Head of Strategic Communication
Best pitch presenter you’ve ever seen:
Anyone speaking with genuine passion and authenticity will win me over more than simply a slick, polished presenter.
Best sports marketing campaign (that wasn’t yours):
The obvious answer but it has to be This Girl Can – an insight driven campaign that achieved real cut through and delivered results. The money invested helped, but nothing else has come close to it since.
Best agency (that isn’t yours):
H2 Business Communication – an agency who do what you need them to do, and do it exceptionally well – which is why they became such an integral part of The Football League Awards and making it the success it was.
Best young industry talent:
Amy McConnell (below) (Co-Founder, 2Tone Creative) & Jack Baker (LTA Public Policy) – two people I have been lucky enough to have previously recruited, but who have incredible talent and are already going places. Future industry leaders without a doubt.
Best sporting event attended:
London 2012 – I managed to attend 26 events and take lots of great people with me, but will be amazed if anything can ever beat Super Saturday – the pinnacle of what was an unbelievable two weeks to be alive.
Best sporting event on TV:
The Tour de France when it was on Channel 4 and produced by VTV– covering several hours of sport in a short highlights programme without you feeling you’d missed anything and so soon after it had finished, and most critically presenting it in a way that was equally accessible and enjoyable to both avid fans and newcomers, was brilliant. Something a lot of current coverage could still learn from.
Best brand ambassador:
Marcus Rashford – part of a current crop of footballers combining the power of their voices with genuine passion and authenticity to makea difference. But I can’t not also mention the likes of wheelchair tennis players Alfie Hewett & Gordon Reid – elite disability sport remains an under used and undervalued part of our industry, meaning many brands are missing out on some real gems.
Best industry event or conference:
Think! Sponsorship – as much as content is important, meeting and speaking with others at events is perhaps more so – and this is where early in my career I first met some of the incredible industry contacts
who have gone on to become great friends – with a nod to the brilliant Steve Watts (Brentford FC), Weronika Abramowicz (CAA Sports) and Claire Gatcum (Gatcum Consulting)).
Best film containing a scene depicting the sports business:
Best book recommendation:
The Alchemist – a simple story with an inspirational and powerful message.
Best bar or pub:
It’s no longer there but Union was the local for FL and PL staff in my Football League days – great memories!
Not fancy, but Annie’s Burger Shack in Nottingham offers something a little different.
Best holiday resort:
An African safari – but in the main, anywhere that is not a resort. If I’m on holiday, you can usually find myself and my wife doing something active and getting away from the crowds.
Best box set:
The Bridge. Brilliant.
Best influence on your career:
The Football League quartet of Richard Masters, John Nagle, Gary Linke (below) and Gavin Megaw were hugely influential in my early career – and more recently Jo Farquharson from my time at the Tennis Foundation. All of them outstanding in various ways, and people who I have learned a lot from.
Best dinner companions (min 4, max 6):
Two figures from sports history – Pierre de Coubertin and William McGregor – whose creations have had such an impact around the world – as well as iconic past and present sporting greats – Daley Thompson (responsible for some of my earliest inspirational sporting memories), Billie Jean King, Alistair Brownlee and Dina Asher Smith. Tough to leave out Adam Peaty.
Best job in the sports biz:
Thomas Bach – President of the IOC. The Olympics is so much more than just a sporting event, and is a cultural phenomenon of our times. It obviously brings with it tremendous challenges, particularly now, but
being in charge of what is the most iconic and influential sporting movement on the planet provides huge opportunity to positively shape the world in which we live, and so is probably as good as it gets.
Best professional regret:
I try not to regret anything
Best skill you most covet:
Language skills – my own are far more basic than I’d like, but being able to speak more than one language well can open so many doors
Best trait you admire in others:
Best overrated virtue:
Using a repertoire of latest industry buzzwords and jargon – often doesn’t add anything other than over complication and inaccessibility for others to what you are saying. Just keep things simple.
To make a difference