Frank Warren on near-death, fighting Mike Tyson and staying positive

October 5, 2020. Series 2. Episode 10

Frank Warren, one of boxing’s greatest ever promoters, has survived and coped with an astonishing amount of incoming crisis throughout his 40-year career. An attempt on his life, a high-profile court case that could have seen him jailed, and the collapse of his dream venue, The London Arena are just three of the dramas that Frank has bounced back from. The question, of course, that I wanted to focus on in this conversation was “How?”. Frank’s formula for resilience is anchored in his ability to stay focused and strategic when all seems lost. As he explains: “I get a big rush of adrenaline when things are against me – and that makes me really focus and gives me a clear mind to what I’m going to do. I don’t panic about things.”

Franks’ motivation for survival is crystal clear: “You’ve just got to be true to yourself and the most important thing is you’ve got to make sure your family is safe. You’ve got to make sure that you’re protecting them.” Speaking about his younger brother Mark, who very sadly took his own life, Frank shared his thoughts on mental health and revealed how a brief spell of therapy helped him understand aspects of his personality. In this conversation my friend of 25years, gave an authentic, powerful account of his approach to crisis and to life. Family, friends, loyalty and fun are the guiding lights of Frank Warren’s incredible life.

Frank’s Crisis Cures:

1. Just being home.
2. My family photo album… because my wife Susan and my children are what drives me.
3. I love music and The Temptations – The Way You Do The Things You Do is guaranteed to lift my mood.



Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning:
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Host – Andy Coulson

Producer – Louise Difford


Full transcript:

00:00:00.00 Intro music


00:00:19.06 Andy Coulson:

Hello and welcome to Crisis What Crisis? a new podcast designed to be a useful field guide as we all try to navigate and come to terms with a dramatically changed world. Whether personal, professional or both, crisis is without doubt, the new shared experience. I’m Andy Coulson, a former newspaper editor, Downing Street Director of Communications and one time inmate of HMP Belmarsh. For the last four years I’ve been putting all of my experience, the good and the bad, to use as a strategic advisor to business leaders and I can tell you that the bad has been just as useful as the good. And that got me thinking that there are plenty of great podcasts out there where you can hear stories of success, there are far fewer where you can benefit from the experience of those whose lives have properly unravelled.


00:01:06.22 Andy Coulson:

So, in Crisis What Crisis? I’ll be talking to the embattled, shamed, courageous, ruined, damaged, resilient, unlucky and lucky survivors of crisis. Some names will be familiar, some less so, but all our guests will talk about their crises honestly, often with humour, but always in the hope that what they have to share might be useful to anyone facing down their own demons and challenges. Put simply, these are crisis stories worth sharing. If you agree and enjoy what you hear, please do give us a rating and review, that way even more people will hear them and that, in the end, is what it’s all about.


00:01:43.21 Andy Coulson:

Crisis What Crisis? is generously supported by Myndstream, a brilliant company who harness the power of music for personal wellbeing. Whether it be music for meditation, to help focus, sleep, stress relief, yoga and fitness, rejuvenation, even grief and loss, Myndstream is there to improve human performance. I’ve tried it, it works, and I’d recommend having a listen to the Myndstream catalogue yourself. Just search Myndstream, that’s mind with a Y, on Spotify. Thanks again for joining me.


00:02:17.11 Andy Coulson:

My guest today is Frank Warren, one of the world’s greatest ever boxing promoters. Bruno, Calzaghe, Benn, Collins, Eubank, Hamed, Khan, Hatton and of course Tyson Fury, these are all people who owe a deep debt of gratitude to Frank. Because it’s his genius, his ability to align so many stars in the right way at just the right moment, whilst of course, carrying a large lump of the finical risk, it’s that skill that created the stage for all of those boxers to realise their dreams.


00:02:47.23 Andy Coulson:

Frank is also an innovator. The man who forced the British Boxing Board of Control to establish what is effectively modern promoting. Who could see where British sports entertainment was heading in the late eighties and who built a home for it, long before the O2, with the London Arena. Who also led the march in taking boxing to bigger audiences outside of terrestrial TV, transforming the sport with pay per view. And who is even now finding new ways to revolutionise boxing.


00:03:16.23 Andy Coulson:

But we’re here, of course, to talk about crisis and how to get through it, something that Frank knows more than a bit about because resilience, staying power and grit are as much a part of his DNA as they are of any of those boxers I’ve just mentioned. A man who’s lived the extreme highs and the lows of a life in business and the public eye, who knows what it is to find yourself in the hands of the jury of your peers and in his case win, and who came within an inch of death when he was shot at point blank range in 1989. And those are just two of the dramas in what has been an astonishing life.


00:03:53.16 Andy Coulson:

Before we start I should declare an interest. If you listen to the first episode of this second series in which I banged on about my own crisis, you might remember that I talked about how friends can react in different ways when things go wrong. There are those who run into the fire and there are those who run in the opposite direction. It’s been my privilege to know Frank for the last couple of decades and I can confirm that he is a run into the fire sort of friend. So with that love-in over, welcome to Crisis What Crisis? Frank.


00:04:26.08 Frank Warren:

Thank you, and how are you?


00:04:27.18 Andy Coulson:

I’m good, I am good. We’re talking, of course, as the crisis that we thought we were beginning, hoping, to emerge from has gone back into reverse. New limitations announced by the prime minister. They affect everyone of course but sport, in particular, is in pain. I want to talk though, Frank, if I may, about your resilience? Born in a council house in Islington, your dad was a bookie. You were a very bright lad. Passed your eleven plus, got into grammar school. But then you left at what were you fourteen and a half?


00:05:01.17 Frank Warren:

Fourteen and a half.


00:05:03.00 Andy Coulson:

Yeah, I mean, why, is the first question. I’ve always thought in our many conversations over the years, I’ve always thought to myself, I mean, you’re a you took a much more successful turn, you would have been a great lawyer. Was that not kind of on the list of possibilities when you were that kid who just passed his eleven plus and thinking about the future?


00:05:26.20 Frank Warren:

No, actually my first job when I left school, I worked for a solicitor in Holborn called J Tickle & Co. I lasted there a month; I drove them round the bend.


00:05:33.08 Andy Coulson:

Fantastic, how very Dickensian.


00:05:34.21 Frank Warren:

Good old Dickensian name that. No, I left school when I was fourteen, it sounds stupid and it was ridiculous to take… I went to quite a good school and to have not taken the opportunities that it offered to me but the fact of the matter was that I got quite bored with it. And my mum and dad had split up and I sort of maybe took liberties with that in the fact that I started bunking off school quite a bit. I had a girlfriend at the time, who was a little bit older than me, and so I used to spend a lot of time round there and never went back to school again, so that was it. So that’s the truth of the matter. So that was in those days.


