Michael Allan and guide dog Olga at a train station. Michael and Olga have made a business agreement which has ended up in a hand paw shake.
Each Thursday we want to put the spotlight on a person involved with goalball – from players, officials, coaches, or anyone!

This week we caught up with Michael Allen!

What club do you play for or coach?

I currently play for Blackburn.

How did you discover goalball?

Several years ago, on behalf of VI Talk, I interviewed Kathryn Fielding about goalball for ‘Countdown to Sight Village’. I already played VI tennis and did some social activities with VI Bees so, having learnt more about goalball, I decided to give it a go. I spent most of my first training session walking around the venue lost! However, only a few weeks later I was making my debut at a Novice tournament in Sheffield (October 2017). My second tournament was in York (January 2018) and we won a silver medal.

Michael with his VI Bees teammates, and their medals, stood in front of a pop up Goalball UK banner.

Is there a particular song, artist or genre that you listen to before a tournament to get in the mood? Or anything you’re loving at the moment?

I like country music. My favourite artist is Alan Jackson, and my favourite song is “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” as it’s very true!

Do you have any pre-game superstitions or rituals?

No, I just get on with it.

Do you have a favourite post-match meal?

Because there is usually a bit of travelling involved after a tournament, I often end up eating junk food – a pizza or another takeaway of some sort.

Michael with his Blackburn team mates Helen and Thomas stood on court, in front of a goal, having just finished a game.

Which goalball player do you admire the most and why?

Ian Beverley was part of the GB Men’s squad that competed in the Sydney Paralympics in 2000. I’ve known him since I was about 12.

Outside of goalball, what other hobbies/sports do you do?

I’ve been saying for ages that I need to get fit but haven’t been successful yet! I do enjoy taking my guide dog Olga for walks though. At the last Novice competition, I met Jade Puckering from York and we discovered that her guide dog Oliver is Olga’s brother! Away from goalball I enjoy going to the theatre, especially to see musicals. It’s difficult to pick a favourite as I’ve seen so many good ones but, if I had to, I would probably say ‘Wicked’. I am a musician myself. I play keyboards and the guitar.

Finally, what place, anywhere in the world, is on your bucket list to visit and why?

I love going to Disneyworld in Florida. I’ve already been about 12 times – it’s my ‘happy place’! I would also quite like to go on a world cruise.

Michael Allan and partner at Disneyland Florida in front of the famous Disney castle.

To check out the rest of the articles from our ‘Featured Thursday’ series please use the following link Goalball UK – Featured Thursday