By IAN YEE
IF you’ve been watching Euro 2012 on Astro lately, chances are you’d have noticed a beautiful brunette with a thick Teesside accent hosting some of the shows.
That would be Kay Murray from Middlesbrough, England, and she’s Real Madrid TV’s senior presenter – which means she gets to rub shoulders with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Jose Mourinho, David Beckham, et al.
She was also the co-host – alongside Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit – at last year’s prestigious FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony, where Lionel Messi was crowned the best footballer in the world for the third straight year.
Currently in Kuala Lumpur working with Astro SuperSport until the end of Euro 2012, Murray took some time off her hectic schedule to talk to R.AGE about her journey from Middlesbrough to Madrid.
It started when she joined Boro TV, the official channel for the club she supported as a child, Middlesbrough FC. “It wasn’t easy. I was at Boro TV for a year, and I was presenting, researching and hosting a live show, which was held at a pub for every home game. A lot of people just see us on TV, and they don’t realise we have to do a lot of research as well.
“But there was another girl at Boro TV who was doing pitch-side interviews, and I knew that was what I wanted to do, so I went to a private journalism college,” she said.
To pay her way through college, Murray took up a job as a presenter on British auction channel Bid TV. The chance to join Real Madrid TV came soon after, but her first application didn’t work out.
“I was shortlisted, but not selected. I had never been more disappointed,” she said. “But it turned out to be a good thing, because I went on to work with a newspaper, where I learned things like researching, media law, and problem-solving.”
Then out of nowhere, Real Madrid TV came knocking again, looking for a girl who knew her football. This time, Murray got the job.
Now, she gets exclusive access to speak to all of Madrid’s players, and she also does work outside of Real Madrid, such as her Champions League correspondent role with Fox Soccer in the United States.
“We get to approach and ask the players if they are okay to talk, and sometimes they’ll say no, but they’re never rude. It’s all about knowing when to approach them,” she said.
“I think the nicest player I’ve known is Ruud van Nistelrooy. When we’re travelling, he’s never on his cellphone. He’s always talking to the kit man, the staff, the physios, whoever he’s with.”
She also believes that English players would do well to follow the example of their peers on the continent. “The players are more well-behaved on the continent. The English boys should come out here and experience how different things are.
“Ronaldo is the best example. He’s never out about town, he always gives 110% on the pitch, and he’s always polite. I know a lot of people think he’s arrogant or petulant, but that’s because he’s a winner. He always wants to win. If I were the coach, he’d be the first name on the team sheet every time,” she said.