In the news - Carl McCarthy

11th March 2011 at 00:00

Carl McCarthy is head of Newlands Primary School in Hampshire. The 37-year-old recently starred in an episode of ITV2 series Under Pressure, in which he and a group of childhood friends, including TV presenter Vernon Kay, reconvened their 1980s American football team, the Manchester Allstars.

So what's the story behind this reunion?

"It started about 20 years ago. Growing up in Oldham I played for the Manchester Allstars. Vernon played at the time, but since then we've all gone our different ways. I'm a head at a primary school and he's obviously doing TV and radio."

And the TV programme?

"It was a documentary for ITV2 which asked celebrities if they had one wish, what would it be? For Vernon it was to try and get his old team back together."

What was Vernon like after all these years?

"Back then he was the smallest guy on the team. He was about six stone when he first started playing. When we joined up again he was by far the most athletic, and I think he was the tallest guy there."

Has TV stardom changed him?

"As a lad he was someone who was enthusiastic, energetic and always very polite. When I saw him again he was very similar, but also very humble. It was obviously a meaningful thing for him. He was, genuinely, a top guy."

And how did the team perform two decades on?

"All the guys tried really hard. We had broken legs, dislocated shoulders, bruised ribs - the end of our first training session looked like a scene out of Platoon. Let's just say not all of us were in prime condition after 20 years. But we tried our best."

How did they whip you into shape?

"We had coaches and ex-professional players, so we'd never trained like that. We had speed and contact drills and trained at Wembley, and classroom-based stuff where we learnt the theory. Our big game was against the British university champions, the Birmingham Lions, so we had to learn all the technical stuff."

Did you win?

"We lost 31-11, but we were the first team to score against them this year. They have only lost once in three years."

Would you fancy the sport again full-time?

"Not really, but I would have liked a few more games. The game was fantastic and I know Vernon was really pleased with what we managed to achieve."

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