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News > Careers & Mentoring > King's welcomes Oliver Holt

King's welcomes Oliver Holt

Top journalist talks to pupils about his dream job
 Jamie McCabe is pictured next to Oliver Holt
 Jamie McCabe is pictured next to Oliver Holt

Aspiring sports writer and Year 10 pupil Jamie McCabe got an inside view of his dream job when he invited one of the nation's leading journalists Oliver Holt to give a talk at The King's School.

The 15-year-old from Over Alderley said: "It's my absolute dream job to go to the best sports stadiums in the world and be paid for watching and writing about great sport. Me and many of my friends think what could possibly be better, so I invited Mr Holt to come and talk to us and tell us what it is really like."

Former King's pupil Oliver Holt, who left the top Macclesfield school to study History at Christ Church College, Oxford, in 1984, was the first to agree.  

"You are certainly not wrong," he replied, "It's always been my dream job and I still consider myself to be very lucky today. I get to go the World Cup every four years and I go to Wimbledon every year. I've covered the Olympics, the Masters Golf and Formula One all over the world and it's been fantastic and it still is."

After Oxford University, Oliver completed a post graduate one year course in journalism at Cardiff before starting as a news reporter on the Liverpool Echo.

However, he never forgot his great passion: "As a kid I'd go to 80 or 90 football games a season. Stockport County were my team and are still today, but I'd go to all the City and United games I could get to as well."

"So when I was on the Echo I asked if I could cover some sport and they let me cover Tranmere in the lower leagues on my days off. That's how it started."

After three years he moved to The Times as Motor Racing Correspondent before graduating to Chief Football Writer in 1996 in time to cover England's hosting of the Euro Championships, and then to Chief Sports Correspondent in 2000.  He joined the Daily Mirror in 2002 as the Chief Sports Writer, and in 2015, he replaced the legendary Patrick Collins at The Mail on Sunday.  He was also a regular guest on the Sunday Supplement, among the elite of the press box airing their personal views for Sky's Sunday morning magazine.

Taking questions from a large audience of pupils and staff, Oliver remembered his most impressive name check of those he had interviewed was not actually a sportsperson. "I covered Formula One in my early years and I interviewed the Hollywood legend Paul Newman, who was an Indycar team owner and that was pretty impressive, but of the sports people I have known, I am really glad to have had dinner with Wayne Rooney a few times. If anything his achievements on the field have been undervalued. As a young lad from Liverpool, he coped with the intense pressure he faced very well and now he has the makings of a pretty decent manager too." 

He then told the young men and women that journalism had changed dramatically in the 30 years he had been a reporter. "The internet means you are always on duty. We used to file our copy once day, but now with the online presence you have to be ready all the time.”

He was also very optimistic about the state of British sport and, in particular, the development of women's team sports. "The achievement of the Lionesses was remarkable, wonderful for the country and young women in particular and all part of the democratisation of British sport.

"Also when I started, who would have thought we would have had British winners of the Tour de France or that a British man would win Wimbledon, plus, of course, now we have the Premier League, which is the best football league in the World."

He had one final piece of advice for a young person trying to make their way in his profession. "Be persistent, don't give up. If someone writes to me once, I'll probably ignore it. If they do it twice, I'll still probably ignore it but on the third time there's fair chance I'll reply."

Jamie, who had put together a slide show of some of the events Oliver had covered and who was master of ceremonies for the Q & A session, had the last word, “It is just as I thought, sports journalism seems to be everything I have ever dreamed of and even more, if that is possible." 

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