The latest in a series of profiles and interviews, Orginal Fat Bob gives his personal view on the life and career of a footballing guest, before sitting down for a chat and asking a few questions. Our Diasboro special guest this week is Kay Murray.
1. The Overview – the woman and her career
Kay is best known as a well-respected and experienced sports presenter for USA and European football. She was born and raised in Middlesbrough and is a Broadcast Journalist with a degree in journalism. With over a decade of on-screen experience in Football Broadcasting, which includes working with such well-known clubs as our own Boro and Real Madrid. (I suppose this is due to the similar style of play and excitement watching these famous teams – OFB).
Kay is also a keen writer, with articles published in numerous football magazines and websites. (You never know, she may one day contribute to our humble Diasboro blog for our posters and lurkers worldwide – OFB).
She says that her career is entirely owed to the fact that she loves football. A devotion which was gained whilst spending her childhood watching our team, through good times and bad. The fact that she is attractive, personable, well qualified and intelligent probably helps her career as well.
She realized her dream, to closely work with the Boro and their players, when Kay got a lucky break and joined Boro TV Extra from June 2002 to June 2004. She had initially gone down to the club to model the latest Boro shirt for publicity, but whilst there she met the Executive Producer of Boro TV whom she used to live near to. It was to prove to be a lucky reunion for Kay and she subsequently hosted, wrote and co-produced a live weekly football warm-up show. This was Middlesbrough Football Club’s official channel and some of you may remember this was the first official football club channel well before Man United and Chelsea had thought of it. This experience of TV encouraged Kay to do her degree in journalism and the rest is history as they say.
Her experience includes having worked for FIFA, UEFA, Fox Sports and shows covering the Spanish soccer league La Liga. From 2011 through 2013, she jointly co-hosted the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards ceremony alongside Ruud Gullit and between 2013 and 2016, Kay hosted the FIFA Interactive World Cup show.
In Dec 2012, she began working for beINSPORTSUSA, the North American sports network. She has also worked as a Spanish Football Correspondent for the Malaysian Astro TV network’s show FourFourTwo Eurozone.
Her work for the Real Madrid TV channel included both the international and Spanish speaking audience. Kay was a Pitch Side reporter for Real Madrid on match days, both home and away. She also travelled the world with the team, twice assisting them in their pre-season tours of the USA, reporting on the team’s day to day news in both English and Spanish.
Meeting Kay for the first time, it is obvious that she is an accomplished media professional. She puts you at ease and has a warm personality and unusually in her position, she also has a self-effacing attitude.
One story that she tells is, whilst she was at Real Madrid TV she was to be introduced to David Beckham for the first time. She got up early in the morning spent a lot of time in the Bathroom, doing her make-up and hair and popped some chewing gum to keep her mouth fresh. It was only whilst she was in the car on the way to the stadium that she realized she had forgotten to clean her teeth. Absolutely horrified at meeting him and greeting him in the Spanish style of giving and receiving a kiss on both cheeks, she managed the situation by adopting a typical English greeting of a formal handshake. She went on to say that her male colleague looked at her in some shock at this greeting and told her that she had just missed the perfect opportunity to get two kisses from Beckham! She remarked to me rather wistfully that Beckham had smelled gorgeous!
Her Real Madrid experience included contact with well-known and famous managers, including Fabio Capello and Jose Mourinho.
Whilst we attempt in our own way to pose her some pertinent and possibly impertinent questions in our interview, it should be noted that Kay has interviewed many famous stars for TV shows and specialist documentaries. These include the late Sir Bobby Robson, Jose Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka;
Her forecast for the Boro home game against Bolton was for a clean sheet, with a 2 0 win for the Boro (A good judge – OFB).
2. The Interview – a quick chat
OFB: What was the first Boro match you remember going to see?
KM: It was at Clayton Blackmore’s testimonial against Manchester United when I was about 14 or 15 at the time. I also vividly remember the last game we played at Ayresome Park when John Hendrie scored the last goal there.
OFB: Who was your favourite Boro player then and others that you watched at that time?
KM: I had more than one, I loved Stuart Ripley because he came to see all the kids at Kader Primary School where I was. I loved John Hendrie because of the way he played, always with a smile on his face. French Frank-(Quedrue) due to his fighting spirit and of course Juninho. I had never seen a player before who was quite like the little fella.
