'My crazy two months with Usain Bolt'


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As a new cohort of 31 students have started studying the world-renowned FIFA Master course at DMU, we speak to some of the people who plan to make an impact in the world of sport.

Today it is Tyson Scott, a former digital media and communications manager for Australian A-league team Central Coast Mariners, who experienced a Bolt out of the blue that changed his career.

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Australian A-league football team Central Coast Mariners were Tyson Scott’s hometown club and he grew up a dyed-in-the-wool supporter.

So it was a bit of a dream come true to be awarded the job of Digital Media and Communications Manager for the Mariners.

He wanted to promote his team – and Australian ‘soccer’ – around the world to show it deserved to be a lot higher up the pecking order of spectator sports in his country, where it had always languished behind Aussie Rules, rugby league, rugby union and cricket.

It was looking like a mid-to-long-term plan. But then there was – literally - a Bolt out of the blue!

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The fastest man on the planet, Usain Bolt, was joining the Mariners for a two-month pre-season trial to see if he could make it as a professional footballer, at the relatively late age of 32.

The world’s most famous athlete would turn the Mariners’ training complex into a hub for global sports journalists and give the Central Coast team the platform Tyson always felt they deserved.

Tyson says it was an incredible two months as he became the main conduit between TV, print, radio journalists and Usain Bolt. Needless to say, Mariners social media audiences for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram went through the roof!

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Tyson now hopes his experiences will serve him well as he starts the FIFA Master course in management, law and the humanities at De Montfort University (DMU).

He wants to use the opportunities given to him in Leicester, Milan and Neuchatel to broaden his horizons, experience different sporting cultures with his peers on the course and return to Australia with the ambitious goal of making football the number one sport in the country.

He said: “It was a crazy two months when Usain Bolt was here. There was everyone from ESPN to the BBC watching and commenting on Bolt and the Mariners and whether he would get a professional contract.

“For those eight weeks I was the main contact for media and drove everything on social media. It was insane. If someone had told me 10 years ago I would be working with Usain Bolt I would have laughed at them. I had a pretty sleepless two months but it was an experience I will never, ever take for granted.

“He was very hard working and very humble.”

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Usain Bolt scored two goals in 90 minutes of first team action and he was offered a contract, but it was never signed. There were media mumblings about the football and the commercial side of the Mariners not seeing eye-to-eye on the deal as well as issues over pay.

Tyson said: “People can talk about the positives and the negatives but it put Australian football on the world stage which can only be a good thing. And it showed our club had what it takes to work with a world-class athlete and the attention that comes with it.”

He believes his ambitions for football in Australia are achievable as a new generation of football fans come through.

He explained: “I am probably part of the first group of people where football is part of the culture. It is only now that people are starting to come through, as the decision makers or players, who have grown up with the game throughout their life.

“You can access every game of football in the world now. People get up at 2am to watch the Premier League and they can watch La Liga and the Bundesliga too. Given how everyone is in touch with each other around the globe day and night it is inevitable football will have a following.

“And, let’s face it, you put a ball at someone’s feet, they know what to do with it. It is the same language everywhere.”

 

Posted on Thursday 3rd October 2019

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