Football: Farewell Fareham, hello Madrid

MAKING the move from Fareham Town to European champions Real Madrid is the stuff of dreams but for Duncan Pratt the move from Cams Alders to the Bernabeau has just become reality.

Pratt walked out on Fareham towards the end of last season after differences with directors.

But his sorrow turned to joy when Spanish giants Real approached him with a commercial opportunity.

'It is a dream job,' said the excited 43-year-old Pratt.

'It all came about because Real Madrid want to realise their commercial potential on a global level so that they could match the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona.

'Their aim over the next 10 years is to create a fan base in as many countries as possible.

'They got in touch with Michael Robinson, who is now a media giant in European football, and asked him to set things up and I became involved through his contacts.'

Pratt attended the Bernabeau for four days of talks. He suggested the publication of the official Real Madrid magazine for the UK and Scandinavia to create new opportunities for merchandising.

'I also outlined plans for a couple of further developments. They liked my ideas and the result was that they asked me to co-ordinate the UK and Scandinavian areas of their expansion.

'There will be a lot of people involved but it will be my job to pull it all together.

'When I walked around the ground on the tour it was totally surreal. It is exciting but I have got my two feet on the ground and will take it step by step.

'I have to admit it is one of the better jobs in football.'

Pratt admits he is still disappointed by the way his time at Fareham came to an end.

'I was gutted with the way things went and it certainly wasn't what I wanted,' he said.

'Since then a number of differences have been resolved and I will be following the lads closely next season.'

Pratt has come a long way since he left Portsmouth at 17 to ply his trade in Holland.

He spent three years with Haarlem in the premier division before moving to NEC Nijmegen for a season, where his career was ended by a tackle that broke his leg in three places.

As he recovered from the injury he moved into the marketing world, and it is that commercial background that has helped him land one of the most prestigious jobs around.

He said: 'It will certainly be different to Portland United on a cold, wet and windy midweek night.'