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Max Rushden, Soccer Am presenter
Max Rushden, Soccer Am presenter
Opinion » Celebrity Interviews

Celebrity Interview with Max Rushden, Soccer Am presenter

Max Rushden tells us about living with his parents, drinking tea out of gravy boats and the importance of working hard to make it big…

When in your life have you been most broke? How bad did it get exactly?
I've been pretty lucky - there's only been once when I literally couldn't get a tenner out of the bank. It was a pretty low moment. It was around Christmas after I'd finished uni. I was still living with my parents and didn't have a job.  They told me to go and get one.  It was a good idea.

What were the worst jobs you ever did and what made them so bad? Were there any benefits?
I was a data entry clerk for a railway maintenance company for around 9 months (just after I couldn't get the tenner out of the bank!).  It was in a portakabin in Ely.  Sounds worse than it was to be honest.  I just made tea for lots of railway workers.  My first job was as a cleaner. I was rubbish. It was from five thirty to seven thirty in the evening - I'd spend the first hour and a half doing the living room so I could watch Neighbours, Home & Away and the Cambridge goals on Anglia News. I didn't last in that for long.  

What were your digs like back then? Any interesting flatmates we should know about?
I lived with my folks until I was around 24, then moved to London. My first flat was in Finsbury Park with some school mates.  We drew rooms out of a hat and I got the box room. My bed was slightly bigger than the room. The bathroom tap dripped. The next flat in Finsbury Park also had a dripping tap (in the kitchen).  We drew rooms out of a hat, I got the built in office. So I had many shelves, but no stuff to put in them. I slept on a futon. It's one of the (many) reasons my then girlfriend left me.  It wasn't comfortable. 

What was your favourite budget meal? Do you still enjoy it?
You can't beat beans on toast, probably with cheese and Worcester sauce.  Or a bowl of cereal.  I had that for dinner last night in fact (I've just bought my first place and there's currently no kitchen).

Any interesting money saving/making tips you picked up back then?
I just didn't really buy anything.  I wore the same blue jumper from 1996-2006.  I just spent money on food, alcohol and the occasional holiday.  I've realised the problem with this now.  I've got a new flat, and I've had to buy everything from scratch.  I am haemorrhaging money.  Who would have thought shelves would cost so much?  And you have to buy a tap and a sink separately! Ridiculous.

What was the worst thing about being skint? Were there any upsides?
On the one occasion I couldn't get cash out of the bank it was rubbish.  The only upside I guess is that I know what it's like and now I can get cash out of the bank maybe I still understand the value of it.  But to be honest, your parents teach you that.

Did you ever do something that you regret like borrow money without intending to pay it back or drink lighter fluid Withnail style just to keep warm?
At uni once, the house was so dirty and manky and there was nothing clean left so I had to have a salad bowl of coco pops and a gravy boat of tea.  But I guess the fact we had a gravy boat meant we were probably better off than some students.  As far as I know I've always paid back my debts.

What was your lowest point?
Just after uni, in 2001/02, I was living with my parents in Cambridge.  All my friends were in London. Even though they were all broke, I just presumed they were living it up, while I was getting paid nothing to do local radio (literally nothing to start with, then maybe £50 a shift).  I'd be reporting from a village near Peterborough at 6am in the dark when it was freezing cold just thinking what am I doing with my life?

But listen, although it might be better to say I was born in a cardboard box and my parent's had nothing etc, I've been really lucky.  My Dad didn't have a lot when he grew up.  He was the first of his family to get to University.  He somehow managed to become a doctor - which means I've never wanted for anything, and I could afford to take the risk in terms of my career.  I knew if it all went wrong, there'd be a bed and a roof to go back to.  He was unimpressed when I said I wanted to be a radio presenter.  If there's a problem with broadcasting, it's that to get in you have to be able to work for nothing.  That really discriminates against people from really poor backgrounds.  I don't know what the solution to that is.

How did you manage to keep your dreams alive?
It all sounds a bit cliché, but i genuinely live my life by the fact that you only get one go and you might as well aim high.  And although it took me eight years to get a big break, year on year I was always progressing and getting interest from big radio stations, even if they didn't want to employ me.  And as soon as I got into the BBC I earned enough to rent a room, and be able to go out and get drunk - which, in my early 20s was all I needed.  So it wasn't like being an actor and having to wait tables until the phone rang.

What was the defining moment that turned your fortunes around?
Well there wasn't really a defining moment. I was always fine.  But the day I got Soccer AM was, so far, the defining moment in my career.  I was in the right place at the right time - literally everything just fell into place.

What one piece of advice can you give young people with ambitions of being successful?
Clichés again: Work hard - I spent hours at BBC London after work making demos and show reels almost every day.  Don't give up; someone has to do that job, whatever it is.  And enjoy it while it lasts, which could be forever, or it could be for five minutes...

Max Rushden presents Soccer AM on Saturday mornings on Sky Sports and Sky One 10-12.

Interview conducted by Sabotage Times

Thursday, 13th January 2011

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