Top broadcaster returns to The Perse to give inspiring 42 lecture

Renowned sports presenter and Old Persean Mark Saggers gave an enlightening 42 lecture on his career in broadcasting.

Currently hosting The Sunday Night Club on Talk TV, he has spent around four decades on television and radio working with the BBC, Sky and TalkSport.      

Mr Saggers has also recently turned his hand to writing, co-authoring the book A Plague on All Our Sports with Dr Bill Ribbans, Professor of Sports Medicine at Northampton University, in which they explored the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on professional sport and athletes.   

Reflecting on his journey into broadcasting, Mr Saggers outlined that he had failed his A levels and after being unable to make it as a professional cricketer, he worked in several roles ranging from insurance to being a waiter.

Mr Saggers said his grandfather was his “support and mentor and he gave me the ability to have another go” as he considered his future.        

As a keen sportsman, playing cricket and hockey for Cambridgeshire, he took his passion to the airwaves after being invited to help with Saturday afternoon local sports coverage at the fledgling BBC Radio Cambridgeshire in the early 1980s by the station’s then sports editor Julian Dunne.   

“I did it for two years and it was just for the experience,” said Mr Saggers. “I learned how to use the equipment for free, so I was learning on the job, and eventually I got the opportunity to go on a trainee course in London with BBC Sport which changed my life.”

During those early days learning his craft, Mr Saggers recounted how he also trained with Cambridge United every day for three years to get an understanding of what it was like to be a professional sportsperson.

He added that building strong relationships with sport stars had been a crucial part of his job over the years, allowing him to secure scoops, such as an exclusive interview with Terry Venables on the day he quit as manager of the England football team in 1996. 

Looking back at how he started out, Mr Saggers told students it does not matter if they are unsure about their future career and that even if they do start on one path, there is nothing to stop them switching to another.

He said: “The decisions you make don’t have to be your final decisions. You all have freedom and all have choice.”

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