00:06:20.19 Frank Warren:

But I enjoyed school when I was very young, I really did enjoy going to school and I did well and a lot of people didn’t think I would do well. I was always in the sort of top three of the class. You know, going to grammar school, no one from my family ever went to university or anything, that was like the equivalent of going to university going to the grammar school back then. And education is quite important. I mean, I’m lucky enough, I do read a lot and I do take an interest in a lot of things. And I certainly would make it one of my priorities in life to make sure my kids got a good education. They all went to uni and they all, well one of my daughters is a music teacher. So they’ve all had an education, which is something I feel that we as parents, all parents should ensure that their kids have. And then after that it’s up to them what they’re going to go do with it. But I didn’t take advantage of it.


00:07:22.12 Andy Coulson:

But the sort of gene that was strong, very strong in you, even at that age, was the entrepreneurial gene, that was there very early on.


00:07:36.03 Frank Warren:

Wash cars, do anything. And when I was even when I was about fifteen I remember me and my pal, who passed away with the virus recently, we used to go, at Christmas time, and I can remember going down buying reams of Christmas paper and we’d put five or six sheets together, so you’d have all the different colours, put them together and we used to sell them up Chapel Street market. Get the money as we got the money we’d go straight into the bookmakers and have a bet. But it was all fun and it was, in the sixties it was very lively times.


00:08:16.19 Andy Coulson:

I definitely want to get onto that but you became a promoter and you became interested in boxing sort of by accident, didn’t you?


00:08:26.09 Frank Warren:

Yeah, I was always a fan of all sports but my main passion was football. I managed a football club in my block of flats where I lived. I managed, they were called, Priory FC, I managed them when I was sixteen. I remember they played in the Regent’s Park Sunday League. And I used to go to a pub I remember on the Holloway Road for the meeting. And there was all these blokes there, all these old fellers, all the managers running the thing and I was about thirteen, fourteen. So I’ve always sort of was very interested in sport.


00:09:01.12 Frank Warren:

And I had a cousin called Johnny Ward, he was quite a good fighter, he turned professional at exactly the same time as John Conteh. We had another second cousin called Lenny McLean. He was in the move Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and they dedicated the film to him. So Lenny at that time, he used to work on the door of a nightclub. He was always a big feller. He was like, when he was eleven he was the same size, if you know what I mean, he was one of those big kids. Bit of a bully and to be honest I didn’t really like him that much. But my uncle Bob, who I really looked up to, my dad’s brother, and really, really did look up to him, he went to my uncle Bob and he said he was going to have this fight against a guy called Roy Shaw. And Roy Shaw was the kind of unlicensed boxing.


00:09:54.00 Frank Warren:

So they had it on at this club called Cinatra’s in Streatham. That was my first involvement with Cinatra’s. And so we went along just as punters just to watch it. So my uncle and I watched it and he got absolutely poleaxed. He train a day, Roy Shaw once wobbled him and then after that he went for another punch and he just crossed his arms on the ropes and got hit about fifty times and eventually slipped down the ropes and that was it. My uncle blocked him in the dressing room, and he said, ‘Why would you let somebody do that to you?’


00:10:27.17 Frank Warren:

Anyway they eventually had a rematch, they had the fight, he won. Then he beat Shaw and knocked him out. And there was a meeting, which I went along to with my uncle, and I’m like a kid then, I was about twenty-two, twenty-three at the time, and they offered Lenny some really stupid money for another like for a rubber match. And I said, ‘What’s he wanna take that for?’ I, like an idiot, I said, ‘I’ll pay him more than that’ and that’s how I got into promoting.


00:10:55.16 Andy Coulson:

So do you know, that’s a wonderful story but how does that happen? How does the twenty year old, or twenty-one year old kid standing in that room, pull that off?


00:11:10.01 Frank Warren:

Well my uncle just looked at me as if to say what’s what? But I’d said it and he was… really he should have been talking and I shouldn’t have said that and I apologised outside but I just said it. So I said ‘We can do this’ and I said ‘Don’t worry about that’, I mean, what did I know?


00:11:25.13 Andy Coulson:

Paint a picture for me, Frank, of this sort of life that you’re leading as a bloke in his early twenties, growing up and finding your way on the streets of London, Soho, Ronnie Scott’s, the whole scene in the late sixties and seventies. It must have been an amazing place to be at properly amazing time.


00:11:48.22 Frank Warren:

Well, I loved it, at the time I was doing this I had a business which was involved with machines. We used to put pool tables and machines into pubs and clubs. And I was very young at the time, twenty-three, and I had a couple of interests in what we call drinkers, which were, one was an after-hours drinker, which was basically an unlicensed drinking club. It was lively times and I was, like I say, I was getting good money, I was doing okay, I had a nice car I had a decent life and all that. I got married quite young, first marriage, and it was just a real…


00:12:28.10 Andy Coulson:

But what’s driving you? What I’m trying to get at is where does all this come from? Because it’s an astonishing story of success even just right at the start of it by the way. But even here at this point in the story, it’s an amazing success. What’s driving you? Obviously money, right? As it does quite reasonably, but there’s something else going on as well, wasn’t there?


\00:12:53.10 Frank Warren:

It wasn’t money really. I mean, listen I love… I didn’t have any money, what do you want when you was… where I come, you’ve got your few quid, you wanted to go and get some nice clothes, for us was to go and get a suit made to measure in those days. You wanted a car, you wanted to be able to go out at night and you’re buying records. And that’s how it was. It was a really good time, unlike it is today for the poor young kids, it was a great time for us. But I just, if I got the bit between my teeth I just went for it, whatever it was.


00:13:25.21 Andy Coulson:

But there must have been some resistance? Right, you’re treading on a few toes? That little example that you gave, right, you’re the bloke in his early twenties who says ‘I’ll do that’.


00:13:38.18 Frank Warren:

It’s funny, I’m very good at… if I get the bit between my teeth and I want to do it I’ve, in most cases, got it over the line because I won’t give up on it, I keep pushing and pushing until it happens. And sometimes I don’t look at the detail as much as I should, and that’s been one of my problems and trusted a couple of people I shouldn’t have done but that’s.. you’ve got your good points and your bad points in life. And I’m a bookmaker’s son, I like to bet, I don’t bet like I used to. I used to bet quite a bit, I used to go to dog racing, me and Micky Droy who used to be the Chelsea captain and we went to school together and we used to go to the dogs.


00:14:21.22 Andy Coulson:

But your business, right, there will be people listening to this who hopefully, love boxing but there will be people who only know what they see on the TV. The job of a promoter is partly a bet, obviously. You’re constantly trying to manage risk. Is it that element that really drew you to boxing specifically? Because that kind of dynamic, if you like, of being the guy in the centre, A, making it work but also with this big lump of risk, did you love the risk? Do you love the risk?


