Graham Poll is said to be the most well known and most experienced English football referee of all time. Whilst his achievements are considerable, including the last FA Cup Final at Wembley stadium in 2000 and the first referee to reach the milestone of refereeing 300 Premier League matches he will always be remembered for issuing one player with 3 yellow cards at a World Cup match during the 2006 final competition in Germany 2006.
Educated at The Thomas Alleyne school in Stevenage, he left education to follow a highly successful sales career in the FMCG marketplace after learning the principles of selling in the business to business world of office equipment with Canon UK Ltd.
An excellent communicator and presenter, he quickly progressed to first and then second line management and for 7 years oversaw a rapidly expanding direct sales force at Coty UK alongside his refereeing career. Forced to leave full time employment in 1999 due to his dedication to achieving world recognition in football, Graham started his own business with another ex- sales director from Hays and fellow International referee, Graham Barber. Together they developed an internet site which they negotiated the sale of for £1.5m in 2001 before becoming a full time professional referee.
Graham has been a columnist for The Daily Mail since retiring from refereeing in May 2007.
He provides a calm and rational analysis of events under his ‘Official Line’ banner in both the paper and online. Often passionate, always accurate, Graham provides a unique insight and totally different perspective on the major controversies in football.
Graham’s autobiography, SEEING RED, was first published as a hardback in August 2007, shortly after his retirement. It was a Sunday Times bestseller and the hardback alone sold more copies than any other refereeing book. The paperback followed in the summer of 2008 and is still available – just click on the link below to order your copy.
Now Graham’s eagerly awaited second book, GEOFF HURST AND THE HAND OF GOD, has been published in hardback. In it Graham looks at the biggest controversies in World football; situations which are repeated up and down the country week after week. It provides a real insight into the laws of the game and lifts the lid on controversies that people can still remember but not comprehend and was well timed for the build up to the FIFA World Cup Finals inSouth Africa.
As well as providing comments regarding major refereeing controversies for ITV and Channel 4 news programmes Graham is a regular newspaper reviewer on Sky News Sunrise programme. This gives him the opportunity to look at a wide variety of subjects away from the football field.
Whenever there is a major football controversy you will find Graham debating referees decisions on TalkSport. Whether it is an immediate response on Sunday mornings with Mark Saggers and Micky Quinn or on breakfast with Alan Brazil and Ronnie Irani the discussion is usually heated and always informative.
Graham contributes weekly to ‘Chappers Premier League podcast’ which is sponsored by Championship Manager. It is hosted by Radio One’s Mark Chapman who has MOTD2’s Kevin Day and Graham as resident studio guests; their great banter is aided by the encyclopaedic knowledge of Roy Meredith, general manager of Championship manager game. High profile guests join the debate by phone – it’s a great listen
Graham has developed an excellent reputation on the after dinner circuit with his fascinating insight into the Premier League and World football scene. Whether relating anecdotes about Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira and their legendary tunnel bust-up, learning French from Thierry Henry or falling foul of the wit of the crowd at Anfield, Graham can provide great entertainment along with incisive commentary on the current issues.
Given Graham’s unique experience at the FIFA World Cup in Germany 2006 he can also speak about dealing with adversity and… if it is a motivational or team building address you are looking for Graham also combines his commercial experiences in Sales, where he had a very successful career managing sales forces, to ensure that you get the most from your team