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SPORTS

Meet the ex-Premier League striker who makes more money as a guest speaker than he did per week

PREMIER LEAGUE By Mirror | June 14th 2020
McVeigh celebrates a goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2004 (Image: Action Images)

Ex-Northern Ireland international Paul McVeigh made 20 top-flight appearances for Norwich and Spurs before retiring injury-free aged 32 in 2010.

He has since focused on becoming a respected global figure on the lecture circuit to big business.

His hard work and masters in sports psychology paid off last month when he delivered his biggest address yet to 170 of computer giant Microsoft's Australasian employees online.

Other clients include the likes of Barclays, NatWest, Grant Thornton, PWC and Cisco as McVeigh undertook five tours of USA before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

McVeigh's plans are currently on hold due to the coronavirus crisis [COURTESY]

His latest travel plans to speak this year in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and South Africa are now on hold.

But the former striker, who scored for Norwich at Old Trafford in 2004, is still upbeat about his future.

McVeigh, 42, who now lives in Belfast, explained: “Speaking to Microsoft recently felt like 10 years of blood, sweat and tears to get to that point.

“It is not down to my footballing profile because most of the time if I walk on stage people are like, who is the 14-year-old?

“But Premier League football is a worldwide brand and if you put up a photograph of playing against Cristiano Ronaldo or Thierry Henry they think: 'OK maybe this guy does have a bit of a background'.

“Professional football is probably the most competitive and ruthless industry on the planet.

“To do it puts you into a tiny miniscule percentage who make it.

“You then take the lessons from that and apply it to how it can help people's businesses.

“It helps being a ex-footballer who can stand up and speak without dribbling.

“What I focus on is psychology and mental performance and it is the one area that most companies don't do anything about.

“Most people know how to technically do a job but there is the physical, social and psychological side as well.”

McVeigh, who started as a 16-year-old at Spurs, also offers follow-up training and lectures to give staff the techniques to improve.

His portfolio of clients has grown steadily since he first spoke to AVIVA staff at their HQ in Norwich after quitting the Canaries in 2010.

He also did media work after retiring to enhance his broadcasting skills before completing his masters in 2015.

It has given him a unique selling point of being the only Premier League player to have a masters in sports psychology.

McVeigh added: “I was OK as a footballer but I was never the best player.

“I believe it was because of my mental approach it gave me a long term career for nearly 20 years.

“I am applying those same principles so I can go into business and share those.

“I often use getting and playing in the 2002 Championship Play-off final for Norwich against Birmingham as an example.

“At the start of that season I was a sub and on the fringes.

“In the first home game of the season we beat Manchester City 2-0 and I came on after 10 minutes for Chris Llewellyn who got badly injury.

“I scored and went on that season to play over 40 games and be an integral part of the team to get the Millennium Stadium in the play-off final infront of 70,000 people in one of the sport's biggest games.

“I had never experienced an atmosphere like that but had one of my best games and we were a penalty kick away from getting into the Premier League after a 1-1 draw went to spot kicks.”

 

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