00:15:03.12 Frank Warren:

I do, yeah, I do. I do sometimes live on the edge; I do do that. Which I still do. But I think the thing about it was when I started off these, they called them unlicensed shows, they were licensed by the GLBC back then but they weren’t licensed by the Board of Control. But taking the Board on and doing all that, I weren’t looking to get a career out of boxing, it just happened. And because they kept putting obstacles in my way, then I sort of fought it. And the more I fought it then I got more sort of seduced by the game because it’s a fantastic thing. You know, I’m a kid from a council house, council flats, Priory Green Estate in Islington just off Pentonville Road and it’s where I’ve gone from doing that and the people I’ve met in my life, I’ve been blessed. I’ve been the most luckiest. And it’s been amazing the journey that I’ve had.


00:16:02.12 Andy Coulson:

Let’s talk about resilience for a minute. What’s your view, Frank, does it come from your environment? This whole nature, nurture bit which is often point of discussion on this podcast, where do you sit on it? When you look, and we’re going to get into some of your resilience, where do you think it comes from? One or other, combination?


00:16:24.10 Frank Warren:

I think it comes from; I think resilience comes from your heart. I think because that’s it, it’s in you, it’s either in you or it isn’t in you. And it depends what, you know, I mean, look at you. The circumstances you find yourself in, sometimes are totally alien to where you… you know what has happening, why is this happening to me? This wasn’t part of the plan. For me I’ve always come from a quite a confrontational situation. You know my family were well-known in Islington, they were quite… you know it’s like a macho environment so there was no backing down from anybody.


00:17:05.16 Frank Warren:

There was just never that, that just never happened. And I suppose, in some ways I’ve taken that. I mean, people say that I’m very litigious and I think that’s because I was, certainly against a lot of the newspapers because there was a lot of stuff written about me which was untrue and that was put right. But the reason I did it, because had I been like I was in my younger days I would probably have gone round and punched them on the nose because that’s what it was then.


00:17:29.18 Andy Coulson:

How things were don, right.


00:17:31.12 Frank Warren:

Yeah but you’re obviously grown up and you’re living in a different world and so forth, so I just don’t, I’ve never… If I don’t feel right about something, sometimes to my detriment, I will push it. And if I’m under fire, it’s a funny thing this, I get a big rush of adrenaline when things are against me. And I seem to and that rush of adrenaline makes me really focus and gives me a clear mind to what I’m going to do. I don’t panic about things, I can be right on what I’m thinking about and you know, I’ve been in some situations over the years but I can focus and I can…


00:18:12.11 Frank Warren:

I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s like it might stem back to my mum and dad, they had quite a tempestuous relationship. You know he was there, he was gone, they were arguing, it got to the stage where when they were arguing you were waiting… when they made it up, then they made up. And I was always waiting for them to fall out again. So you were always waiting for something to go wrong. And when it went wrong, then after that… maybe some of the resilience came from that, living there. You know, I’ve got a sister and a brother, my youngest brother who committed suicide, he wasn’t born when all this was happening. But it was quite a, it was really, really sometimes very tough because as I say you were waiting for the bad times. But you became used to it because you just don’t know any different. And sometimes you think that’s what a normal relationship is.


00:19:12.00 Andy Coulson:

And your feeling, Frank, absolutely is that you carried that into your…


00:19:19.07 Frank Warren:

Yeah, I think I have done, I think that’s been part of me. It’s like when things are going well, I don’t worry about things, but when things are going well I’m always thinking well, something’s going to happen in a minute and we’ll have to deal with it.


00:19:32.07 Andy Coulson:

You know it’s not a coincidence, is it, obviously that boxing is full of characters who have had troubled backgrounds, difficult lives that have driven them on. It’s a common factor, certainly has been over the years. Still is, in your view? Is that the kind …


00:19:49.05 Frank Warren:

I think there are a lot of single parents, more these days, but there are some single parent families but there are also of close families where mums and dad are involved with their kids and there’re boys and girls these days who fight. Fighters, it’s funny you think they’re all the same but they’re all different. They’ve all got different personalities, obviously, I mean, for me Tyson Fury, in that fight he had before he won the World Title, he got robbed by the way. And he was well in front, that last round, when he got hit and he got caught, this tremendous punch by Deontay Wilder and he hit the canvas. And I got up and I thought, it’s all over, I mean, everybody in the place, it’s all over. Wild scene, we’re all jumping, going up into the ring.


00:20:35.23 Frank Warren:

And he got up, referee counted about six or seven and he got up. And he was like the terminator. You know that little spark in his eye the robot or whatever it is, and he got up, not only did he get up, he was winning the round at the end. And I spoke to him about it and I said, ‘Tyson, I thought you was gone’. And he said, ‘No, remember the referee came in the dressing room and he said to me ‘if any of you guys get in trouble, if you get clipped, if you go on the floor, I’m going to tell you to get up and I’m going to tell you to walk two or three paces to the right or to the left, and then I’m going to look into your eyes and then I’m going to decide whether I’m going to allow you to fight on’ and he said, I was lying there and I couldn’t feel my legs.’ He said ‘I really thought that I’d be falling all over the place and the referee would stop it. So I just waited to get some feeling in my legs.’ And I’m thinking about resilience, Jesus Christ, not only the resilience the presence of mind to be cool, calm and collected.


00:21:30.18 Andy Coulson:

To make that calculation, yeah.


00:21:32.12 Frank Warren:

To know that you’re going to do that, that’s something isn’t it. And we’ve all had our pressure and whatever but this is somebody’s hit you on the chin, you’re lying on the floor, your mind’s all over the place and that was tremendous what he did and how he did that. So he’s another one of those amazing characters that come out of boxing and there’ve been some amazing guys down over the years, you know, come through and shown tremendous resilience to do what they do. And it’s a situation where you’re bearing you soul. You’re in the ring, there’s just two guys in there, you’re in front of a massive audience, you’re on TV going around the world in a big fight and you’re bearing your soul.


00:22:13.11 Andy Coulson:

Can you spot the reverse? Can you spot, you know, I’m not sure if that kind of moment comes along that you’re going to be the guy who gets up again?


00:22:23.20 Frank Warren:

I’ve seen, anybody who gets into the ring is a brave bloke, anybody to do that, but it’s how brave you wanna be. And you know, I have seen, I’m not going to say any names, but I have seen guys in there who basically shouldn’t have gone in there in the first place because they obviously didn’t fancy it. It has happened.


00:22:43.02 Andy Coulson:

And maybe didn’t even know it themselves.


