Pete Graves

Life, Work and the World of Sports with Pete Graves

Our Luxe sports columnist and Sky Sports presenter, Pete Graves, gives us an insight into how 2024 is shaping up for him

Pete Graves

Luxe columnist

From a skiing holiday at the turn of the year to a slightly different Transfer Deadline Day, and a whole host of exciting sporting events in the pipeline, here’s what Pete Graves has been up to…

Living Luxe

We went skiing as a family over New Year, which was brilliant. We went to Avoriaz in the French Alps. Steph and the kids had never skied before, but they all loved it.

The kids were fantastic – it’s amazing how fearless they are at that age, just throwing themselves into it. It was incredible. We celebrated the New Year out there, so that was busy, but then we headed home and landed just in time to get home for the Newcastle/Sunderland FA Cup game.

Following that, home life was pretty quiet throughout January. Every year I try my best to do ‘Dry January’ and I usually fall at the first hurdle and totally fail after about two weeks. Of course, the same thing happened this year. It’s tradition!

Working Life

After a bit of time away with family, I came back and dived straight into the Transfer Window. Usually, it’s the busiest time of the year for sports reporters, but it was the quietest January window of all time. Deals just weren’t going through in the way they normally would.

In January 2023, clubs spent just under £900m in the window, but this year it was something like £90m. PSR (profit and sustainability rules) has existed for a long time in football, but this season, since they’ve started deducting points rather than just giving fines, every club has suddenly realised how serious it is and how detrimental it can be to a club (like Everton, being deducted 10 points).

That seems to be why there is a lack of spending at the moment, which in turn, made for a very disappointing and quiet Transfer Deadline Day.

Deadline Day

I did the breakfast show on Deadline Day, so got the ball rolling. I was lucky because at that time in the morning, there’s still a lot of positivity and there’s potential stories there to run with.

Things were bubbling away at that stage and we had our reporters out and about around the country. Slowly throughout the day, it started to become clear that it wasn’t going to be busy.

A few bits and bobs came through in the end, but it was mainly loans. It certainly wasn’t one for the history books – big stories of clubs spending £100m for a player, like we’ve seen in previous Deadline Days.

There’s some positivity we can take from this though. There is probably too much money flying around in football today, and this is the first sign that maybe we need change.

We have seen football clubs spending huge sums of money on players and the transfer fees have just skyrocketed in recent years. We’re going to have to see some kind of shift back to realistic prices. It’s gone too far. I, for one, will be pleased to see more prudent spending in that respect.

For Newcastle fans, of course, it’s frustrating. And I can sympathise with that. For such a long period when Mike Ashley owned the club they could never buy anyone; now they have the ability to buy players but because of these PSR rules, they actually can’t. On the wider picture, it’s probably good for football moving forward.

The World of Sports

February brought the Newcastle United Foundation Ball, which is always a really good event. Eddie Howe and the whole first team come along, with Amanda and Mehrdad and the club officials. It’s a great celebration of what the foundation does for the community.

February also brought an ‘audience with…’ talk with Alan Shearer. I hosted the sold out in-conversation-with event in Blackburn, the club where his career really took flight.

The hardest thing for me was to ask him questions about Blackburn and not Newcastle! I’ve interviewed Alan a thousand times before, but it’s generally about Newcastle. I had to remember that there were 1,000 Blackburn Rovers fans watching, not all Geordies.

He had a brilliant time there before Newcastle broke the world transfer record at the time to bring him to Tyneside. That was a great day. I will always remember it – I was on holiday.

I remember seeing a foreign newspaper with a photograph of Alan Shearer in a Newcastle tracksuit. In my little mind, I thought, ‘oh they must be saying this is what he would look like in a Newcastle tracksuit’. It wasn’t until I looked through it and tried my hardest to understand the French to that I realised we had actually signed him!