Freelance Football Host and Presenter | Alison Bender

Our next guest is Freelance Football Host and Presenter, Alison Bender.

Hi Alison, thank you for taking the time to speak to us today. Can you tell our readers about yourself, what you currently do and how did you end up where you are right now?

I always knew I wanted to work in TV and straight after University I got a job as a Broadcast Assistant at a News Channel, CNBC. I worked there for six years, editing, producing, script writing, rolling autocue, doing everything really and I learned some valuable skills that are needed to be in TV. I ran the news desk and booked guests and worked on forward planning before eventually deciding to ‘take the plunge’ and try my hand at presenting. I gave myself a one-year deadline and tried all sorts of presenting to gain experience - quiz channels, shopping TV, fashion, music, the lot!

I then landed a role to launch Real Madrid TV in Spain in 2005. They wanted a producer and a presenter and I ticked both boxes, I’d never have got that job if I hadn’t spent all that time behind the camera, so I always tell people this experience is invaluable.

After two years in Spain I returned to England and got a job presenting Sky Sports News and then worked in-house for another club channel - Chelsea TV for 6 years.

After that I had more roles at ITV sport, Al Jazeera and a long stint with the Premier League where I was part of the launch team for their brand new channel. I was a pitch side reporter and also hosted the news show, a fan phone in show and several other shows.

Freelance life is full and varied and I’ve been lucky to have some great roles, some abroad including ESPN in America, and Astro Malaysia.

When did you know you wanted to work in the football media world? In particularly presenting and reporting?

Each year it becomes harder with new faces, new bosses and new styles of presenting, so I’m constantly trying to adapt and reinvent myself, but that is so important in this industry, it moves on, and so you have to as well. For example this year, I started a TikTok account, to try and engage with a younger audience, it is honestly one of he best things I ever did, I love the platform so much.

A reporter for BBC, contributor for talkSPORT and a presenter for Chelsea amongst other projects, what does a ‘normal’ week look like for you?!

You have covered some of the biggest events in the world. European Championships, World Cups and Champions League games. What’s been your standout moments/highlights so far?

You’ve also interviewed many players and managers at the top of the game, any interviews that standout?

I spent the day with Steven Gerrard at Ibrox, he showed me round, we went into his office, he showed me the trophy room and we even went on a car journey just the two of us through the Scottish Highlands. It’s rare you get a chance to interview a player or manager without press officers so that was special.

Then there are the firsts, interviewing Frank Lampard when he became Chelsea’s top all time scorer, or Leicester players when they won the FA Cup and the league. I love being at manager’s unveilings, I’ve been to so many, but Jurgen Klopp’s and Frank Lampard’s stand out. 19–20 and 20–21 were weird seasons because of Covid, but for that reason it felt extra special to be allowed in Stadia. I was at Liverpool’s long awaited trophy lift. That felt surreal and wonderful.

Who are your favourite TV presenters and reporters at the moment and what do you think it is that makes them so brilliant?

Earlier this year you started a podcast called ‘Talent Takes Time’ can you tell our readers a little bit more about that and how it began?

What general advice would you give to those individuals looking to pursue a career in football presenting and reporting — what are the key skills needed?

Where do you see your career in the future? Are there any specific objectives you hope to achieve?

And finally Alison, where can people find you on social media?

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Connecting freelancers in football (soccer) to paid work.