The incredible life of ‘First Lady of Football’ Karren Brady

Karren Brady
SEPTEMBER 29: Karen Brady arrives to listen to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne address the Conservative party conference on September 29, 2014 in Birmingham, England. Getty

Karren Brady is the British multi-millionaire known as the “First Lady of Football“, after a three decade career in the industry.

She ditched her formal education at the age of 18, and quickly rose up in the world of advertising and sport, to become one of the few — and therefore also prominent — women in football.

She became a director of a major publishing company, Sport Newspapers Ltd, at the age of 20, and a managing director of Birmingham City Football Club before she hit 30. She made an estimated £82 million ($US125 million) by the time she turned 40.

After overcoming a potentially fatal cerebral aneurysm and a police arrest over allegations of corruption in English football, she was awarded a CBE for services to Women in Business and Entrepreneurship.

By the end of last year, she was granted the title Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge.

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title=”Karren Rita Brady was born on April 4, 1969 in Edmonton, London. Her family house was near to the Tottenham Hotspur football ground – White Hart Lane.”
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title=”Her father Terry Brady made an undisclosed fortune in printing and property development while her mother was a stay-at-home wife. Brady has an older brother, Darren.”
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title=”Until 11 years old, she attended Salcombe Preparatory School in Southgate.”
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title=”She then went to Poles Convent boarding school in Ware, Hertfordshire. After that, Brady went to the acclaimed Aldenham School in Elstree, where she gained four A-levels.”
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[slide
permalink=”after-being-rejected-from-a-journalism-course-she-joined-ad-agency-saatchi-and-saatchi-at-the-age-of-18-5″
title=”After being rejected from a journalism course, she joined ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi at the age of 18.”
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permalink=”one-year-later-in-1988-she-joined-the-radio-network-lbc-as-an-advertising-account-executive-6″
title=”One year later, in 1988, she joined the radio network LBC as an advertising account executive.”
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permalink=”she-capitalised-on-her-familys-contacts-and-got-one-of-her-fathers-largest-clients-football-club-investor-and-pornographer-david-sullivan-to-spend-2-million-3-million-on-six-months-of-advertising-7″
title=”She capitalised on her family’s contacts and got one of her father’s largest clients, football club investor and pornographer David Sullivan, to spend £2 million ($3 million) on six months of advertising.”
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permalink=”at-the-end-1988-she-joined-sullivans-sport-newspapers-which-owned-soft-porn-magazines-and-the-daily-sport-tabloid-she-became-a-director-within-a-year-at-the-age-20-8″
title=”At the end 1988, she joined Sullivan’s Sport Newspapers, which owned soft porn magazines and The Daily Sport tabloid. She became a director within a year at the age 20.”
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permalink=”during-her-time-there-brady-spotted-an-advert-for-the-sale-of-birmingham-city-football-club-after-it-fell-into-receivership-she-said-in-several-interviews-she-begged-sullivan-to-buy-it-and-let-her-run-it-9″
title=”During her time there, Brady spotted an advert for the sale of Birmingham City football club, after it fell into receivership. She said in several interviews she ‘begged’ Sullivan to buy it and let her run it.”
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permalink=”in-1993-sullivan-bought-the-club-for-700000-11-billion-brady-then-became-known-as-the-first-lady-of-football-after-being-appointed-as-the-managing-director-of-birmingham-city-fc-here-she-is-pictured-with-the-chairman-of-the-football-club-at-the-time-david-gold-10″
title=”In 1993, Sullivan bought the club for £700,000 ($1.1 billion). Brady then became known as ‘The First Lady of Football’ after being appointed as the managing director of Birmingham City F.C. Here she is pictured with the Chairman of the football club, at the time, David Gold.”
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title=”During her first two years there, she met her future husband, Canadian footballer Paul Peschisolido. He played for Birmingham City for two seasons (1992 — 93 and 1993 — 94).”
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[slide
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title=”They married on June 10, 1995. They are still married and have two children Sophia (18) and Paolo (15).”
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title=”Brady made huge strides within the first few years at Birmingham City. In 1996, Birmingham City made an overall profit for the first time in a decade.”
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title=”In 1997, she launched Birmingham City on the mid-cap London stock exchange.”
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title=”This made her the youngest managing director of a PLC company at the time at age 28.”
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[slide
permalink=”over-the-next-few-years-brady-would-consolidate-her-influence-by-sitting-on-the-boards-of-companies-such-as-channel-4-television-and-retailer-mothercare-16″
title=”Over the next few years, Brady would consolidate her influence by sitting on the boards of companies such as Channel 4 television and retailer Mothercare.”
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[slide
permalink=”she-is-currently-still-a-senior-non-executive-director-of-simon-cowells-music-production-and-marketing-company-syco-17″
title=”She is currently still a senior non-executive director of Simon Cowell’s music production and marketing company, Syco.”
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[slide
permalink=”between-2008-and-2009-she-starred-on-the-apprentice-as-a-guest-interviewer-and-then-a-judge-18″
title=”Between 2008 and 2009 she starred on The Apprentice, as a guest interviewer and then a judge.”
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[slide
permalink=”but-in-2006-brady-underwent-a-full-body-mri-scan-and-discovered-a-potentially-fatal-cerebral-aneurysm-19″
title=”But in 2006, Brady underwent a full-body MRI scan and discovered a potentially fatal cerebral aneurysm.”
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[slide
permalink=”that-year-she-had-neurosurgery-to-prevent-the-aneurysm-from-rupturing-one-month-later-she-was-back-at-work-fully-recovered-20″
title=”That year she had neurosurgery to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing. One month later, she was back at work, fully recovered.”
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permalink=”in-2008-she-and-sullivan-were-arrested-by-city-of-london-police-in-the-investigation-into-the-2006-allegations-of-corruption-in-english-football-birmingham-city-chairman-david-gold-was-also-interviewed-21″
title=”In 2008, she and Sullivan were arrested by City of London Police in the investigation into the 2006 allegations of corruption in English football. Birmingham City chairman David Gold was also interviewed.”
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title=”In 2009, the police confirmed that no further action would be taken.”
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permalink=”2009-also-marked-the-year-she-sold-her-stake-in-birmingham-city-for-82-million-125-million-23″
title=”2009 also marked the year she sold her stake in Birmingham City for £82 million ($125 million).”
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title=”In 2010, Brady became the vice chairman of West Ham United Football Club, underneath joint chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold.”
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title=”As part of the deal, she negotiated moving the club to the Olympic Stadium in 2016. Here she is with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson (second from left).”
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permalink=”in-2012-she-published-her-autobiography-strong-woman-ambition-grit-and-a-great-pair-of-heels-26″
title=”In 2012, she published her autobiography, ‘Strong Woman: Ambition, Grit and a Great Pair of Heels.'”
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[slide
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title=”She also became more vocal in politics and aligned herself with the Conservative Party. She serves on the Department for Culture Media & Sport’s ‘Women in Sport Advisory Board’.”
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title=”In 2013, she addressed the Conservative Party Conference and was named as the government’s Small Business Ambassador. Here she is with UK Prime Minister David Cameron.”
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title=”She has since been at every Tory party conference. She was one of the 103 business leaders that signed a letter to The Telegraph supporting the Tories. Here she is with Tory MP Grant Schapps.”
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title=”In March 2014, she was awarded a CBE for services to Women in Business and Entrepreneurship, by the Duke of Cambridge.”
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title=”Only six months later, she was was elevated to the House of Lords as a Conservative life peer, taking the title Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge.”
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title=”Now that you’ve seen this …”
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