Match Day Compere at Manchester United
Here are a few of the amazing people John has had the pleasure of working with over the years and Old Trafford.
Growing up there were three things that I was obsessed with; Star Wars, riding my motorbike and Manchester United. Although I never had any misconception that I would be a professional footballer (in truth i've always been pretty useless at football), it didn't stop me from pretending to be the likes of Norman Whiteside, Mark Hughes or Bryan Robson whilst booting the ball against a wall or in the playground. I would watch matches in awe of my heroes and kick every ball in my mind. The first game I saw live was on the 17th May 1988 when I was 8 years old and my Dad took me to see Man United v A.C. Milan in a friendly European Challenge Match.
It is amazing to me that years later I got to know two of the players that played in the first game I ever saw at Old Trafford. I was proud to interview both Clayton Blackmoore and Lee Martin and to become friends with them over the period of 5 years that I worked as matchday compere.
Many people have asked me over the years how I managed to land a job at Old Trafford and most are amazed when I tell them. It didn't involve sending endless letters, emails or knocking on doors. It didn't come about after obsessing over getting to speak to the right person or even sending in a CV. In truth it was a complete fluke and a moment where I siezed an opportunity.
As a singer I was often asked by agents and clients to sing for drinks receptions, launch nights and various parties. On this occasion an agent I was working with asked me if I would sing for the opening party for the new Macdonald Hotel in Manchester he explained that there woulnd not be any payment available. My response was that if they can build a multi-million pound hotel they can pay for entertianment. He then followed this with the usual agent trick of saying but imagine how many bookings you might get out of it. I thought about it and decided that I would ask to use his Manchester United hospitality season tickets to watch a game in exchange for me singing at the hotel launch. He agreed and said I would need to collect the tickets on the night of the game and to phone when I arrived at the stadium.
I was met by a guy who worked for the agent who handed over the tickets. I noticed that he was wearing a manchester United tie and lanyard with a security pass and so asked what he was doing there. He explaind that he would be interviewing players before the match in the hospitality areas and reading the quiz etc. I immediatly asked how I would go about getting a job like that and he said I could start on the next match. It really was that simple... I should point out that he had already seen me working as a singer and DJ and so knew that I had the skills to undertake the job.