Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Finding Best Route to Goal in a Man's World

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Finding Best Route to Goal in a Man's World

Article excerpt

Byline: By Hannah Stephenson

Birmingham City FC's md, Karren Brady, is far from being the stereotypical Footballer's Wife, as Hannah Stephenson discovered.

The bitchy clan who have made a hit of TV show Footballers' Wives make you wonder about Karren Brady who is married to Sheffield United forward Paul Peschisolido.

But it quickly becomes apparent the mother-of-two is very different.

At the age of 23, she took over as managing director of Birmingham City FC. In the 12 years since, she has transformed the club into a huge, money-spinning operation.

The first lady of football has made a point of employing women and running family-orientated attractions. She can't remember the last time she bought a designer dress or had her nails done.

"That show is very extreme," she smiles. "All that dressing for dinner! What footballer's wife gets dressed up for dinner? "We hardly ever go out. I get home, cook the dinner and go to bed. If I'm not in bed by nine o'clock, it's a miracle."

Away from the boardroom, the 35-year-old is simply happy to be a caring wife and mother.

She says: "I always refer to myself as Karren Brady simply because the name Peschisolido is a difficult one. Even I can't pronounce it. I'm lucky. I've been married 10 years and have two lovely kids."

Karren and Paul have a comfortable five-bedroom home near Solihull. On her rare days off, she will walk the dog, read newspapers and do other everyday things.

Her career began in radio advertising at 18 before she joined David Sullivan's Sports Newspapers in 1988 where she became a director at the age of 22.

The following year, Sullivan acquired Birmingham City FC from the administrators and put Karren in charge of the business.

A regular motivational speaker and a part-time director for Mothercare, she has now written Playing To Win, a guide to help women fulfil their dreams in the workplace.

Her style of management is no longer as aggressive as it used to be, she says.

"When you are younger you are much more aggressive because you're in a hurry to get things done. I'm definitely calmer and I've mellowed. …

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