Richard Fidler talks sport with James Hope-Gill

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James Hope-Gill is chief executive of Sheffield and Hallamshire County Football Association.

What have you been doing today?

I walked the dog at about 5.45am this morning. Since then I’ve had several meeting with the staff, a meeting regarding our involvement with the Olympics, a meeting about our relocation to Westfield, dealt with e-mails and prepared some reports for the board meeting later this week. I’m planning on going for a run later after I’ve dropped my son off at our church kids club.

Who is your inspiration and why?

My dad is an amazing bloke. A hard-working perfectionist who is very gentle and kind. A lovely man who puts others before himself.

Which sports star did you admire when you were growing up?

Sean Kerly, the GB Olympic hockey player.

What’s your favourite other sport?

I used to play hockey and love watching rugby union. I now run, occasionally play golf and go training regularly at Sheffield Boxing Centre. My latest craze is obstacle racing. There is a team of us entering the Spartan Race in July to raise money for the Children’s Hospital.

Who is the most famous person in your phone?

Depends what you mean by famous! My mum’s fish pie is pretty famous but hasn’t got a phone number.

When was the last time you cried?

About a month ago. I was on a long run listening to the U2 song “Walk On” and thinking about my dad who has got cancer.

Who or what are you most proud of?

We’ve done a huge amount of work over the past three years as we look to relocate to Westfield and turn the site into a fantastic sports facility for the community. We’re very nearly there and I’m very proud of the position we are now in.

What’s the best piece of advice you have received?

If you want to do something you will; if you don’t you’ll find an excuse.

When did you know you were good at what you do?

When people kept asking me to do extra jobs and become involved with national FA projects.

What one item do you take with you wherever you go?

Sadly, my iPhone! With its Pete McKee “greasy chip butty” cover.

What is the most nervous you’ve ever been?

When I proposed to Jules I was shaking like a jelly.....she said Yes.

Do you ever doubt yourself?


What is your view on social networks like Twitter and Facebook?

They are a fantastic way of communicating, if used properly. I’m on both.

How do you relax away from sport?

I love cooking for friends and drinking the odd glass of wine.

Where was your last holiday - and would you go again?

We go to a lovely place called Alvor in Portugal each year in the summer.

Do you cook? If so, what’s your favourite - if not who provides that favourite meal?

I love cooking. I’ve got a great black-pudding starter and order in the black puddings from a friend who works in a deli in Pitlochry, Scotland.

What was the last book you read?

I read a lot of historical fiction. Conn Iggulden’s Conquerer, a novel about Ghengis Khan is the book I’ve just finished.

If you weren’t doing what you do, what would you do?

Law fascinates me, so I would probably be a lawyer. I very nearly did medicine, so I might even have been a doctor.

Tell our readers in your own words why you think we’re interested enough to interview you?

I am really privileged to work in football for the County FA and help lead the staff as we support the 120,000 people in the area involved in grassroots football each week.

And your favourite television programme?

It’s a tough one to choose between Spooks and Come Dine with Me. That said, I’m really enjoying Homeland on Channel 4.