‘I swapped FHM for my dream job – now I see what Haaland & Pep are really like’

Natalie Pike traded in the world of modelling to become an accomplished sports broadcaster – and now brushes shoulders with some of the biggest stars on the planet.

Natalie was one of the UK's top models before moving into sports broadcasting, landing her dream role three years after handpicked to showcase Manchester City's new kit in 2008.

Now widely known as the face and voice of City's Match Day Live and City Square Live broadcasts, Natalie has interviewed famous fans including Liam and Noel Gallagher and footballing heroes from Pep Guardiola to Erling Haaland.

READ MORE: Two Man City FA Cup final stars didn't get winners' medals

A fan since her youth, Natalie got her first season ticket at the age of 15 when City were still playing their football in the third tier after two relegations from three seasons.

Speaking to Daily Star Sport as City go in search of their own historic Treble, Natalie said: "I modelled full time for eight or nine years after I and won the FHM High Street Honeys competition which was huge for me.

"I got a bit tired of the modelling world and gave it up for a normal job, shortly after that City got in contact and it just started as a hobby for home games.

"I was still working my normal job and doing charity fund-raising so it started of as a nice distraction.

Who is Manchester City's most important player? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below

"The club had known me after asking me to model the new kit which must've been in about 2008, I was on the cover of the magazine and that was the greatest thing that had ever happened to me at that point!

"I always felt more of a natural presenter than a natural model but I had been just rolling with opportunities. I used to go on red carpets and things for FHM but nothing in sport.

"City asked if I wanted to join the team and we work on a big stage outside the stadium with guests and music with giveaways.

"It started just on home games alongside by full-time job until COVID hit the world, which is when I started doing the Match Day Live show and the numbers on that are ridiculous, into the millions around the world.

"Now I do home games in the stadium and away games I do the Match Day Live show in a purpose built studio in the Etihad because City always do things to the next level."

Putting her extended knowledge as well as her degree in film and media studies to good use, Natalie juggles her City role with BBC Radio Manchester weekday show, Talking Balls as well as BBC Radio show, Squad Goals.

Despite being in her current role for more than a decade, Natalie still gets a buzz from interviewing giants of football including the manager and new star striker.

Natalie added: "With the players you just get the sense of how intelligent they all are and how strong the bond is that they have between them.

"With Erling Haaland from his very first interview you had a sense of what he was about and had a feeling about how good he was going to be.

"He has the connection with the club through his dad Alfie and he knew exactly what to say to get the fans roaring. Whenever I've seen him since you feel this presence around him which might be because he's so tall!

"With Pep, he's so humble and kind. He remembers your name and your situation. I bumped into him in the city centre before and he stopped and had time to talk to me.

"I was heading down to the pitch last year when Ilkay Gundogan won us the title and I missed the goal. Pep had seen my tweet and mentioned it during the parade!"

This time out, FA Cup glory over Manchester United followed victory over Arsenal in the Premier League title race, leaving Inter Milan in the Champions League final on Saturday (June 10) as the final hurdle.

Trying not to jinx the Treble, Natalie concluded: "Even hearing the word by stomach jumps and I get so nervous. Even though the team are utterly phenomenal and have a real belief, there is a part of the brain that remembers the Wigan FA Cup final and Chelsea Champions League final.

"That's all football fans though isn't it, but you have to remember that we have the greatest manager in the world and we go into these games as the favourites for a reason."

Source: Read Full Article