Media work isn't as nerve-racking as making your debut as a player… but it's not far off
00:41 GMT, 15 December 2012
I played at Everton for three years and made more than 100 appearances for David Moyes.
I’ve lost count of the number of games I have watched at Goodison Park as a player, spectator and a pundit.
Last Sunday, just a day after finally announcing my retirement, I walked into the ground in my new job. And with that came an entirely different pressure, and plenty of nerves. Not as bad as making your debut as a player, but pretty close.
New pressure: Kevin Kilbane says life as a pundit will bring different stresses
I’ve worked with BBC Five Live and Newstalk as co-commentator while still playing and always enjoyed it, it’s one of the reasons I’m happy with the choice of new career.
For the record I don’t see the career taking me to Limerick as manager just yet. I’ve always said I wouldn’t rule out a return to coaching but when I landed in Dublin yesterday to read about my pending appointment at Jackman Park, it was as much of a surprise to me as everyone else.
The club did make contact for the first time yesterday afternoon and I wouldn’t rule out talking to them in the future, if they are serious.
As a player, as soon as you put down the headphones and head home, you start worrying about the day job and training on Monday morning. That security was gone now.
I love watching football – I was at Preston North End v Crewe Alexandra on Saturday just to see my old club – and I’ve always analysed games the same way, and want to put that over in the commentaries.
Particularly at Hull last season I started to really study the opposition and analyse formations, teams and players, so I’ll use that as the basis of the information I’ll bring to the listeners.
I’ve always tried to be honest, but of course, while still a player yourself, at the back of your mind is the fact you might say something that might upset a former team-mate or fellow professional. I’m not going to go daft and say things for the sake of it but I’ll say it as I see it.
In attendance: Kilbane was at Goodison to see Everton score a late winner and beat Tottenham 2-1
The reaction to last week’s announcement has really surprised me, and fans from all the clubs I’ve played for, and from Ireland, have said some very nice things.
There have been one or two less favourable ones and my personal favourite was a tweet from a Sunderland fan who said 'I thought he retired when he was playing for us.'
Yes. I’m on Twitter, and the first week has certainly been interesting.
I know a lot of players use it now but I was never really comfortable joining while I was still a professional footballer representing a football club.
While I will still be careful about what I say, and won’t be using it to provoke furious debate, I am freer now to express my views and enjoy it.
It’s really nice to interact with fans and answer their questions, send on any retweet requests, and pass on any little tips. Just don’t be fooled by this week’s success!
I can use it to raise the awareness of the Downs Syndrome Association and without Twitter I might not have found out about the campaign to save Preston Bus Station. It’s part of my childhood (is it right for a man to be proud of his town’s bus station). They can’t knock it down.
Whatever apprehensions I had about hanging up the boots disappeared the moment it was out. Finally I could answer questions about my future and look forward to that first game at Everton.
Good times: The Irish international retired from football last week
And since then the phone hasn’t stopped. It’s been incredible really, and of course I know it will calm down, but the offers of work have naturally been very welcome.
I was asked to stand in at the last minute for Question of Sport. And bumped into Robbie Savage as he left following the first recording. 'They let any old riff-raff in here.' Yes, Robbie Savage.
Played on Phil Tufnell’s team and met Irish champion jockey Richard Hughes, which was a real honour. I had to put our snap on Twitter.
If there’s one commitment I am nervous about, it’s my first appearance on The Late Late Show. It’s an Irish institution. And just to put my mind at rest the fellow guests are Dohmnall Gleeson, The Dubliners, Catherine Jenkins and Billy Connolly.
I do keep asking myself what I’m doing there.
Coleman's coming through
Everton reserves manager Alan Stubbs first brought Seamus Coleman to my attention.
He’d just signed from Sligo Rovers and Stubbsy mentioned him because he liked the look of him straight away and he looked like he was going to become a good footballer.
So I kept an eye on him and I know he was an integral part of the Blackpool team which gained promotion.
They wanted to sign him permanently but David Moyes recognised that loan spell was an important part of his progression and he had plans for him at Everton.
In his first season he mainly played in midfield but for the last two has been competing with Tony Hibbert for the right-back slot.
Tony is a very good defender, and not much gets past him, but doesn’t give as much as Seamus going forward.
Impressed: Kilbane rates Seamus Coleman and is pleased with his progress
Tony’s injury has given Seamus his chance, which he has really grasped. He was excellent against Tottenham last week and you can see his defensive game is improving. He has made mistakes but the good thing is, you can see he is learning from them.
I really believe that Seamus’s long overdue regular place in the Republic of Ireland team is behind his form this season.
It should have happened two years ago but now he is established in the squad, he has grown in confidence.
He could have gone the other way after missing out on the Euro finals, and I know that must have hurt him. How many players get the hump and don’t make themselves available You have to earn the right to play for your country.
Seamus has been on the peripherary but always made himself available, turned up when selected, not moaned when he hasn’t played. He just wants to play for Ireland.
He’s turned up, worked hard, played well for his club and got his call-ups. His performances can only be good news for Ireland, Everton and Seamus.
My part in Arsenal’s downfall
I got a text message from my former Hull team-mate Matt Duke on Tuesday, wishing me all the best for retirement.
I asked what he was up to and he texted: 'All good, got a game against Arsenal tonight.’
Clearly it inspired Matt to his heroics in the penalty shoot-out Capital One Cup win over The Gunners.
Matt, who’s now coaching at Bradford too, has fought back from testicular cancer, and his harsh release from Hull in the summer of 2011.
And I can’t think of many lads who deserve a night to cherish for the rest of his life as much as Dukes.
Kevin Kilbane is a columnist for The Irish Daily Mail