00:22:45.19 Frank Warren:

Yeah, maybe you’re right, maybe they didn’t know it, or they didn’t want to admit to themselves. But even if you think about, even if you do feel that way and you’re still getting in there, you’re still pretty brave to do that.


00:22:59.08 Andy Coulson:

And you know your relationship with your fighters, you’ve been, as I said right at the start, responsible for untold success, for an untold number of great boxers. Not all of them have necessarily been grateful for it, Frank. That, or they have very short memories, let’s put it that way. You don’t need to be specific about anyone, but how have you managed that over the years? Because for most people, you were making a lot of money too, right? But the way that some boxers have over the years, behaved and perhaps also the people around them, has caused you untold stress. How have you managed that? I mean, what’s the process that goes on in your head?


00:23:53.09 Frank Warren:

That can be very stressful, you know, when you get these situations happen. Most of the time when I can think it, I’ll just name names, I’ve got nothing to worry about in saying it. Naseem Hamed. I never fell out with Nas; it was his brother who caused the problems. And Nas, to his credit, had done a couple of interviews, I know one was in the last few years on Sky saying he wished he’d never left. And when I see him we get on very well now.


00:24:22.11 Frank Warren:

Ricky Hatton, I never fell out with Ricky Hatton, I never had a cross word with him but his father I fell out with and therefore fell out with Ricky. And me and Ricky get on really well now. He eventually fell out with his father and he says himself, the best night in his boxing career was when he fought Kostya Tszyu, which was the fight I got him and he won the World Title.


00:24:45.10 Frank Warren:

Nigel Benn, somebody got in the middle of that. Blew down his ear and he listened to all the rubbish and we had a massive fallout and he came back. He actually came back with me and he lost all his money, someone relieved him of his money. He came back to me and what I didn’t do, which I’ve learned now, you know you don’t want to get between father and son or in between families, I would never do that, but I’d do it now. Like if I’ll feel there’s a problem, I’ll ask the fighter direct because I’m not going to give the… Listen, they may be saying well I want to get away from Warren, I don’t want to be linked, then fair enough, that’s how it’s gonna be but I wanna know that whatever the reason is, it’s for the right reason not through what someone’s putting in their head.


00:25:31.19 Andy Coulson:

Do you carry a grudge?


00:25:35.18 Frank Warren:

I do carry, I can carry, I try not to but I have, and I always… I’m a big believer in what goes around comes around. I really do believe that everything evens out at the end of the day. It will even out, it will come back one way or another.


00:25:54.09 Andy Coulson:

A conversation about difficult boxers that you’ve met can’t finish until I mention Mike Tyson, really who was, in his own way a genius, right, in the boxing ring. I don’t know whether you would use that word whether that’s the right word, certainly talented. But you fell out pretty spectacularly with him. How did you feel about that process?


00:26:21.02 Frank Warren:

Well I fell out through a third party. I mean, you know we did a show. But first of all, it’s my fault what happened in as much as I shouldn’t have got involved in the Mike Tyson business. But I did. Sky wanted to do the fight. They wanted him on board. Sam Chisholm, the late Sam Chisholm, we’ve got to do it, let’s do it. I was working with King at the time, and then he came back. Then he left King and then the late Jay Larkin, he was the Vice President of Showtime in America, great bloke, he asked me if I’d put a fight on over here. Bring Tyson over here, so I did.


00:27:03.12 Frank Warren:

First time he came over, no problems it was great. And then he went into a jewellers and walked out of the jewellers with an invoice for about, I can’t remember the exact amount, Graff it was, Graff’s Jewellers, walked out with an invoice of about it think it might have been two million, something like that…


00:27:23.08 Andy Coulson:

Just so we’re clear, strolled into the jewellers and on the nod took away two million quid’s worth of jewellery?


00:27:31.16 Frank Warren:

Yeah, and took it out and Graff had let him. He walked out with the jewellery and I rang as he was in there, I said, ‘Listen he’s buying a lot of jewellery here, just to let you know.’ The said, ‘Don’t worry we’ll take it off his purse’ and he was into them for a lot of money at shows. That was that, they never paid the bill. And quite rightly the jewellers wanted to get paid and they kept ringing me and I was ringing the States and they’re telling me don’t worry it’ll be sorted and we’re going to do another fight here. Let’s pay it at the next thing. I’m passing that information on. Then there was a fight, he pulled out. But when he came back the second time he was just awful. I mean, he was awful, beyond awful. And it was like, he was petulant he was just aggressive, it was a totally different scenario.


00:28:19.22 Andy Coulson:

And the bill still hadn’t been paid?


00:28:22.06 Frank Warren:

The bill hadn’t been paid still. And he’d gone into the jewellers. And the reason he’d gone into the jewellers was because there was a girl in the jewellers who he’d met and he was just basically showing off to her the first time and she was going to get that commission. He’s gone to look for her when he’s gone in there, they’d fired her or she’d left or whatever, and to cut a long story short he got pissed at that. I don’t know this at the time and anyway I get a call, someone said to me, ‘Mike’s not happy’. So I said, ‘Well I’ll come up and see him, what’s the problem?’ So I go up to the hotel, next minute, I thought it was a meeting, I’m just standing there talking and he’s took a swing at me. Well he didn’t take a swing, he actually caught me. So we, well that was a big commotion in the room, there’s a lot of people in the room.


00:29:04.10 Andy Coulson:

Can we pause there just for a second? Mike Tyson hit you, there aren’t many people who can kind of tell that story outside of a boxing ring.


00:29:15.18 Frank Warren:

And I didn’t expect it by the way. Weren’t even prepared for it.


00:29:18.10 Andy Coulson:

Yeah, cheap shot.


00:29:20.14 Frank Warren:

It was a cheap shot. And I got up, went over, got up and there was all pandemonium, it was just crazy, it was all madness in the room. But when I say it’s my fault I should have known, I should have pulled out of that situation from the start. I shouldn’t have got involved.


00:29:41.24 Andy Coulson:

Do you mind if we go back to the hotel room just very briefly? You got up, knowing you as I do, something tells me that you wouldn’t have said, ‘you shouldn’t have done that Michael, I shall be speaking to you later’. Something tells me that was not your reaction, am I right?


00:29:57.10 Frank Warren:

Well you know it was a bit more and he was like a lunatic. And anyway it all got, it all ended, as such, and I was, now you’re talking about how was that going to be sorted out, I was absolutely fuming, as you can imagine. Fuming for everybody involved. I remember the lawyer Ken Hershman, who was at Showtime, he wanted to call the police. I said, ‘No, no, no not going to call no police’. He said, ‘This is terrible’ and he owed Showtime, Mike Tyson, about 25 million dollars apparently, allegedly. And I said to him, ‘No I don’t want to do that’, I said, ‘I’ll sort it out, don’t worry’.


