It was very much worth the wait.
My week started off by hosting the inaugural Northern Ireland Hotel of the year awards at Titanic Belfast. I really enjoyed it. As with many events that I host you never quite know who will be in room on any one evening. It was great to bump into many familiar faces and to celebrate with the winners. The team from Malmaison, Belfast picked up numerous awards on the night and having been in the hotel on Saturday they certainly enjoyed the celebrations from what I heard.
On Wednesday legendary Liverpool goal scorer John Barnes was in town to attend the McDonalds Grassroots football awards at Belfast City Hall. I had the pleasure of sitting down with him that morning and having a chat over coffee. I recorded it and you can listen below.
I hosted the grassroots football awards once again this year on Wednesday night. The people honoured are those who are the fabric of the game here in Northern Ireland. These people volunteer and give up their time to introduce kids to the beautiful game. I spoke to the winners on stage and they were buzzing; everyone shocked by their success. Michael O’Neill and Pat Jennings were also in attendance. Michael spoke of his excitement for the up coming internationals against Holland and Germany. This was the evening before news broke that he would become the new Stoke City boss with immediate effect. Good news for Northern Ireland fans is that he will still be at the helm for NI over the next few matches including a potential playoff for the European Championships. As a fan I am gutted that he is leaving. Firstly he has done a wonderful job, brought in lots of new faces and given the fans a new brand of football and amazing memories. Secondly he has been extremely welcoming to me around the camp and given me plenty of interviews over the years. On a personal note however I am delighted for him and wish him every success. I reckon it won’t be long before Stoke are challenging at the top of the championship again and going for a place in the premier league. Keep them in the league this season and build next year. The Northern Ireland success under Michael took time but it was very much worth the wait.
On Thursday night Julia and I went to the Ulster Hall for the NI Music Prize announcement, which included Snow Patrol being honoured with the ‘legend’ award. The band played a short set and were on top form. I cannot wait for the ‘Reworked’ show which they’ll perform at the Waterfront at the end of this month. The NI music prize is a superb event celebrating new music created right across Northern Ireland.
#Ad On Friday I hooked up with Smyth and Gibson who have opened a new store for Christmas in Victoria Square. I have worn their shirts over the years and they are superb. They invited me in and I showcased the store and some of their new shirts and offers on my instagram page. The code word by the way was ‘Belfast’. If you are in store be sure to give that and you’ll receive 20% off.
Also on Friday I hosted the Christmas Lights switch on at Victoria Square. It is always a magical evening and this year was no different. Roll on Christmas.
I had a proud Dad moment at the weekend. I watched my daughter Ivana perform at the Grand Opera House on Saturday with ‘Breakdance Ballet’ which she was part of with her dance class ‘Vibe Academy’ and ‘Birmingham Royal Ballet’. I love the fact that she enjoys performing and gets such a buzz out of us coming to watch.
Finally this week. Liverpool 3 – Man City 1
I’ll leave it there.
Thanks for reading,