Insider Sport’s Matchday Programme offers a personal look at what sporting moments and figures have inspired industry stakeholders. Through candid reflections, the programme delves into the stories behind the inspirations that have shaped their perspectives and fuelled their passion for sports.

In this edition, Chad Yeomans, Global Head of Communications and PR at Betway Group, draws from his experiences as a Manchester United fan, highlighting Sir Alex Ferguson’s remarkable ability to take accountability and shield individuals from harsh criticism, offering valuable lessons for leadership in sports and beyond. 

Chad Yeomans, Global Head of Communications and PR at Betway Group

Which athlete do you think demonstrated the best winning mentality throughout their career?

It’s very hard to choose one; but when you look at those who achieved “GOAT” status; it’s those with an elite mentality, with a desire to not only be the best, but to never let the best be enough. In that bracket you’d have to put in Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady and jockey AP McCoy.

Who was your childhood sports hero and why? Which of their sporting achievements had the biggest impact on you?

I had a few growing up; first of all, for me David Beckham was the first “hero”, before the rest of the Class of ’92 made an impact on me. As a young football fan – and Manchester United fan – they were my idols. When I was a kid, I wanted to be Ruud Van Nistelrooy, but sadly lacked the talent! 

However, in terms of impact, I will never forget the feeling Wayne Rooney gave me when he scored a hat-trick on his debut; it was magical, and I loved the fact that he clearly believed what was thought he would achieve in his career. He was just a normal lad from a very working-class background who had a supreme talent, and he reached the top. 

What sports team do you follow the closest? Is this a family team or local side etc, and what has been the biggest moment in your history of supporting this club?

I’m a Man Utd fan by heart; I have been for nearly all of my life… or certainly since I was about four. 

Ryan Giggs’ goal against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final in the treble winning year, sticks out more in my mind than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s winner in the Champions League final, which I guess doesn’t make sense in terms of importance.

However, for a seven year-old me, that Ryan Giggs goal was one that I’d not seen happen before, where, in such dramatic circumstances, a player ran from the half-way line and took on every player that came in his way before scoring past David Seamen – one of the greatest goalkeepers to ever play the game. 

Other strong memories include United beating Chelsea in the Champions League final on penalties, and West Ham – who Betway are the principal partner of – winning against Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-final at home, after losing one nil away in the first leg in 2022.  Then being in Prague for them winning the Europa Conference League last year, will never leave me. Such special moments. 

Is there a team manager from any sport, whether that be football, rugby, NFL, NBA etc, who you think demonstrated the best leadership qualities?

I know this is going to sound very Man Utd heavy; but not many people would disagree that Sir Alex Ferguson’s level of leadership was outstanding whilst in his tenure at the club; and the work he has done since to educate other leaders in sport, business and life in general showcases that he is a very special man. 

When I was younger, someone explained how they liked the way he defended his team in public, but clearly showed his disdain to them behind closed doors, and I think that is a really good human trait as a leader if you take accountability to defend individuals from getting mass onslaught. 

What sports tournament do you think consistently provides the biggest thrills? Which moment from this league stood out to you the most in recent memory?

It’s very football heavy, but the Premier League has been the biggest league for a long time, and I can’t see that changing in the future. The biggest and best talents want to play in the league, even if it’s not for a supposed top four club; like it largely used to be. 

When you have the best talent, you’ll no doubt have the best entertainment and the Premier League will keep offering that. While I have no enjoyable recent memories of Man Utd, Leicester City winning the league was something that no-one expected, and it was the stuff of fairytales.

If you could travel back in time to any historic sporting moment to watch it then and now, which would it be and why?

I mean, watching England in the World Cup in ’66 must have been some thrill; although, I’m sure with the talent we have now, it won’t be long until we see it happen. 

While not too far back in history, we’ve had some amazing storylines such as Tiger Woods coming back to win a Masters in 2019, but I think I’d like to go back to that night in Barcelona in ’99 to watch it all happen in front of my eyes. 

My friend’s dad has the most amazing footage from that night that he captured on a very old camcorder – that I think he held on his shoulder (!) – and might be making a very big appearance on the big screen soon! It’s fantastic! 

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