My week: Chris O'Connor of Chris O'Connor Promotions

The events entrepreneur on dealing with footballers, Owen Hargreaves' knee and teaching his offspring the value of money.

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
I got a phone call out of the blue on Monday from a new client based in Ireland who organises trips for boarding schools in Ireland. We met up and it turns out he wants to bring over 100 kids and 10 adults on the weekend of 26th November. Aside from all of the general corporate hospitality and event bookings that I do, I am one of the biggest independent football agents in Manchester United football club and also at the MEN arena. So what we’ve organised is for the group to go to the MEN to see Andrea Bocelli on the Friday night and then to see Manchester United play Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford on the Saturday.

So that was quite a nice little phone call out of the blue. I think in this job it’s all about word of mouth - if you look after people then they recommend you to others. We have had some bizarre requests because people know that we deal quite closely with the Man U players. We once got a phone call to the office asking us if we could put the guy through to the training ground, and specifically to Owen Hargreaves. He told me some tablets he’d been given during WWII for his heart had also sorted out the tendonitis in his knee – a condition Hargreaves was suffering from at the time. He said he still had some of these pills and offered to send them on to Owen. But I’m not sure taking 65-year old tablets would be a good idea…

On Tuesday I went to meet a couple of colleagues down in London. One of them is a producer for Granada, and the other owns a large concierge service in London. So we’re getting together the three companies and setting up another company that’s going to be a very exclusive celebrity and VIP lifestyle service. We already deal with a lot of the celebs in Manchester: so if any of the Man U squad want to go to gigs at the MEN we sort it out for them. But the business is still in the early stages, so probably won’t go live until January at the earliest.

Then on Wednesday we met with our PR team and three footballers whose charity events we are looking after. At the moment footballers are all into having a charity gala events – we could be doing up to 10 in the next year. And they’re for really good causes – from hospitals for kids on the Ivory Coast to schools in Nigeria. Most people think footballers are very arrogant, but I can honestly say that every one I’ve ever met, from Rio Ferdinand to the guys we met yesterday,  has been very down to earth and easy to get on with.

My 18-year old son has also started working with us this week. He’s actually an Irish dancer, but he also wants to be a pilot. For his 18th birthday I sent him to an aerodrome for flying lessons. It’s not cheap though, so I’ve told him if he works for me two or three days a week then I’ll pay for him to learn to fly. I think nowadays kids get everything given to them too easily. But I’m from an era where I had to graft for everything. My first job was when I was 14, collecting glasses at the Hacienda. I would get home at 4 o’clock in the morning and then have a couple of hours sleep before I got up for school. I want to teach my son that you can’t go to the bottom of the garden and pick £50 notes off the tree.

Chris O’Connor is the founder of O’Connor Promotions, an events and concierge company.

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