OFB: How did you manage to join Boro TV as a professional presenter?
KM: It came after I entered the Boro Babe competition, I took on some work experience and got the opportunity to pilot a new show.
OFB: What has been your most memorable game, your own individual performance in front of the camera and best experience with the fans?
KM: The Carling Cup Final was unforgettable, in terms of performance – the Ballon D’or.
The Arsenal fans in the 03/04 season were particularly memorable. In my role as ‘Boro Babe’ I had to walk around the pitch in the new away kit, the Arsenal fans all started cheekily shouting that I should ‘do a Ravanelli!’ I, of course, declined to reenact his famous celebration but was still able to get a giggle from them and raise a cheer from the stands!
OFB: Is your job as glamorous as it looks?
KM: People often see only the glamorous side of the job, but a large part of the role is spent office-bound, researching and keeping an eye on all the latest news.
OFB: Is your job as exciting as it seems?
KM: Football is usually exciting, whether it’s a thriller of a game or one that offers up a lot of drama or storylines, so yes, the job is generally quite exciting.
OFB: What was your worst game or experience and why?
KM: Barca 5 Real Madrid 0 in 2010 at Camp Nou. As I was working for Real Madrid at the time, being pitch-side for that game was tough. Things went from bad to worse when the heavens opened, and we didn’t have umbrellas either. That was a match when Real Madrid could not do it on a cold, rainy night in Barcelona!
OFB: Who was in your opinion the best manager that Boro have ever had and why?
KM: It’s hard to name the best manager, but Bryan Robson really did propel the club into the limelight. I love Tony Mowbray as he’s such a good guy and Aitor Karanka’s achievements cannot be overlooked.
OFB: Who has been the greatest influence on your career and why?
KM: Undoubtedly it has been Middlesbrough Football Club, my granddad and my Mum who has been a big help. Also, a great influence was the late Sir Bobby Robson.
OFB: Which opposing team and which player did you fear Boro playing against?
KM: Arsenal back in the Invincible era with Thierry Henry et al. I was at Highbury for Arsenal’s 5-3 comeback win against us. Years later, my first player interview at BeINSports USA was with Thierry Henry himself. We talked about that game and he remembered pretty much everything about it!
OFB: Who is your current favourite Boro player and why?
KM: Adama Traore, I have a soft spot for him, but I know that he hugely divides opinion.
OFB: How do you think the match day has changed from the time that you started watching and presenting professional football to the present day?
KM: The biggest change is how much more glamorous and lucrative the football industry is today.
OFB: If you could be a fly on the wall, is there any dressing room you would wish to eavesdrop on?
KM: Any of Pep’s team talks or for Bobby Robson’s England back in the 1990 World Cup.
OFB: Do you have any regrets in your career, or missed opportunities?
KM: I regret not making it home for promotion as I had to work on a game later that same day. I wish I had done more to try and switch my schedule, but it was the year of my wedding, so it wasn’t easy.
OFB: Who was the nicest person that you have interviewed and why?
KM: Ruud Van Nistelrooy. He was very down-to-earth, spoke well and was always very kind to anyone he worked with.
OFB: Do you still follow the Boro and their results
KM: Is that even a question?! Always! Even my Italian husband is a fan…he has no choice, really!
OFB: Whereabouts do you live these days and what are your career ambitions?
KM: I live in Miami Beach, Florida and would love to continue working in football.
OFB: Whom have you made a lifelong friend through football?
KM: Hayley McQueen, and all because of Boro TV.
OFB: Is it nice for you to think that you can act as an ambassador for Middlesbrough’s town, the Teesside area and its people?
KM: It means so much to me. I will always fly the flag for Boro, wherever I am in the world.
OFB: Finally, if you hadn’t had a professional career as a sports broadcaster, what do you think you would have done as a career?
KM: I would have had a career in Advertising or possibly Property. I can’t really imagine doing anything else now though!
OFB: A huge thank you Kay for taking the time to talk to Diasboro and all our readers, posters and bloggers. She is going back to work on the recent El Clasico game between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Hurry back from Miami soon.
Kay took a great interest in our blog and she has promised to retweet it to her Boro followers and others worldwide which is a staggering 115,000!
We look forward to her possibly joining and sharing our blog and taking an active part in our moans, groans and general discussions about the Boro, all things football related and sometimes cricxxx!