00:30:39.19 Frank Warren:

And anyway to cut a long story short, all the newspapers said I had my jaw broken, my ribs were broken, that was bullshit, nothing was broken at all. In my eye I just had like a burst blood vessel, like a red eye, that was it. And he fought, he had his fight, Showtime got some of their money back and I made sure that he paid for what he did. I hit him where it hurt him. And he went berserk after the fight. The police actually ran him out of town. He made a straight to Gatwick airport and out the country.


00:31:24.05 Andy Coulson:

When you think back on it, just that anecdote, when you look back on that story as you’re telling it, are you sort of chuckling to yourself inside or can you still feel yourself as you felt then/?


00:31:35.22 Frank Warren:

No I’m annoyed inside. I was annoyed that the person who called me didn’t mark my card. Because I would have gone up there anyway. Wouldn’t have stopped me going up there up but I would have known what I was getting into. And I’m walking in, you know, nothing, next minute you hear… crazy stuff. And he was mad, he was a bully. He was a terrible bully boy Tyson, he was the bully who got beaten by a bully, do you know what I mean? I haven’t mentioned anything about Holyfield. And they beat him because he couldn’t intimidate him, he couldn’t bully him.


00:32:08.13 Frank Warren:

And years later, it takes time sometimes to do things, years later he was fighting again and they wanted to put a fight on. And I they wanted to put this guy called Kevin McBride in, Irish guy. And they wanted to sell the rights to Sky. And I talked to the people who were doing it, I said, ‘Don’t do that, put him in with Danny Williams and that’s an English guy, British guy and I can do the deal, we can do a better deal for the TV. That’ll appeal more to them.


00:32:37.10 Frank Warren:

And to cut a long story short, I said to Danny Williams, ‘When you fight this feller for two or three rounds this is going to be like World War Two in a day, you’re going to get everything thrown at you.’ I said, ‘If you get through it I’m telling you, you’ll knock him out.’ And that’s what he did.


00:32:55.05 Andy Coulson:

Can we go to November 1989 and the Broadway Theatre in Barking? The night you were shot. If you don’t mind, Frank, are you happy just to talk us through what happened that night? You’re arriving, you think, for a regular night of boxing and you step outside your car.


00:33:20.05 Frank Warren:

Yeah, get outside the car and I heard a bang. And I turned round, I thought it was a motorbike backfiring. And then I heard a click and I looked up and somebody’s there with a mask on. You know, just had a mask over his face and I thought to myself, I thought it was a joke to start with. And then I could see that he was shaking and he was just … and I heard a click again and nothing happened. And he was probably about eight foot away from me, just too far to close the gap or anything.


00:33:52.20 Frank Warren:

And so next minute, bang, and I felt pain, I actually felt it in my ribs but it had actually gone through the chest. It was only the angle I was at, otherwise it would have gone through my heart but it went through my lung and came out. And then he ran, well I didn’t see him run, I could hear a kerfuffle and my partner at the time was a barrister called John Buttress, he’s next to me and I can’t remember his words he went, ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ And he jumped on him and wrestled him to the floor. Very brave, very brave and that was it.


00:34:38.24 Frank Warren:

And I was losing my breath, I was gurgling in my throat because of the blood from my lungs. And as luck had it the ambulances were on strike at that time. So I got bundled into the back of an old paddy wagon, police van was there, they chucked me in the back and they were doing a fourteen point turn up the curb and every time they bumped over I’m going, ‘ooh’.


00:35:04.06 Andy Coulson:

So the first shot, just to recap, the first shot sort of misses you as a result you hear the bang, you change the angle of your body and it’s only because you did that the second bullet goes through you at an angle rather than through your heart. You’re an inch away, right? I mean, you lost half a lung, you lost part of your ribs, you were an inch away. At what point are you consciously aware of what’s going on? At what point when you’re in a really clear moment of crisis there, when did your consciousness of what’s going on kick in?


00:35:47.18 Frank Warren:

I was in the crisis, when I was gurgling blood. And then I thought it was an even worse crisis when I’m in the back of a police van and they tell me the ambulances are on strike and there’s no paramedics. And then I’m in a worse crisis. We get to the hospital and I’m on a trolley and as they’re wheeling me along, cos you’re looking up at the lights, the lights are all flashing past, and I’m going in and there’s a nurse and she’s saying to me, ‘Don’t worry Frank, it’ll be alright’ and all that stuff.


00:36:15.13 Frank Warren:

And I remember my uncle Bob was with me and I said, ‘Don’t let them knock me out’. Because I felt I had to keep awake. I said, ‘don’t let them knock me out’. But they had to, they took me into the thing and that was it, next thing I know I woke up whenever I woke up. They told my wife Susan that I had a fifty-fifty chance of making it. And they took her down in a police car to hospital and I woke up and she was in the room and that was it. She was in the room trilling on the oxygen pipe!


00:36:48.10 Andy Coulson:

Frank, honestly, only you! Only you can crack jokes about that. I mean, look, you know, I know that your inclination is always to brush it off, to your great credit, but that is a crisis story like not many others, right? And at what point, let’s go forward then, if not in the back of the van, or to the hospital bed after the operation, just try and give me a bit of a sense of how you’re trying to make sense of it. How are you coping with it?


00:37:28.13 Frank Warren:

Well coping, how am I coping? Well, I was obviously very weak and so forth. It was not so much then, because you know, you’re sort of still groggy and on a lot of morphine, morphine drip and whatever they’d given me and so you’re pretty much out of it. It was a couple of days later and then they started to show me all the newspapers and the things that were being said. And some of it was just such bullshit, just such rubbish that they were coming out with.


00:37:55.12 Frank Warren:

And my concern was we had built London Arena, an arena in London, a twelve and a half thousand seat arena in Docklands. Everyone said it was a disaster area, who’s going to go to Docklands, especially all the newspapers were saying that and most of them are based down there now. It was tough times. And my problem was that we had done a deal with a syndication of banks who were going to take a stake in the arena. And if you remember back then the interest rates went to about 16% and we were paying about 4% over base rate back then. So very expensive. We hit all our targets as regarding what we were doing with the events we were putting on but the problem became was I knew this, how are we going to keep these banks on board. I’d been shot and it all just fell away.


00:38:47.19 Frank Warren:

And that was then, that for me was the crisis, the crisis was now I’d given personal guarantees for about 14 million quid. It was my family, the kids, Susan was pregnant at the time with our youngest, Henry. So it was all, that was for me the worry. I mean, the fact I was awake, I’m there, I’m okay, I’m angry. I want to try and find out who it was. I got my uncle, my dad there, they’ve both passed away now, they want to go, they’re determined to go and sort it out and I’m saying no. The police and that asking me what’s what and I don’t know… I didn’t know who it was at that stage. And then it just got… and then I’ve got well just everything going on.


