From sitting on a tin roof in 40 degree heat in the Solomon Islands, to freezing in a cherrypicker in the depths of a Melbourne winter and being the target of flares thrown by disgruntled fans, Michael Zappone’s love of football (real football: soccer) has taken him to some exotic – and not so exotic – locations. By day, Zappone is media and public relations manager for AXA Australia. By night, or, more accurately, by weekend, he has for the past three seasons moonlighted as a host, commentator and sideline pundit for Fox Sports’ coverage of the A-League competition. His love of football and broadcasting dates back to when the competition was the National Soccer League and when the Socceroos only dreamed of going to another World Cup. They say that if you do what you love then you’ll never work a day in your life, and the job of staying on top of the A-League is definitely an endeavour of passion for Zappone. “Most people have a passion away from their Monday to Friday, and this is mine,” he says. “I’m lucky enough to be able to dabble in it at the weekend.” Don’t be fooled by how easy he makes it look, though. Zappone has done his apprenticeship, starting in 1993 with radio station 3AK in Melbourne, and later SEN. Preparation for a weekend’s ‘work’ includes watching every A-League game played in the preceding week, extensive reading and studying the football industry here and around the world. And that’s on top of the demands of dealing with the media from Monday to Friday. There must be days when having flares burn a hole in your jacket seems like the safer alternative.

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