MOTHERWELL soprano Monica McGhee will enjoy a dream afternoon on Saturday taking to the pitch at the FA Cup Final.
As a member classical quartet, Amore, Monica will help lead 90,000 Manchester City and Wigan Athletic fans through ‘Abide with Me’ in the build up to kick-off.
Monica will be especially comfortable with her football environment having been a keen supporter of her home town team since she was a young girl.
Her involvement in football, though, extended beyond attending Motherwell games on a regular basis.
In the company of her dad, Philip, a freelance football reporter, Monica spent a few seasons in the press box at Fir Park where her interest and knowledge of the game developed into an active role – providing the match statistics for a number of media outlets.
By coincidence this period also coincided with Wigan manager Roberto Martinez’s brief spell at Motherwell, although Monica can’t recall too much about his time at Fir Park.
She said: “I was only 13 year old at the time and despite providing the players’ ratings at the end of every game Roberto Martinez didn’t feature regularly.
“The players I do recall are Stevie Hammell, Keith Lasley and James McFadden, who strangely enough are all back at Motherwell.
“My favourite player at that time was John Spencer who was lovely. I plucked up the courage to ask him to sign my top which I wore under my jersey and coat in the press box and even on holiday!
“The first manager I remember was Alex McLeish, who stopped to speak to me in the corridor when I was too young to go into the press room. I really liked Terry Butcher who always made a point of saying good afternoon gentleman and little lady when he spotted me at the post match press conference.”
A place at the Junior Royal Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow curtailed her football on a Saturday.
However, before her 10-year commitment to music, Monica considered a career in sports journalism and made it to the final of a BBC/Daily Record ‘Young Commentator’ competition in 2003.
She said: “I had to do a 5 minute commentary at the BBC studios on a ‘live’ match and thoroughly enjoyed it.
“The prize was to do a half time commentary at that season’s Scottish Cup final between Dunfermline and Celtic.
“Although I didn’t make it then it is incredible to think that exactly 10 years later I will have a major role to play in a cup final.
“I know it will be particularly special for my dad, who despite his long involvement in football, is making his first trip to Wembley to watch one of his daughters perform at one of the biggest football occasions in the world.”