From Nelson Market Hall to the Maracana
Here's an imponderable for you. How does a dyslexic kid from the back streets of Nelson, with hugely modest qualifications end up going from a greengrocers stall in a market hall to commentating on football in the iconic Maracana Stadium in Brazil?
I have to admit that I find it hard to believe myself at times, but I maintain my stance that if I can achieve what I've done in my life from my humble background, anyone can achieve anything within reasonable parameters.
Leaving school in Thatchers Britain in 1981 was particularly daunting with unemployment figures at a then all-time high. I was one of the fortunate few, thanks to my Auntie Sheila's contacts I went straight to work at a greengrocers stall in the market hall. Whilst I was genuinely grateful to have a job, the truth is my heart wasn't really in it.
I'd daydream about football all day long, Saturday afternoon was my salvation. Fortunately for me, the owners reluctantly granted Saturday afternoons off but made it clear that it was only going to be a temporary thing, a notion that filled me with dread. I didn't want to be a greengrocers assistant, I wanted to be a football commentator, but my prospects were probably close to zero. I didn't like the notion drummed into school children at the time that academic qualifications were everything and that without them you hadn't got a prayer.
Maximizing the qualities an individual has at their disposal, allied to focus, commitment and dedication can lead to incredible achievements for any human being. So how did I get from Nelson Market Hall to the Maracana, and beyond it to spending a quarter of a century with Sir Alex Ferguson, a one on one audience with Pele, and many truly brilliant years with Sky Sports amongst numerous other things.
I'm fairly convinced that I believe in feat. In the early 1980s two impromptu actions defined and completely altered the direction of my life. My Father was a Secondary School PE teacher, my Mother in later life qualified as a nurse. Sitting with my Dad high in the Main Stand at Liverpool's Anfield Stadium in September 1981, I turned to him and asked if he could get me some photographs of the Liverpool team running out onto the pitch. He had a small Canon camera with an inbuilt lens strapped over his shoulder. Dad was one of the most law-abiding citizens you'd ever meet, but what happened next was the start of something that was almost unbelievable and truly incredible.
In conversation with Mum one night, she told me about how popular the Hospital Radio Station was where she worked. One Saturday lunchtime after finishing at the greengrocers stall I took a right turn instead of the usual left. Why I really cannot answer, all I can say is that I am glad that I did, it turned out to be my true day of destiny.
Sharing my life experiences and offering encouragement to others is something that I love to do. Speaking to groups in workplaces, seminars, societies, schools, colleges, and Universities is something I'm used to. Please feel free to get in touch if you wish for me to come and speak about my lifetime experiences which were literally born out of nothing. It won't cost you the earth.