Sports Business Speaker

Niki Lauda

Niki Lauda

Niki is a classic F1 combination of courage and calculation. This three-time World Champion survived one of the worst, fiery crashes ever seen in Formula One only to walk away from a near-certain 4th title in 1976. More recently an aviation entrepreneur, he has founded and run two airlines. His triumphant second career in the mid-1980s with McLaren saw Lauda as the elder statesman of F1 and the tutor of young “Professor” Alain Prost. Lauda is also an accomplished writer and has written five books: The Art and Science of Grand Prix Driving (titled Formula 1: The Art and Technicalities of Grand Prix Driving in some markets) (1975); My Years With Ferrari (1978); The New Formula One: A Turbo Age (1984); Meine Story (titled To Hell and Back in some markets) (1986); Das dritte Leben (1996). Niki Lauda dominated the start Continue Reading »

Phil Tufnell

Phil Tufnell

As a junior cricketer, Phil Tufnell was tipped to become the most talented English spinner of his generation. He made his debut for Middlesex in 1986. Phil played 42 Tests and 20 One Day Internationals for England between 1990 and 2001, and 316 first-class matches, mainly for Middlesex. He retired from professional cricket in 2003 in order to participate in the reality television show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! from which he emerged as King of the Jungle. He was also a team captain on the sports quiz show They Think It’s All Over. Phil has tried his hand at punditry, working at Sky Sports and Channel 4, and has made appearances on current affairs programmes, chat shows and quiz shows. He has co-authored a humorous book called Phil Tufnell’s A To Z of Cricket and wrote his Continue Reading »

Pierluigi Collina

Pierluigi Collina

Pierluigi was widely considered as the best referee of his generation, having obtained for 6 consecutive times the FIFA “Best referee of the Year” prize. He is still involved in football as non-paid consultant to the Italian Football Referees Association (AIA), and is a member of the UEFA Referees Committee. Collina has been the head of referees for the Football Federation of Ukraine since July 5, 2010. Pierluigi Collina was born in Bologna and attended the local university, graduating with a degree in economics in 1984. During his teenage years, he played as a central defender for a local team, but was persuaded in 1977 to take a referee’s course, where it was discovered that he had a particular aptitude for the job. Within three years he was officiating at the highest level of regional matches, while also completing his Continue Reading »

Rafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez

Rafael joined Real Madrid‘s coaching staff at the age of 26, going on to work as the under 19s reserve team coach, and assistant manager for the senior team. At the start of the 1986–87 season, he was appointed coach of Castilla B. With this team he won two league titles in 1987 and 1989. He won a third league title with Real Madrid Youth B in 1990. Benitez guided Segunda Division side Extremadura back to the Primera Division in his first season in 1997. He left the club, taking a brief break from football before returning to coach Tenerife in 2000. When Benitez was appointed coach of Valencia he proved himself to be amongst the top Spanish managers by winning La Liga in the 2001–02 season, and was names Manager of the Year by a number of critics. In Continue Reading »

Rob Hawthorne

Rob Hawthorne

Rob was born in Dudley, Worcestershire now West Midlands. He was a pupil at Foxyards Primary School and later the Blue Coat School. His media career began at the age of 14, when he was still a pupil at the Blue Coat School. After participating in a local radio talent spotting competition, he was taken on by Beacon Radio in Wolverhampton as a member of the team for the Sunday morning show, “Kid’s Stuff”. He then became one of the regular commentators on live broadcasts for BBC Radio 5, shortly after its launch, before moving on to BBC Radio Five Live with the rest of its sports team in 1994. After senior commentators Mike Ingham and Alan Green, Hawthorne and colleague Ron Jones formed the second “tier” of commentators. During his time on radio Hawthorne commentated on several Division One Continue Reading »

Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez

Roberto played as a midfielder and began his career at lower league Spanish side CF Balaguer. Two years later he went to English Third Division side Wigan Athletic. Becoming part of a small Spanish contingent at the club. He finished the season as the club’s top goalscorer with 13 goals in all competitions, and his impressive performances were recognised when he was named in the Division Three PFA Team of the Year, and was also voted by the supporters as the club’s Player of the Year. In 2001 he moved to Scottish side Motherwell, he switched clubs the following year to Walsall. This prompted a move to Swansea City; in his first season Martinez was chosen as the team captain and helped the Welsh side avoid relegation from the Football League. He formed an important part of the team from Continue Reading »

Roger Black MBE

Roger Black MBE

Roger represented Great Britain at the highest level in the world of athletics, both as an individual 400 metres runner and as a member of the 4×400 metres relay team. He won fifteen major Championship medals including European, Commonwealth, and World Championship Gold medals. His greatest achievement was winning the Olympic 400 metres Silver medal in 1996 and he is particularly admired for his triumphs over adversity, successfully overcoming several serious injuries and set backs throughout his career. He is also a well-known television presenter and motivational speaker. During his athletics career, Black won individual silver medals in the 400 metres sprint at both the Olympic Games and World Championships, two individual gold medals at the European Championships, and 4×400 metres relay gold medals at both the World and European Championships. His greatest individual achievement in track and field was in the 1996 Continue Reading »

Ron Atkinson

Ron Atkinson

Ron was originally signed by Aston Villa at the age of 17, he then transferred to Oxford United (then called Headington United) in the close season of 1959 on a free transfer. He went on to make over 500 appearances in all competitions as a wing-half for the club, earning the nickname “The Tank”, and scoring a total of 14 goals. He was the first ever footballer to captain a club from the Southern League through three divisions of the Football League. After retiring from playing, Atkinson became manager player of non-league Kettering Town in 1971, aged only 32. His success there led to a move to the league with Cambridge United, going on to win the then Fourth Division in 1977. At the start of 1978, Atkinson moved to manage First Division West Bromwich Albion. Big Ron led West Continue Reading »

Ruud Gullit

Ruud Gullit

Ruud is widely considered as on of the greats of football–a versatile player with an incredible appetite for victory. He was the captain of the Netherlands national team that was victorious at Euro 88 and was also a member of the squad for the 1990 World Cup. He was named the European Footballer of the Year in 1987 and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989. He developed his football skills in the confines of the Rozendwarsstraat, and street football was instrumental in his formative years. Gullit’s first team were the Meerboys, where he joined as a junior in 1970. Career Ruud Gullit moved to Feyenoord in 1982, for a fee of £300,000, where he made 85 league appearances, scoring 31 goals. At Feyenoord Gullit found himself playing alongside Dutch legend Johan Cruyff. In July 1995, he signed for Chelsea on a free transfer. Initially played Continue Reading »

Sarah-Jane Mee

Sarah-Jane Mee

Sarah-Jane moved from Sky Sports News to join the ITV’s sports team in October 2002 where she presented the sport on Central News West and also the main news programme. She also anchored the pan-regional programme, Soccer Monday. As a presenter with ITV Central, she became the face of sport for ITV in the Midlands. As well as presenting on the six o’clock news programme Central Tonight most evenings as Main and Sports Presenter, she was the main presenter of ITV Central’s popular weekly Central Soccer Night show. She co-hosted the ITV1 Central and London football programme Hancock’s Half-Time, along with Nick Hancock. The show was later given its original name of Central Soccer Night after Hancock departed, and Mee hosted the show into 2007, along with former striker Stan Collymore. Her radio career began in 2006, when she stood Continue Reading »

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