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In this free article from Squash Player 2020 Issue 2, we introduce our new columnist Gerry Gibson, aka ‘The Pod Father’. He gives us a peek behind the scenes of his weekly chats with the game’s greatest characters as host of the popular In Squash podcast.

Upon becoming an avid podcast listener several years ago I was excited to find a few squash podcasts: Squash Radio had some excellent episodes and I also stumbled upon James Zug’s excellent Behind The Glass. Before I knew it though I’d ploughed through everything, with nothing new on the horizon. It occurred to me that I had the passion, background and knowledge to fill the void. I felt it would require a weekly commitment and a desire to develop in the podcast game. The rest is history - 150 episodes and counting.

So, episode one, who would my first guest be? I had a very good idea from the get-go: Neil Harvey. Neil, former coach of the great Peter Nicol, is now based near my hometown of Halifax, Canada and has been coach to my good friend and former teammate Matt Bishop. I couldn’t have asked for a better first guest, being a huge fan of Nicol and his great rival of the late 90s and early 2000s, Jonathon Power.

Neil allowed the podcast to hit the ground running by injecting much needed credibility. My follow-up episodes piggy-backed off episode one nicely, so I owe a lot to Neil for stepping up.

Many people have asked, who has been your favourite guest? What is the best episode? Honestly, it’s impossible to choose one or two; although I’d say there have been landmark episodes.
Episode 70 with Joey Barrington, former pro and PSA Squash TV commentator, was one that I wanted for a long time, and it couldn’t have gone any better. It still stands as the podcast’s most popular episode.

Anecdotally, Joey was brilliant. He hadn’t talked much about that period where he stepped away from the game during those early years of having to live up to the lofty expectations of being Jonah’s son. Then of course there was the great insight he was able to offer on Jonah and today’s game.

The other episode that sticks out for me, though, was episode 100, with my fellow countryman Power. A listener once told me JP’s name seems to appear at some point in every episode. No doubt that’s true, and when he joined me, he was pure JP. He didn’t pull any punches; there was angst, humour and many an anecdote. In a nutshell it was the JP that we know and love. The wildly popular (albeit short-lived) Super Squash Saturdays event with Diego Elias is proof that JP will always remain must-see.

In my younger days we’d cross paths once or twice a year, but I hadn’t see him since the Quebec Open in 1992. JP indulged my desire to relive those great memories. After asking if he recalled partaking in the pre-final hotel party not much more than an hour before the Power v Jamie Crombie final, he quipped: “I was 17 years old and made 17-year-old decisions back then!”

The podcast tries to keep its ear to the ground and takes pride in providing intel and fleshing out issues surrounding the game. BBC reporter Nick Hope appeared on episode 71 following squash’s fifth failed Olympic bid, laying out a refreshingly objective take which I feel our squash community needed at the time.

The passing of Andy Bunting, the hugely popular International Sponsorship Manager for Prince, led to the Neil Harvey testimonial, and more recently Rob Dinerman gave very useful insight on the Brown varsity squash programme in the United States.

Obviously, without the mainstream media following or reporting on our sport, we need to rely on ourselves, and I like to think that I put a fair bit of thought into topical and timely episodes like these which go well beyond just reporting the facts.

This year already I have had world champion Tarek Momen, world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy and Tournament of Champions winner Camille Serme on the podcast, as well as some lesser known characters who have their own fascinating squash stories to tell. Episode 200 is fast approaching, and you can rest assured I’ve got something fantastic in mind for the double century mark.