Legends In The Making

Thursday, August 20 2015
Legends In The Making

The hmv Football Extravaganza, the retailer-sponsored fundraiser, has been an event on the entire entertainment business’ calendar in the UK for 20 years now.

Ahead of this year’s event, which honours David Beckham with the coveted Legend award on September 1, we thought we’d ask a few key figures and regular attendees for their favourite memories of the event.

Tickets for this year’s dinner have now almost sold out, but a few are still left, all you have to do is email Rae@TheFE.co.uk

Meanwhile, here are a few memories of the event…

“In the time I’ve been involved with the Football Extravaganza, my personal highlight was watching Pelé take the time before the event to meet everyone in the room and spending a lot of time talking to the kids present.”
Paul McGowan, chairman of hmv and ceo of Hilco Capital (and Chelsea supporter)

“We have had many great nights and great honourees at our HMV Football Dinner.

“One that stands out was Brian Clough. It was touch and go over the weekend before the dinner whether he would make it on the Monday, he was unwell and his son Nigel said there maybe a problem – given we had sold over 1000 tickets we decided to send a car for him at his home in Derby.

“Fortunately this did the trick and he arrived at the Grosvenor House on time,a little confused saying he wasn’t going to speak for long and then he was going home after he received his Award.

“Russell Watson opened the evening singing Nessun Dorma, which was wonderful, after he finishes Brian said to him, you were rubbish, have you never heard of Alma Cogan, now that’s what I call a singer! Having been given his Award by his good friend Brian Moore, he looked at the audience and said, London, I always used to like coming here turning you lot over!

“He then went on to make the most witty and marvellous speech lasting not the 10 mins, but over 45 minutes, he was truly outstanding and received a well-deserved lengthy standing ovation. We were privileged to have him with us, his like we will never see again”
Brian McLaughlin, chairman of the hmv Football Extravaganza and Nordoff Robbins governor (and Portsmouth supporter)

“I remember speaking at length to Harry Redknapp and him asking me if Craig Bellamy was any good (he was a young lad and just about to burst into the first team),

“I told him he was rubbish (or words to that effect), too small, no football brain etc… he said thanks I’ll have someone look at him ASAP….

“Also ask Steve Bruce for a photo, he said yes so I handed him the camera & said just push the button on the top…. he told me to F** off…. never liked him.
Mike Grant, hmv (and Norwich City) 

“Always a fantastic night in the industry calendar, I particularly remember meeting Mike Summerbee (see above)…”
Andy Anderson, hmv (and Manchester City)

“My favourite moment was finding my way into the VIP area one year and having a decent chat with Frank Lampard.

“Other than that my recollections of the nights are pretty hazy…”
Tim Scaping, hmv (and Chelsea)

“I remember being tongue tied when talking to Alan Shearer, questioning Graeme LeSaux (then a Southampton player) on his times at Chelsea including being sent off early in his career (vs Luton)… I’ve been a guest (in my THE days) of the likes of MIA when Lawrence Ronson was heckling somebody or other from Tottenham, of Universal Music when I sat all night next to Tony Hadley, who wanted to talk about his solo career and relevance to the Supermarket consumer (he thought I was the Sainsbury’s buyer)… The best over-riding memory though was when Gerry Marsden sang You’ll Never Walk Alone and the whole room stood and sang along at the top of their (drunken) voices.

“Overall it’s always my favourite industry night out in the year (obviously excluding Oktobrefest) – it’s a great mix of everything that is good on a night out, and for a good cause!
Steve Kitney, Koch Media (and Chelsea)

“The hmv Football Extravaganza has long been one of my favourite events in the industry diary, it’s always been a truly enjoyable evening although, like some of the above, there’s always been a touch of haziness when it comes to remembering certain events.

“Who was it, for example, who was stood in front of me in the queue for the toilet, as Steve Bruce stood behind me? I was stuck in the middle of what I’m assured most footballers would say was dressing-room banter, aka trash talk, as Bruce mercilessly ribbed a fellow manager? (On reflection and after much thought, I suspect it might have been John Gregory. But you never know.) Even the journey home could be incident packed – I remember going one night fresh off the plane from a business trip, then our taxi getting a puncture on flat tyre on the way home, leaving myself and a couple of other industry types, jetlagged and drunk, on the North Circular Road.

“There was Teddy Sheringham – the only football player whose birthday I’ve known –  although I bottled going up and telling him that, even if I would always try and applaud louder for any player or manager appearing who had even a vague Millwall connection.

“But the funniest moment came at when Sir Alex Ferguson was given his Legend award. Never has the title bestowed upon him been so fitting and, with the usual smart thinking, hmv had prepared a hand-picked CD of Fergie’s favourite tunes, a rather bizarre mix taking in everyone from Abba to Patsy Cline. All were laid out on the tables, along with the usual scraves, freebies and other paraphernalia. Some time later in the evening, I got a call from one of my oldest pals, Mike Flello, from World Cinema, the jointly owned Tartan and Artificial Eye sales operation. He was in the toilets, told me he’d seen Fergie go in and I should grab a couple of the CDs and get to the gents sharpish. CDs in hand, I proceeded to lurk outside the bloke’s toilets (not for the first time, as some wags proffered), waiting for Sir Alex to exit. Fergie was on fine form – taking it all in good nature when Flello first got him to sign it to Wolves Mike, then asked if he knew how best to flog it on ebay… Better still, Richard Keys, hairy hands and all, offered to sign our copies. “No, we don’t want your autograph mate,” Flello chided, putting him in his place years before he got the boot off the telly. Given I’d seen Ferguson in action at Old Trafford and had to ask him a question – as terrifying as anything I’ve ever done in my time as a journalist – it was a surprisingly bravado performance. And despite joking about getting rid of the CD, I still own my copy, mainly to remember one of my favourite industry nights out.
Tim Murray, The Raygun (and Millwall)

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