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.