00:39:39.23 Frank Warren:

In the midst of that I’ve got like about 200 telegrams and letters and flowers are all come in from friends and people who you wouldn’t even expect. I mean, it was very, me I was very pleased, it was touching some of it that came in. I was quite shocked really. And that sort of lifted me quite a bit. And the fact was ten days later I was back at work. I’d lost about three stone and the press were camped outside my house and I thought the only way to get rid of that was to have a press conference, kill it, get rid of it which we did, and I was back at work. And I had no choice, I’m back at work, I was weak, I didn’t feel up to it but was trying to keep all the balls in the air and it was just… that was the crisis.


00:40:26.24 Frank Warren:

And I remember going into the arena, I remember ‘cos I ended up working there, people giving us a clap and all that. But you know it was all their jobs, it was everybody invested in it, our family money. And everything was just on a knife edge and the banks did pull away. The syndication of banks pulled out of it which was a big killer. What I should have done then, I should have with the benefit of hindsight, I should have put it into administration. But I held on for about a year and I shouldn’t have done that, I should have gone into administration and bought it back out and I could have done a deal with the banks, they needed us at the time we were putting the events on, we were delivering. We were going to have Pavarotti on, Frank Sinatra was due to play there. I mean, he got in touch, you know, are you okay? They all thought it wasn’t going to go ahead and I was like, no everything’s business as normal, we’re going to go on.


00:41:26.10 Andy Coulson:

You’re in your hospital bed, in your pyjamas, you’ve survived an attempt on your life, you’re fighting to save your business and you’re taking a call from Frank Sinatra?


00:41:39.14 Frank Warren:

Yeah, him and his people, yeah.


00:41:42.12 Andy Coulson:

Only Frank Warren. No one listening to this, please god, is going to face that kind of situation, right? But there are lots of people who face multi-faceted crisis in other ways. And it might be health plus, for a lot of people, a health crisis could easily lead to financial crisis that could impact their families essentially what you have described. What was your advice then, as someone who’s gone through and survived that, what’s your advice on how you approach a multi-faceted crisis like that, Frank?


00:42:25.14 Frank Warren:

It depends what sort of person you are really. I mean, you know, some of the stuff I did I shouldn’t have done. As I said with the benefit of hindsight I should have looked at going in a different direction. You’ve got to park your ego. I mean, London Arena was a success story but the only thing it couldn’t do, it was the debt that it had which was the problem. You’ve got to just be true to yourself but the most important thing is that you’ve got to make sure that your family are safe. Because that’s the most important thing. You’ve got to make sure that your family, you know, you’re protecting them, that they can, that you keep that unit together and you work hard to keep them as safe as possible from all the problems.


00:43:13.20 Andy Coulson:

Let’s just finish the Arena story because it sort of set off a chain of events as well, didn’t it? While you’re recovering from that night, as you just described it, it immediately led to problems for the Arena. That then leads to other problems that in turn leads to you sitting in a court room in May 2000, Southwark Crown Court, waiting for a verdict from your jury. Something that you and I both know what that feels like. You’ve been on trial for tax evasion, charges that you vehemently denied and defended yourself against very aggressively and very clearly. But you were prepared for the worst that day, in that moment that we both know what that feels like? You were prepared for the worst and just kind of because you’re in the hands of other people, how did that feel for you?


00:44:08.08 Frank Warren:

Well it’s out of your control isn’t it? But I’d much rather have been in their hands than in the hands of a judge. Because if it had been the judge I would have been gone, I know that. I done, you know, shared out my little holdall, which you know, preparing for the worst. But my dad and my uncle were in every day of the trail and my uncle said all the way through he said, not just to lift my spirits, he actually said, ‘This is ridiculous, don’t you worry, you’re out of this.’


00:44:41.14 Andy Coulson:

Yeah, but you were acquitted after twenty minutes?


00:44:43.09 Frank Warren:

Yeah, they went out for twenty minutes and that was it. And then they found the other guy guilty and I was not guilty. And they all come up to me the jury, as well, they all shook my hand. You know all these things going on relatively in a short space of time, you know, a few things going on. And it was very, it was quite a lot on our plate. But each time you recover from something then another thing hit me. But it was what it was.


00:45:12.09 Andy Coulson:

So we talked about your state of mind and how you’re handling it as it’s happening. Either one of those things that we’ve just discussed in isolation would have… most people would struggle to have coped with and you were able to deal with all of them. Layer after layer after layer. And not just deal with them, then emerge with this state of mind, do you know what, off we go again and bigger and better and we’re just going to go again, is that right? Now, where does that come from, Frank? So if we go right back to the beginning of your story where you’re this lad who just feels that he’s got this sense of urgency and this entrepreneurial spirit and a bit of ‘don’t you tell me what I can and can’t do in my life’, you’ve gone through this unbelievable set of experiences and that’s still the primary voice in your head?


00:46:14.18 Frank Warren:

I think it’s when I was a kid’ I was a skinny kid, I was like fag paper, there was nothing of me. And I remember having fights with big kids. If anyone bullied me I’d try and fight them back, by hook or by crook I’d have to, I can remember crying with temper if I couldn’t get them… and I suppose it’s something that I had inside me naturally I don’t know. But I don’t think about let’s get up and go on again, I just get on with it and I think I’ve been lucky with my family. You know Susan, my wife, and we’ve kept everything from the kids. The kids I mean, I don’t, I like to believe it’s a pretty normal life for them because we shielded them a lot from all the stuff that’s going down. But it’s just…


00:47:01.07 Andy Coulson:

Difficult to do when it’s so in the public eye, as you described.


00:47:03.17 Frank Warren:

Of course it’s horrible, it’s horrible. And other kids they read this stuff or whatever’s being said and they can be nasty, we all know that, to each other, that’s just how kids are sometimes. But it weren’t about, you know, I’m going to get up, I just was doing it anyway. I can remember whilst we were in court, I can remember lunchtimes, I would be, some lunchtimes, feller comes out of my office telling them what they’ve got to do. He said, ‘Right we’ve got a problem here’, or somethings happening, I said, ‘Let’s get on with it and do it’, when I get out of here I’ll ring up, ‘let’s deal with it this evening’ and so on. I can remember a few of those things going on. Because life has to go on. You’ve got to go on, life doesn’t just, you can’t let it just stop, you have to go on. You get so immersed in it and it’s not just the court case it’s all the stuff leading up to it. All the going into conferences and ringing around and that…


00:48:00.04 Andy Coulson:

That’s exactly right it’s all the stuff outside of it that’s just so exhausting.


