Up close and personal with TV sports legend Gary Newbon
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I’m Gary Newbon, a TV presenter – predominantly sports – and I’ve worked for ATV (now Central) and ITV Sport covering numerous World Cups and Olympic Games. I joined Sky Sports in 2004 and have been involved ever since. I also run my own production company, Prime Ticket Productions, focusing mostly on sport. I moved to Birmingham in 1971, so I’ve come to know the city pretty well.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
I occasionally drive, but mainly use the train.
HOW’S THE COMMUTE?
I live in Solihull, so the commute into town is very easy.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
Although driving’s a nightmare, Birmingham is brilliantly connected from both rail and air. And of course, Brummies are just lovely people which is one of the city’s great attributes. It’s improved beyond recognition since I moved here and represents fantastic value. There’s much to be proud of, not least its world class facilities. The theatre scene is thriving, Birmingham Royal Ballet is world class, Symphony Hall is a fantastic facility and the restaurant scene has exploded exponentially. It’s like having a playground on your doorstep. I wish it had been like this when I moved here! Having said that, it is a shame to see restaurants closing. We seem a bit fickle on that front.
I love coffee. I buy it from an Algerian coffee shop in Old Compton Street, London, so when I’m at home that’s what I drink. If I’m in town I’ll head to Hotel du Vin.
A half-hour lunch break at my desk ain’t for me. Lunch is more important than dinner. Champion jockey Tony McCoy once told me never to eat after 7pm and I stick to that. I’ve done business all my life over lunch. I’m a bit old -fashioned and like to look people in the eye rather than e-mail. I tend to go to Hotel du Vin where I’m an ambassador or Opus and Fumo which are particular favourites. I was very impressed with the new Sabai Sabai on Waterloo Street, too.
Last year I could hardly walk thanks to an old injury, but I’ve taken up pilates which has changed my life. Now I make sure I walk every day and stand upright. Birmingham’s easy to walk around which is one of its strengths. I particularly like to stroll around the area down by the Mailbox.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
I’m taken with Brindleyplace and the area round the Mailbox, but there are so many great places.
I’m not a great beer drinker. I’m more a wine man. I go to the Bubble Bar at Hotel du Vin and occasionally Loki Wine.
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
What drives me absolutely potty, and I’d change it in a heartbeat, is taxi drivers sitting around with their engines running and pumping out toxic fumes. I’d make that an offence. Also, there are too many people on the streets begging. I don’t understand it. We have a good benefits system. The situation needs to change.