Richard Fidler talks sport with Pat Smith

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Pat Smith is general manager of Don Valley Stadium, which is operated by Sheffield International Venues (SIV). This weekend, Don Valley will play host to Sheftival - the city’s biggest ever festival of sport and culture, which is set to introduce new sports to thousands of visitors.

What have you been doing today?

I’ve just been in a Sheftival steering group meeting where we discussed final plans. I can’t wait. It is set to be one of the city’s most exciting festivals for 2012. Sports fans will be able to watch the Olympics on a big screen for free and we want as many people as possible to cheer Jess Ennis on in the very stadium where she started athletics. We’re also opening the Don Valley Bowl for a huge festival of music, sport and entertainment. We don’t want people just to watch the Games at home, we want them to try sports, take part in carnival activities, listen to good music and most of all just enjoy themselves!

Who is your inspiration and why?

There’s no specific person. I’m just impressed by people who get on with their job and those that deal with situations effectively.

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

Alan Woodward, Sheffield United’s winger in the 60s and 70s. I thought he was the best footballer in the world when I was a kid.

What’s your favourite (other) sport?

When it’s not football, rugby or athletics, I enjoy Taekwondo. It teaches control and understanding.

Who is your most famous person in your phone?

I manage the ‘behind-the-scenes’ elements of high-profile events. The names in my phone deliver events for famous people, They’re not celebrities themselves, but they’re arguably more important.

When was the last time you cried?

Can’t remember.

Who or what are you most proud of?

My children. They’ve got on and done what they want in their own way.

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

If you’re trying to do something and you feel you’re continually banging your head against a brick wall, stand back and work out another way of achieving it.

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

I’d only dare say that I think I’m good enough. But that will only continue if I keep trying to get better.

What items do you take with you wherever you go?

My keys and my phone.

What is the most nervous you’ve ever been?

The first time I did a parachute jump. I just sat on the edge of the plane and as it hit a bit of turbulence I nearly passed out.

Do you ever doubt yourself?

No, when I make a decision, I’m comfortable with it.

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

I’ll be honest; I haven’t managed to grasp them yet! But I’ll look at them soon.

How do you relax away from sport?

I mow the lawn and I walk the dog.

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

Devon. I prefer trips to France where I can enjoy the best steak and red wine.

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

Yes, I do a mean steak and chips or chilli.

The last book you read?

From Ancient Rome to Rock ‘n’ Roll - a review of the UK leisure security industry” - just a bit of light reading!

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

I haven’t a clue. I’ve been doing what I do for 35 years!

Tell our readers why you think we’re interested enough to interview you?

I’m fortunate enough to manage an iconic venue that has been the centre of so many fantastic events over the last 20 years.

Favourite TV programme?

Any sporting programme, you can’t beat it. The action is real!