00:48:05.00 Frank Warren:

And do you know what it all is, well it’s two things, it’s exhausting and it’s all negative. When it’s really right on you, sort of thing, for want of a better phrase, ‘it’s on yer’ I think that’s when I think I get a bit of clarity, real balance.


00:48:24.03 Andy Coulson:

That’s where that focus for you kind of kicks in. But what about when that adrenaline falls away? How do you manage that process? And have you had help with it? Have you kind of understood it better than you used to?


00:48:38.07 Frank Warren:

Yeah, I did, I did therapy for a few years and I did that and I don’t know if it helped. It helped me understand parts of me. You know, making me understand now why did I do that? I must be stupid, why did I…? And why did I say? And it made me think, it did help me in that way. But I had to stop because I’m quite an addictive personality, I get addicted to things, I’ll even finish a book, I’m stupid enough and addicted enough to read a book that I don’t like and I’ll finish it. Instead of saying why am I wasting my life on this, I’ll read it hoping it’ll get better or something. And I’m quite, I have that personality about things and I felt even with therapy I was just becoming a bit addicted and I just stopped it.


00:49:35.08 Andy Coulson:

Did you feel you got what you needed from it?


00:49:39.06 Frank Warren:

I think it helped me understand a few things. I mean, it wasn’t, it didn’t change my life but it changed, in some ways, how I thought and made me… I reflected on a lot of things and wished I’d done some things differently on a personal side of my life, I wished I’d have done things differently.


00:50:06.20 Andy Coulson:

You don’t talk about it, but I’m going to do it for you, you are a huge supporter of a number of charities. One cause is particularly cause to your heart, DEBRA, a brilliant charity that supports sufferers, usually children, of EB, a rare condition that causes the skin to blister and tear at the slightest touch. It’s a harrowing condition and you’ve raised vast sums in support of it. Have you found that perspective has been important to you in your own crises? That to cope with your problems you have to realise that others have it so much worse? DEBRA and the support in it are great examples of it. How important has perspective been to you?


00:50:51.05 Frank Warren:

Look, with DEBRA, it’s been very difficult, I have to say this, because I first got involved when there was a documentary called The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off and he died, I actually went to Downing Street to a function, that’s where I met him, he was a tremendous character, only a young lad. And he died on a train going home. It was awful and I got involved with the charity, I was asked to get involved. I got involved. And you meet the parents, you meet some of the children and I’ve got to tell you something, what we’ve all been through is nothing because nothing could be worse than looking, having your child being ill in any form, especially such a harrowing condition as EB.


00:51:49.02 Frank Warren:

It’s dreadful, it takes some of these youngsters two hours a day to get ready in the morning. You have to put the cream on their body, get them the same in the evening and so forth. So it’s just awful for the parents, can you imagine the pressure. Plus some of these youngsters, they lose their fingers, they blister, sometimes they blister from inside their mouths and so forth. So it’s just a dreadful thing and I think that from anyone’s had that, a court case some of the things that I’ve been through and what other people have been through, I think is nothing because if you’re doing that on a daily basis, fearing, hoping and praying that there’ll be some cure be found to help your child so that your child may live and have a life, it’s just awful.


00:52:39.23 Frank Warren:

And what will cure this is money, money will cure it. They keep throwing money at it, it will cure it, it doesn’t get any… at the time I got involved they got no help from the government or anything, all the money that was raised was raised from functions and charitable donations and some really good people.


00:52:57.14 Andy Coulson:

You’ve done an amazing job; I know you don’t talk about it but you’ve done an amazing job with them. You’ve also, you touched on it earlier right at the start of the conversation so I’ll mention it briefly but you’ve also had cause for perspective from a personal point of view with your brother, Mark, who as you mentioned earlier, very sadly took his own life. I don’t want to dwell on it. But when you sort of chart the crises in your life that’s another layer that most people would not have to cope with, loss in that sense. How did you manage that? How did you cope with that moment?


00:53:41.11 Frank Warren:

Oh, I mean, what happened was, I was in bed and Susan came up, she took the call and she said, ’It’s your brother’. And I thought it was my brother Robert, but it was Mark. And Mark had schizophrenia. He smoked a lot of weed when he was young. And that’s why I’m against legalising cannabis, I don’t know how anybody can support legalising it. It may help the police a bit but all it will do is create yet another epidemic, smoking that, if it don’t lead to something else it certainly affects the mind. And he was bad, it was just awful.


00:54:27.11 Frank Warren:

My dad was there and my mum had died and thankfully she wasn’t there when it happened. But my dad was there and we all went down; the police took us to a hotel which was nearby to tell us. We couldn’t… he jumped off of a fourth floor of the flats that he lived in. It’s just awful and I couldn’t… I can’t even explain how I felt at the time, it was just such a shock and it was awful. What I felt, I felt guilty. I felt guilty because I didn’t give him the time I should have given him. It was a horrible thing. you know when you’re…


00:55:09.13 Frank Warren:

I’m so busy most of the time but I get, if I got a phone call off him it always seemed a lot of the times I was with someone or I was in a meeting and I said ‘I’ll call you back’. Well, I did call him back and it was always much later and I think of those moments when I should have given him a bit of time. I don’t know if it would have made any difference. I helped him in other ways, obviously, you know he got treatment in the priory, we got him in there for a while and helped him out financially but sometimes it’s not about money, it’s about giving your time and I didn’t, to be honest I didn’t give him the time I should have done.


00:55:47.13 Andy Coulson:

If you don’t mind me saying, it’s probably not my place to say it, but I mentioned earlier that you’re a run into the fire friend, I have absolutely no doubt at all that you were a run into the fire brother. You know you were dealing with someone who very sadly had a whole range of different issues didn’t he? How’s it left you feeling about, you’ve mentioned your views on drugs, how’s it left you feeling more broadly on the conversations that’s going on around mental health now, that has changed pretty dramatically over the course of the last decade?


00:56:22.06 Andy Coulson:

We’re talking about these things much more openly now. We’re talking about them in a much more… this podcast is a tiny little example where we’re having a conversation that is hopefully going some way towards exploring some of these issues. You, presumably, think that’s a good thing? That that conversation should continue and there should be more of it?


00:56:42.11 Frank Warren:

Yeah, absolutely. Tyson Fury: it’s well documented his mental issues when he was taking drugs and so forth. It’s a terrible thing. And there are… a lot of it’s hidden away a lot of people don’t own up to it or admit that they have issues and problems. As for drugs, I mean, as you know, I like the finer things in life, you know a glass of wine and I like my food, I’ve never taken a drug, I’ve never done it. All my friends, all of my mates when I was young, all of them. You know in those days some of them were popping pills or taking sulphate and doing all the things that you…


00:57:26.20 Andy Coulson:

Is that because you were self-aware enough about your addictive personality?


