My Life In Travel: Ray Stubbs, football commentator

'I'm a mobile beach bum – I can't sit still'

First holiday memory?

A caravan holiday in Wales. I think it was Newgale, during the mid-1960s. I can remember my granddad showing me lobster pots. It rained.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

It has to be Hilbre Island on the River Dee in the Wirral Peninsula. I am from The Wirral and remember looking at this small island in the River Dee from an early age and thinking it was so exciting. You walk to Hilbre when the tide is out then make it back before the tide turns. The Robinson Crusoe in me has always wanted to camp out there.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Never to be surprised. I've also realised that I haven't actually learnt that much.

Ideal travelling companion?

A fully operational credit card that should be taken off me at airports!

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I'm a massive beach bum. My holiday pattern has always been to work throughout the football season and then disappear for as long as possible when it finishes – I retire to a beach and "think". Apparently I hardly ever sit down; I pace up and down thinking, so I'm a mobile beach bum. I'm still searching for my ideal beach and it's a personal thing of course, but Salema on the Algarve is probably top at the moment.

Holiday reading?

I've been trying to get through a huge history of the Beatles by Bob Spitz for last two holidays, but I always get sidetracked when something funny happens. I will probably read John Motson's Motty: Forty Years in the Commentary Box next as he's a friend and a colleague. But I am toying with the idea of writing, rather than reading, to chart the mad journey from being the worst full back ever for Tranmere Rovers, to Match of the Day and now ESPN. The problem is I want to get stuff down before I forget it, but that would mean having to sit still.

Where has seduced you?

The rugged splendour of the Atlantic coast on the Algarve. I particularly like the Algarve but there is also a hotel just north of Lisbon called Fortaleza Do Guincho. If you open the window, you can hear the waves crash 24 hours a day. Even at my age I keep promising myself I will try to learn to windsurf, although getting into a wet suit would be a challenge enough.

Better to travel or arrive?

Travelling is so exciting but it can also be stressful, so it's a powerful cocktail. The majority of my travel experiences are work related – I got upped to first class once which was fantastic. I wanted to watch every film and drink all the champagne! I really like airports, train stations and ferry terminals so I build in extra time if possible to wander about. I think St Pancras station is fantastic.

Worst holiday?

A spontaneous trip to Tenerife. It was cloudy and the hotel was poor, but I did end up seeing a tribute act called Ronan Cheating who were very good.

Best hotel?

I love the sun loungers by the pool at Hotel Gran Ibiza, and the great service at both the Grosvenor in Chester and the Regent in Berlin. The Regent was the base camp for World Cup 2006 and I returned to The Hermitage Barrière in La Baule, France, because I have such great memories of World Cup '98 from there.

I also have fond memories from the Pulitzer, Amsterdam from Euro 2000 and the Holiday Inn Lee Road, Orlando from the World Cup in 1994.

The hotel where you stay during football tournaments is part of the shared experience you have with your colleagues, where everyone unwinds and recaps on the day's events. Sometime in the future I'd really like to stay at the Bellagio, Las Vegas and have a drink with Terry Benedict!

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

There's a great walk along Bordeira beach on the Atlantic coast in Portugal. Watching the huge waves roll in and out is hypnotic. I love looking at how the tide and the ocean shape the coastline.

Best meal abroad?

Boia Bar in Salema, Portugal does the best grilled fish with salad, topped off with a bottle of Planalto.

Dream trip?

I've always wanted to drive the triangle of Los Angeles/ Las Vegas/San Francisco. The guys in my local talk non-stop about Vegas and say it's terrific but I haven't had a chance to get there myself yet. Otherwise, I have witnessed the wonders of modern Europe through football: Austria, Croatia... it's fantastic. How about a tour of countries ending in "ia"? Now there's a trip.

Favourite city?

I was really taken with Berlin when I was there for the 2006 World Cup. I was there previously in 1989 around the time the wall came down making a film about drugs in sport. Walking around Berlin is a history lesson in front of your eyes; I was always fascinated and angered about the wall. When I was 18, if someone said go to Germany for your holidays it would have been laughable. You grow up with the stereotypical images, but through football I have been given the chance to see modern Germany.

Where next?

What usually happens is I come up with dozens of options – "could do this, should do that, really must go there." No firm plans as yet, but I will probably return to the western Algarve.

Ray Stubbs hosts Barclays Premier League, Scottish Premier League and Europa League football on ESPN (subscriptions: 0844 257 7442; espn.co.uk)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Voices
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Life and Style
Gold timing: the Apple Watch Edition
tech
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor