Matisse: Hi Olivia! Great to have you as part of our interview series. So, firstly let’s start with your career within the sport. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe you were apart of a Chelsea fan channel a few years ago on YouTube much like myself now. Did you find that experience beneficial to your career and was this always the plan?
Olivia: Yeah I worked on the Chelsea Fan Channel for a little while and I’d say it definitely helped me. Bar uni, it was my first proper time in front of camera in an actual studio – and luckily it was talking about something that I could talk about in my sleep – so I really enjoyed it and it definitely taught me skills that I use in my presenting even now. I always knew I wanted to work in football and infront of camera but I wasn’t sure which route I’d go down. They actually offered me a full-time job at the same time that Premier League Productions did and it was a hard decision but I went with PLP and it was hands down the best decision I could’ve made because it’s got me to where I am now, presenting and reporting for the Premier League – but I did continue to do little bits for the channel and I loved every second of it.
Matisse: Following on from that theme, can you describe the feeling of finding out that you would be the presenter for the Premier League Fantasy football show or was you more expecting this, as a natural progression after the hard work previous to it.
Olivia: I definitely wasn’t expecting it as I wouldn’t expect anything in this industry. I had been working hard and showing them exactly what I could do so it was really nice that, that was recognised – but the feeling knowing I was going to be a full-time Presenter for the Premier League, talking about FPL for my job was actually indescribable. For once in my life I was actually speechless. It was definitely a natural progression because I’d been filling in for the two presenters when they were out doing other things…but I’d worked hard and am still just on cloud nine that I talk about football for a living.
Matisse: I make the assumption from just following your career on social media this is your dream job, again let me know if I’ve jumped the gun haha. Do you still get nerves before ‘kick off’/ filming so to speak like the athletes or overtime does it now feel natural?
Olivia: Oh it’s absolutely my dream job – I do want to get out and about more at training grounds, at more games and interviewing more players etc, but I never thought I’d be doing this at 25 anyway, so it’s incredible. I think I’ll always get nervous, especially presenting on live TV, nothing can prepare you for when the director says you’re live – but I believe in myself, I know I can do it and the feeling during a show is the best. I think the more I do it, the better I become and the more natural it’ll feel but I’ll always feel comfortable in a studio because I know this is what I’m good at!
Matisse: Moving onto Chelsea TV! Firstly congrats again! I can only imagine what it’s like to work in the same studio Jason Cundy lost his marbles on that night in Munich! What’s it like working alongside him and with the club as a whole?
Olivia: Thank you. Now that is an actual dream come true. Never did I think I would be co-hosting a show for the team I’ve loved and supported my whole life. It’s incredible. I’ve loved every show I’ve done with Jason and the team. We all get on so well, obviously share a mutual love for Chelsea and it’s so nice to be able to sit there, so comfortably and just have a laugh – on the first match we did, we all went mental, Jason grabbed me and we absolutely ruined the studio (definitely a joint effort). Water went everywhere, a monitor face down on the floor! It was carnage but absolutely brilliant and I hope I can continue working with Jason and at Chelsea for as long as I’m in this industry!
Matisse: Sounds like an absolute blast, I’m living for the moment where we win another trophy just to see the carnage in the studio! Lastly on your career before we get into Chelsea itself. We’ve seen your commentary of course for the 5th stand app during games, do you see yourself venturing in other fields like Commentary etc.
Olivia: It’s a hard one because commentary like we do on the app is more just a chat and then we try, when everyone has calmed down, to talk you through the action – but I’ve never tried actual commentary. I’m not sure I’d be very good at it haha! I would always be open to trying new things and improving my skill set so if the opportunity came up, I would 100% take it – but for now, I’m enjoying focusing on my presenting and reporting and want to be as good as I can at that.
Matisse: Now onto Chelsea. It’s been quite the season with so many changes around the club. What’s been your favourite moment of the season so far personally?
Olivia: It’s actually been incredible – I always knew there would be high highs and low lows this season, but even now, I still can’t get over that Frank Lampard is our manager and we’re doing as well as we are considering our situation. I think one of my absolute favourites was Spurs away – I was actually working that day at the game but would have done anything to be in that away end because it would have been ridiculous. I enjoyed Ajax away and of course at home but that away game was a huge moment for us. And one that also comes close is the last game we played actually, at home to Everton. Our academy products shone that day, of course Billy Gilmour was a stand out but everyone was class and it was one of, if not the, best performance of the season from us – loved it! Hopefully we can carry on like that whenever we’re playing again! Too hard to pick one!
Matisse: Couldn’t agree more, especially on the Ajax and Tottenham matches, I was fortunate enough to be at both games and the atmosphere was incredible. Moving on, Alot of the season’s praise has been to the general shock of how well so many young players and our young manager alike has performed. Who has been the young player to impress you the most?
Olivia: They’ve all exceeded expectations massively, Frank Lampard included in that. I’ve been so impressed with all of them, their attitudes, their responses when they haven’t been performing that well – just everything. I think out of the players who’ve played a large chunk of the season, Reece James is one who’s really stood out – he’s just brilliant, solid at the back, brilliant going forward and it’s nice to have a player that can actually cross the ball and provide assists from the wing. I have no doubt that he’s going to go on to be the best right-back in the Premier League/World football – he’s that good. The scary thing is he’s only 20 – and I could even see him playing further up the pitch aswell – because sometimes I think his ability on the ball is wasted as right-back but obviously he’s young and still got so much to learn – but I’m excited.
Matisse: So many have played with the idea of him being a midfielder, it’s easy to see why after his loan spell at Wigan. There’s the potential for him moving forward for sure. I need to see a Reece James long shot in Chelsea blue soon. So, with football at a halt and Transfer rumors flying around like wildfire. Is there any one player in particular you’d love to join the club?
Olivia: Do you know what I hate the worst, Chelsea Twitter talking about transfer rumours. I actually ignore it and never get involved because I can’t be bothered with it all. I don’t really read much about transfer news, unless it’s from Di Marzio then I know it’s legit – but I think if I had to choose, obviously Jadon Sancho would be nice, I think everyone would think that, but Timo Werner has stood out to me when watching him – but I’m in two minds because obviously we need experience as well as youth but I don’t want to buy too many players that will stand in the way of our academy products’ development. Whoever Frank Lampard wants and gets, I’m happy with it because I trust his decisions 100%.
Matisse: I must say, I knew Transfer season wasn’t your one of your favourites and although I partake in the rumor merry go round, during January it became extremely tiresome. There’s also a big debate going on at the moment with ‘project restart’ do you have any feelings/concerns towards football returning if any?
Olivia: I don’t really – obviously everyone is missing football and I think everyone wants it to come back as it would be the best distraction whilst in lockdown but it can only do so if it’s safe for everyone – it’s a contact sport so it’s difficult to protect players whilst they’re playing. I’m all for the return of the Premier League, as long as the correct measures are taken and it’s safe.
Matisse: And finally, a tough question from one of our writers. There still feels to be a lack of gender diversity and equality in sports media. Firstly would you agree, and why do you feel that’s still the case if yes.
Olivia; Yeah I would definitely agree with that – there’s definitely still a significant gap between the amount of men and women working in the industry, although it’s improved and continues to improve. I’m not sure why that is, could it be there’s just not a lot of women with genuine interest in it, I’m not sure – but there’s never been a better time to be a woman in football, or in sport. You’ve got to work hard, know your stuff, unfortunately you’re going to come across people that don’t like you or think you don’t know what you’re talking about because you’re a girl – but hopefully sexism will continue to disappear as well. I’d always encourage young females, if they love sport, to just do it. Take that risk because it will be worth it. Forget what everyone else thinks. The issue is improving and hopefully we’ll get to a point where the gap between genders isn’t as big.
Matisse: Well, that concludes the interview! Thanks again so much to Olivia for taking part in our series. It’s been a pleasure. Thanks to the readers also for tuning in, until next time! #StayHomeSaveLives