00:57:31.16 Frank Warren:

Yeah, I didn’t like the idea, I never did it anyway. Never appealed to me at all and I’m pleased I never did it. And a lot of my mates, people I knew growing up, so many of them died through it. All of it starts with puffing, then went on to something else. And so many of them, not all of them, but probably fifteen or sixteen of the kids I grew up with, dead through drugs. Bad habits, you know, bad habits. So it’s an issue that we just don’t, I don’t know how we deal with it, I don’t know what you do.


00:58:15.12 Andy Coulson:

Start point has to be talking about it.


00:58:19.06 Frank Warren:

Everybody’s… but I think it touches everybody’s life. Everybody knows someone whose got a problem with a friend or a relative that stems from drug abuse.


00:58:32.12 Andy Coulson:

So we talked about perspective, we talked about family and the importance of Susan, your amazing wife and your kids. What about those other less, scientific coping mechanisms you mentioned it briefly there, but a good bottle of wine, a sense of humour. A love of music. There is no one that I have in my life, in any shape or form, who’s is able to steer me towards good music in the way that you can, for that sincere thanks. On the face of it superficial things? But they’re also, I mean, I joke about it, there were moments int eh middle of my mess that I’d get a WhatsApp message from you saying have a listen to this and it would be some fantastic cover version of a song you knew I love from the ’70s and it’s a tiny little thing and then for the next three and half, four minutes, I’ve got a smile on my face. Do you put proper store by those kind of things?


00:59:33.11 Frank Warren:

Yeah, absolutely I mean, I really do. You know I’m always going to concerts I love music. I do, I’m always looking for something, some old stuff that leads you onto new stuff and I just love my music. I just love, well I’m sixty-eight so I’m old…


01:00:03.22 Andy Coulson:

Not just the enjoyment but also the actual head space that it gives you, the kind of release.


01:00:09.15 Frank Warren:

Yeah, of course it does. I love it when I’m on my own in the car and I can put the music on and play it a little bit louder. You know sometimes I’m in on my own, I can blast it up, crank it up. You know I just love my…


01:00:26.07 Andy Coulson:

Well also we’ve got some examples of it during the course of this conversation, you know humour is clearly… you believe in the healing power of a sense of a humour. I don’t think we need to get that confirmed, it’s perfectly clear. What’s your view, Frank, just as we finish up, what’s your view of the government right now? How are you feeling? Because you’re a very astute political analyst, we’ve talked a lot about politics over the years, how are you feeling about our government’s performance right now?


01:01:10.15 Frank Warren:

How do I feel about the government? I remember being at a loss at the four nations. I thought we were one nation; I know we’re not but you know where is the fighting spirit that our dads and our grandfathers through two wars when we was one nation all pulling together? You know you’ve got up in Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, she’s got her lockdown. Then Boris is doing a different things, Wales is… I get worried about it and the message it sends out to everybody. And is it about scoring points rather than getting us, as Great Britain, I know some people don’t want to belong to Great Britain, but the ones that who instead of keeping us as a nation, keep that fighting spirit that gets us through.


01:01:55.22 Frank Warren:

I don’t like all the negativity. What I think the government has, what they set out to do and this happened back in March, was to ensure that the hospitals weren’t overwhelmed, that the NHS could cope. I think they’ve managed to do that. I’m sure there’s a lot of things they could have done better but it was a government who were elected on the strength of Brexit, I was a Remainer. But they were elected on the strength of Brexit, they weren’t the cabinet that was put in place wasn’t there put in place for a pandemic, that came out of left field didn’t it? And any country, as much as they say they’re prepared for it, Sweden has more than anybody because obviously they chose a different path than everyone else did by allowing people to still mix, but then again they’re not a densely populated country. Everybody looks like they’re going into some form of lockdown again.


01:02:55.18 Andy Coulson:

Where do you think the mindset of the average working man or woman in this country is right now?


01:03:01.13 Frank Warren:

I think they’re supportive. I think the average sensible person is supportive and would even go for a more stricter lockdown. I think they’re a bit more supportive.


01:03:14.18 Andy Coulson:

Now you were inaugurated into the Boxing Hall of Fame in June 2008, big day for you and the family but no gong as yet, Frank. Truth is there haven’t been many awards given to boxers over the years, never mind promoters. Only one knight, Sir Henry Cooper. My view, we touched on this earlier, in terms of the sort of political attitude towards boxing, my view having been inside for a brief while, I’m referring to Downing Street by the way, is that there’s a prejudice against boxing.


01:03:55.11 Andy Coulson:

Now, as an Arsenal fan this will hurt you, Frank, you are the Alex Ferguson, the Sir Alex Ferguson of boxing and just of deserving of a Knighthood in my view. So I’m not asking you r to respond but you just need to know that the campaign starts here. Frank Warren, thank you so much for your time and your wisdom today I really appreciate it. Before you, as we do with all our guests, I’m going to ask you for your three crisis cures. So as you know these are three things, can’t be another person, can’t be a process, we’ve covered that during the course of the conversation, but three things that you’ve always turned to in the more difficult moments.


01:04:40.18 Frank Warren:

To be home, to be in my house, to be home. A bit like Desert Island Discs I think I would have a photo album of my family, all my family because that’s, for me, is what drives me, is them. And my music.


01:05:05.14 Andy Coulson:

Give me a track. I know you’ve done Desert Island Discs and I know that you came away thinking, oh god, I wish I could do that again and make some other choices. I’m only going to give you one, I’m sorry.


01:05:19.12 Frank Warren:

No, it’s a funny thing, I’ve got so many… it depends what mood I’m in for music but I suppose what would I…?


01:05:32.12 Andy Coulson:

Okay, you’re fed up, you’re driving home and you’re going to put a bit of music on in the car, what’s the track that is guaranteed to lift your mood?


01:05:44.05 Frank Warren:

I’ll tell you what lifts my mood every time I hear it, is The Temptations The Way You Do The Things You Do.


01:05:50.03 Andy Coulson:

Great tune. I knew you’d pick a good ‘un.


01:05:52.23 Frank Warren:

You thought I was going to say a Sinatra one didn’t you?


01:05:57.11 Andy Coulson:

Frank, that’s fantastic, thanks so much for giving us so much time and being just so brilliant. I really appreciate it.


01:06:07.01 Frank Warren:

Pleasure mate, as always for you, you know that.


01:06:10.11 Andy Coulson:

Speak soon.


01:06:11.00 Frank Warren:



01:06:12.02 Andy Coulson:

Thanks for listening to Crisis What Crisis? Do feel free to send us your feedback, you’ll find our contact details and our show notes giving you the key insights from our guests at There are more useful conversations on the way so please do subscribe and if you like what you hear give us a rating and a review, it really helps, thanks again.




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