I work for Frank Warren
Nicola Milton is PA to Britain's leading boxing promoter
Wednesday 03 September 1997
Unfortunately, due to downsizing, I was made redundant, but while temping I was offered an interview with Frank Warren at Sports Network by Reed Employment. Not being a boxing fan I didn't know who Frank was, other than someone who had been shot. I'd spent the previous years steering away from a secretarial role, but Frank was such a gent during the interview that I agreed to take the job on the condition that I be paid a bit more.
I hated the job immediately. I was the only female in a small open-plan office and it was a complete and utter culture-shock. The men were aggressive, their language was terrible and although my role was supposedly PA to Frank I was treated as a cross between the office tea girl and general office secretary.
Once we had girls in the office auditioning for shows wearing skimpy skirts and high heels. I felt really inadequate and uncomfortable standing next to them in my suit and it really shattered my confidence hearing the guys making comments like "look at the tits on that one". A few nights I went home in tears, feeling I had taken a career step backwards. I was still getting over the biggest disappointment of my life, having been shortlisted for the job of my dreams at Kiss FM but not making it through.
Luckily, about a year later things started slowly looking up as we expanded and Frank got back to being the number one boxing promoter. A receptionist was hired along with other females and I became a proper PA with my own office.
I look after Frank's admin and personal life, including paying his bills. I'm now like his office "wife". I even liaise with Frank's real wife over what his diary holds in store.
I organise his interviews and take all his phone calls, either on my own phone or the Bat Phone, Frank's private line to me. I'm sure that he has a secret button under the toilet seat, because every time he rings that's where I am, and he won't stop ringing until I've picked the phone up. Basically, when he wants something done he wants it then and there, so I've now got a portable extension. I go to sleep with the sound of the Bat Phone still ringing in my ears - it sends shivers up my spine.
I am usually the only person who knows where he is, because I also organise the office diary for him. Everything is pencilled in and, although I hate doing it, I usually have to move each appointment several times because of unforeseen matters beyond Frank's control. He is always being called to last-minute press conferences or interviews, particularly after incidents like Tyson biting off a piece of Holyfield's ear.
The people calling into the office range from boxers to MPs. Some boxers are charming, others are very demanding. Frank Bruno is lovely. When I met him we laughed a lot because I'd given him tea in a delicate china cup and he couldn't even get his little finger into the handle.
Steve Collins and Prince Naseem also come down to the office or call up. Naseem can be very demanding, but I have to stick to my guns with everyone and explain that there are times when Frank is not available, even if the Queen was to call.
I book all Frank's appointments, hair, dental ... and more often than not I have to go with him. He loves company and having people around him. He really doesn't like being on his own. For example, he's got a beautiful office with leather seats and special lighting, but he prefers to sit at my bog-standard desk making a mess on it with his papers, which he knows winds me up. I find it particularly unproductive when he takes interviews on my phone and waves me out of my space for an hour or so.
Frank always calls me Maude or Doris, don't ask me why, he just does, although I wish he would call me by my real name. He's forever telling his clients that I would make someone a lovely wife when I come into a meeting with a tray of tea. I hate it when he says that, but it's just his way.
I get rid of stress by taking deep breaths, pounding the running machine at the gym, and I'm also a secret smoker, Frank being totally anti-smoking.
My office hours are nine until six, but during a show I am on call for the weekend. We move the office to the venue on a Thursday to be ready for the Friday weigh-in. I deal with all the VIP guests. Once a big show is announced, it seems that every single celebrity's PR calls me for complimentary tickets. I know who Frank will accommodate, for example Noel and Liam Gallagher, and so I divert most of the calls to the box office.
Once I'm in hospitality I enjoy it, since people tend to be so appreciative, but when people ask me questions about boxing I haven't a clue. I'm actually very squeamish and it wouldn't bother me if I never saw a boxing match again. I don't have an opinion as to how dangerous it is because I hear so many different views, although I know that my GP disapproves of my job. But my stomach always churns with pride both for Frank and our office when I see my boss enter the ring before a match to the sound of 10,000 people cheering. The joy on the victorious boxers' faces and the gratitude they express to Frank is huge.
My job means being adaptable to suit different people, I need to be able to say "Alright, darling" to a boxer one moment and "Good afternoon, sir" to a boxing official the next.
But being a PA is very, very demanding. You begin to forget your own appointments because your head is busy worrying about whether your boss will remember his video appointment or dentist's visit.
I'm very doubtful that were I to leave this job I would take on another PA role, but I'm not career-driven because I believe that my personal life is as important as my working life
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