The Soccerex Global Convention 2014 kicks off this weekend in Manchester – and we’ll be there among football’s administrators and top stars of today and yesteryear.
It’s a dream gig for a footie-mad lad who’s always played the game – though you might think otherwise to learn that the team I support is Aston Villa, who are struggling to return to the dizzy heights of winning the European Cup in 1982, a few years before I was born!
The Soccerex Football Festival takes place this weekend at Barclays Premiership champions Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, with the top clubs worldwide on an international break for Euro2016 qualifiers. England started their campaign with their toughest Group E fixture away to Switzerland.
And on Monday, the Soccerex Global Convention gets underway at Manchester Central for three days of conference content, exhibition stands and networking activities.
The Convention is held in partnership with Marketing Manchester and with the support of international event host partners Asian Football Development Project (Asian Forum), Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (Americas Forum) and The Province of KwaZulu-Natal and the Municipality of eThekwini (African Forum). Other event partners include leading sports broadcasters, Eurosport and talkSPORT.
Zaun is there to continue our dialogue with organisers of the world’s forthcoming major footballing competitions and cities looking to stage wider sporting and cultural mega-events.
England and Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton and Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein open proceedings before an interview with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who will be quizzed by Daily Mail sports writer Jeff Powell on the latest issues affecting the global game while looking back on a fantastic World Cup in Brazil.
I’m also looking forward to a talk on elite-level performance by four-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson on the first afternoon followed by a slot with two World Cup winners from four decades apart – before hopefully settling back with a beer to watch Roy Hodgson’s new-look England put the Swiss to the sword.
Well, I can but dream!