Our next instalment of Perform People sees Sam Lee, Manchester City correspondent at Goal.com, tell us all about himself!
Give us some background on your role at Perform
I cover Manchester City for Goal, which means I follow the team’s home and away games across England and Europe and, when they’re not playing, working to find stories or writing opinion pieces about one of the most exciting football projects anywhere in the world. When I’m at the matches I do all sorts of different stuff, mixing traditional reporting with a more modern way of doing things, so between filing my copy for publication on the final whistle and interviewing players in the mixed zone, I’ll be recording videos with my immediate reactions to the match, and then later on going live on Facebook to answer questions and show fans around the stadium.
Location of and life in the office
Manchester is my office! I’m lucky to have a lot of freedom in this role so I don’t work from a set place. I usually work from home or meet contacts at cafes, and when there are press conferences at City’s training ground I can set up camp there for around five-six hours and work and chat with colleagues at other media outlets.
What do you like most about your job?
As well as the freedom to work wherever I can, I love the ability to travel in the role. Last season I visited Turin, Paris, Kiev, Munich and Madrid following City, and this summer I went to the United States for a month to cover the Copa America, visiting seven different cities (often more than once), and then China for two weeks for City and United’s pre-season games in Asia. And as well as all that, I really get the feeling we’re helping to lead the way in how football reporting is going. When I first started this particular role at the beginning of last season a lot of people – particularly other journalists – looked at me weirdly when I would go and record myself talking into my phone after matches, but now so many people are doing it too. Then there’s stuff like Snapchat and Instagram stories – I launched Goal’s Snapchat account while I was on the Great Wall of China, so there really are some great opportunities and sometimes they all come together at once!
What do you find most challenging about your job?
I think you need to be very motivated. With working from home there’s a chance that you won’t have much face-to-face contact with other people, and it can be easy to feel isolated or maybe even lost. I’m lucky that there are always Skype chats with editors and colleagues at Goal and also that I’ve got to know other journalists in the area quite well, and given it’s such a footballing hotspot there’s always stuff going on, and always stuff to discuss with my followers on Twitter and Facebook. But yeah, if you ended up feeling disconnected it would be a big challenge to keep producing good content.
What drew you to work for Perform, and how has the company changed since?
I first started at Goal in May 2012 as a sub-editor on the international edition. I was freelancing at the BBC and I’d actually just stopped actively looking for full-time opportunities elsewhere, but the Goal job came up and I knew it would be a great chance to get into football specifically and that it would open up other doors for me. I know Goal has got bigger and bigger and that’s partly because of Perform’s growth as a business, such as the acquisition of Opta, which provides statistical data. I’m also really impressed with the launch of DAZN, which has the potential to be absolutely massive. I think that’s a sign of how the company has changed in the last four years.
Favourite Perform Brand, and why?
Goal, of course, because of pretty much everything I’ve outlined above, but I reckon DAZN could overtake that soon!
What do you get up to out of the office (interests, hobbies etc.)?
I’m lucky in that my job is my hobby. I don’t really have set hours and I’m generally always doing stuff that ties into my job; even having lunch with colleagues usually turfs up new stories, or at least new perspectives on old stories. I enjoy playing football and there are television box sets I’ll watch when I get the chance, but generally I’m just watching football or reading about it. Fortunately my wife is a football fan so that doesn’t create too many problems! When I do get the chance to switch off, it normally revolves around going out for meals, whether with my wife or friends and family.
Now for the fun part…
If you could pick a superpower what would it be and why?
Invisibility. It would make the story gathering process much easier if I could hang around the training ground without being noticed!
If you could interview anyone from any time period, who would it be and why?
Probably David Bowie during the 70s. It’s my one big regret that I never saw him in concert so I suppose if I were to be able to speak to anybody (and maybe get gig tickets!) I’d go for that.
Choose your Mr. Men or Little Miss character to describe your work life and your home life?
I try to be Mr. Perfect at both! But probably Mr Rush at work and Mr Messy at home (or Mr Greedy, or Mr Noisy, or Mr Grumpy – not all my suggestions!)
Would you rather be a tiny elephant or a giant hamster?
Back to reality…
Best advice you would give someone wanting to work for Perform?
Make sure that you keep an eye out for opportunities to move around or enjoy the benefits – there are plenty of both.
Please could you think of a question for the next Perform Colleague? (Make it absolutely anything!)
If you could choose your nickname what would it be?