HAY­LEY MCQUEEN

The Herald - Herald Sport - - COMMENT -

Ev­ery­one says I just­fol­low Manch­ester United be­cause of dad but­the city­has alw ays been spe­cial. I also have a softspot­for Mid­dles­brough...

AS A kid, I didn’t re­ally know or un­der­stand what dad did. I wasn’t aware that he played foot­ball, or aware of who he was, Gor­don McQueen – Leeds United, Manch­ester United and Scot­land icon. He had big-name friends like Bryan Rob­son and Steve Bruce who were a bit younger and more fa­mous. I never had my dad down as be­ing fa­mous like them.

I never saw him play foot­ball. Even though he was still at Old Traf­ford when I was born, I wasn’t mas­sively into watch­ing foot­ball or play­ing foot­ball. As a girl grow­ing up in Scot­land times were dif­fer­ent then. What I was into was ath­let­ics.

I grew up in Ren­frew­shire. I lived in both Kil­ma­colm and Lochwin­noch. I went to a re­ally good school called St Columba’s in Kil­ma­colm and they pushed you with team­sports. I’d spent a lot of time play­ing hockey, cross coun­try, a lot of ath­let­ics. I was very sporty in both ju­nior and se­nior school.

Ev­ery sin­gle after school club I was at, I ended up the ju­nior school and se­nior school sport cham­pion and a lot of my Satur­days were taken up with that. You’d not be­lieve it now, I hate even step­ping foot in a gym.

Po­ten­tially I al­ways knew my ca­reer was go­ing to end up in sport, but my par­ents were re­ally keen to make sure me, my sis­ter Anna and brother Ed­die went down an aca­demic route.

Dad was very keen my brother wasn’t go­ing to be­come a foot­baller. He played cricket, rugby and ev­ery­thing, and he wanted to make sure me and my sis­ter got an ed­u­ca­tion.

As I said, Satur­days weren’t spent at the foot­ball cheer­ing on my dad. The first thing I re­mem­ber was him as a coach at Mid­dles­brough.

Then all of a sud­den it was ‘oh your dad is a coach’ and foot­ball was a bit dif­fer­ent. He’d ob­vi­ously been at Air­drie then St Mir­ren, and I kind of half re­mem­ber go­ing to the train­ing ground or club, but never to games. It was quite a hand­ful for my mum!

I knew my grandad played foot­ball. He played for Hibs, Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley, he also won the Ju­nior Scot­tish Cup as a goal­keeper. My dad had pic­tures of his achieve­ments all around our house but noth­ing of his. The only thing was moth-eaten shirts he’d swapped in my grandma’s house when she passed away that he kept.

We came back from Hong Kong when I was eight so I’d missed out on a lot of the things kids were into on the telly, but we’d watch Scot­sport. Some­times we’d get taken along to the stu­dio when my dad was there. We’d not care about that, we’d just want to go in and sit in on the film­ing of Wheel of For­tune and Take The High Road. It was great at the time.

Despite my al­ter­na­tive in­ter­ests at STV, foot­ball wasn’t far from my heart and as I grew up there was al­ways one team that stayed close to it – Manch­ester United. I was born in Manch­ester. Ev­ery­one says I just fol­low them be­cause of my Dad but the city has al­ways been spe­cial. I also worked at MUTV for four full sea­sons. I was lucky enough to work there when Sir Alex Fer­gu­son was in charge and to speak to him reg­u­larly was just a priv­i­lege. Hav­ing said that, I also have a soft spot for Mid­dles­brough given my dad’s con­nec­tion there. I have an affin­ity with the Teesside club and al­ways will.

Now? Well my Satur­days are very dif­fer­ent for me. I’m now im­mersed in Premier League foot­ball. I have a 14-hour day which is long for the full pro­duc­tion team. I’m in the of­fice at around half 10, have a meet­ing, go to hair and make up – the best part of the day – then we are on air at 2.30pm for a live game which is broad­cast to the Repub­lic of Ire­land. We will then do a full round up of all the games from the stu­dio, then it’s game of the day to do, match choice and then we do a half hour round up show. It’s a long day.

You do be­come quite de­sen­si­tised in our busi­ness. I used to go to all the games at United when I worked there but now you ap­pre­ci­ate it far more. Now I’m in a stu­dio I get more ex­cited when I get to go to watch United any time they are down in Lon­don.

It still means a lot to me. Foot­ball will al­ways be spe­cial to me.

FAM OUS FA­THER: Gor­don M cQu een was an icon for Leeds United, M an­ch­ester United and Scot­land, bu t Hay­ley (be­low) didn’t even know he was famou s grow­ing u p.

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