It's not been too bad a quarter of a century for me in event management, but it's hard to think that it's actually been that long since I started doing all of this as well!
I mean, who’d have thought that, back in July ’92, when at The Portland Arms in Felling after I’d spoken to Gibbo and Supermac regarding an end-of-season season fundraiser for my Sunday League side, Felling FC. that things would transpire so funds would be raised for both new kits, and to pay fees for the league as well!
For me, it was the start of something new, the dawning of a new era so to speak.
Three years would pass before my first official event when, in ’95, we raised over £2,000 for the family of Terry Moran who’d suffered severe burns in a bonfire night accident. I managed to get, amongst other national celebrities, Charlie Kray, to come north for the event and for me, that’s when it all took off.
I felt that, not only could I bring my heroes to the north-east, I could help bring others as well. That's what it is all about for me, the joy in which these events bring people across the region.Steve Wraith Wraith Promotions
I’d dabbled in bits-and-bobs since leaving school having been sub-postmaster of the family, village postmaster in my late teens, and then a doorman at most of the city centre hotspots, but this was something new, different and unique. This was me, and I felt that, not only could I bring my heroes to the north-east, I could help bring others as well. That’s what it is all about for me, the joy in which these events bring people across the region.
With so many events – be they sporting, musical or literary – I’ve brought and promoted some stellar names in the region.
Stars such as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones Jnr, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard and, more recently, world champions of the modern era in Floyd Mayweather and Anthony Joshua, whilst from the world of football we’ve worked with Alan Shearer, Paul Gascoigne, Peter Beardsley, Les Ferdinand and David Ginola; an endless list of super-stardom. Personally though I’d say that the two events with Mike Tyson are my own favourites out of all the great nights we’ve had, and there’s been a few. But I mean, who can forget seeing Trevor Cox, from my band The Longsands, playing conkers of all things, with someone like Tyson, it was a surreal moment none of us would ever forget.
The Longsands also gave me my best moments in the world of music, and they came so close to making it to the big time. They’re a great bunch of lads, were a huge success, and had so, so much to give and I’m proud of all that we did together.
I’ve worked alongside some great people as well, with Andrew Brewster and Joe Allon at the start with Players Inc, then with Danny Cox under Relentless Promotions. We’ve also worked for some great charities and done some amazing things together, but you realise that, not every event sells and as a promoter you take risks every single time.
Moving forward though, we’ve some good things to look forward to and I can’t wait for When Parky Met Shearer’ at the Whitley Bay Playhouse in September. It has taken me just over four years to pull this event off but the persistence pays and this adheres to that turn of phrase. The hardest part was getting the two stars’ respective diaries to match!
I’d also like to bring Connor McGregor, Manny Pacquiao and Lennox Lewis – they’d go down a treat.