make hay while the sun shines, so to speak.

“Daylight is obviously better to take any photographs,” he says, “so it may be a case if I can grab some photographs before the game, they’re of good enough quality to post in the magazine.”

If he hasn’t done so before the game then he will be aiming to get a few photos during the first half, although he is aware of the perils of multi-tasking.

“I find that I miss bits of the game if I’m mucking about with a camera and the phone,” he says, “and also there are a number of occasions when someone comes over and starts talking, and It’s amazing how you suddenly think, ‘Who got that goal? Who got the last touch?’

“I suppose it’s a bit of a competition to see who gets the first tweet about a goal sometimes, but it is nice if you know exactly 100 per cent that you’ve got it right.”

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Dave is pictured at St Austell's Poltair Park ground, clutching a copy of his Cornish Soccer magazine

While he doesn’t tweet as much as he used to during the game, admitting that he was concentrating on his phone more than the match, he does concede that he is a big fan of the platform.

“Twitter to me is a godsend; the amount of information on a Saturday afternoon that comes through on your phone is fantastic,” he says. “If I’d had that in the days when I did my half-hour at the end of Radio Cornwall on a Saturday afternoon, instead of waiting for the fax to come through with a league’s results. If Twitter was around then, well, it would have been fantastic.

“On the odd occasion when I’ve left my phone in the car, it’s amazing how much you miss it.”

When the referee blows his whistle for the final time, Dave’s first priority is collecting all of the results from the club secretaries around the grounds.

“There’s always a couple that you need to just prompt because they haven’t sent it through so I text them saying, ‘What is your result, please?’ and it’s amazing how quickly you get a response when you send that little question,” he says.

Dave reveals that one SWPL secretary still opts to call him rather than text through the score.

“Vidal James of Porthleven still very kindly phones instead of texting,” he says.

“One funny occasion occurred last season when I was at the Porthleven game. I hadn’t seen him during the match, so I ended up, at the end of the match when I was collecting the results, down the far end of the ground.

“My phone rings, it’s Vidal, and before he had the chance to tell me I told him the result, ‘2-0 Porthleven, Vidal’.

“‘How’d you know that, boy?’ and I said, ‘Well, I’m waving to you at the far end of the ground!’”

With all of the results in, Dave transfers them to his earlier email draft and sends it off to the likes of BBC Radio Cornwall, BBC Radio Devon, and other media.

While more clubs are putting their results out on Twitter, Dave continues to receive results from clubs to ensure they are accurate, although this method is not completely fool proof.

“There are strange occasions when you actually get a result from a secretary and it’s different from what you’ve seen on Twitter, and you think, ‘Ah, that’s interesting,” Dave says.

“So you have to text the guy back just to check, and they’ll say, ‘Sorry, I missed the last goal because I was putting the food out for the players,’ or something like that, so you have to be careful.”

With the first results email in the bag, the time at which Dave sends his second email of the updated league tables depends on where he is.

“If I’m within distance of home before six o’clock I’ll leave that until I get home,” he says. “If not, I will do them and send them off before I set off home. That’s the South West Peninsula League responsibility done and dusted.”

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Dave (right) interviews Falmouth Town winger Luke Johnson after Town's 3-2 win at home to St Blazey in March - their most recent game

After copying and pasting the results into the forum, Dave either heads home or into the clubhouse for a chat with anyone of interest, although this is just a social chat rather than anything for the podcast or magazine.

“I tend to leave that now to pretty much midweek,” he says. “For the podcast I found that if you do it do it straight after the game, you’re concentrating on the game, so I don’t bother too much about the podcast.

“After the game I’m probably wouldn’t bother talking to anyone for the magazine or the podcast. I’d only talk to people just literally on a social side because it’s nice to spend 20 minutes or so having a drink and talking to someone that you haven’t seen for a while rather than pestering them for an article.”

After this it is now time for Dave to head home – although his day is not quite over yet.

A check of the forum to see if anything of note has cropped up and uploading match photos to his Facebook page come first before Dave can sit back and enjoy the rest of the evening with one of the most time-honoured Saturday night traditions.

“It’ll be either a nice cold lager or a glass of red wine I think, probably stretched across the settee watching Match of the Day!”