Updated: Sunday, 20th October 2019 @ 6:24am

Changing times: Five Mancunians who took the plunge to change their lives

Changing times: Five Mancunians who took the plunge to change their lives

by Steven Chicken

FOOTBALLER Gary Montgomery's career change is reminiscent of other Mancunians who opted for a switch

GARY MONTGOMERY has made headlines in the sports pages this week after swapping his goalie gloves for a cricket bat. The former Premier League goalkeeper has signed for a famous Old Trafford outfit - but this time it's not football.

The 26-year-old has signed a one-year contract with Lancashire Cricket Cub  after being forced to quit football due to injuries. Let's hope his career change will prove as successful as those made by some of Manchester’s famous sons, such as:



Don Arden was born in Cheetham Hill in 1926, though he was then known as Harry Levy. After fighting in the Second World War, he attempted to start a career in showbusiness, touring as a stand-up comic and impressionist.

In the late 1950s, Arden realised there was much more money to be had booking talent rather than trying to take centre stage himself, so he switched career paths to become an agent.

The change proved prudent. He started out managing Gene Vincent, and went on to manage Small Faces, the Electric Light Orchestra, and rocker Ozzy Osbourne, who married his daughter Sharon in 1982.



Anthony Burgess was born into a poor family in Harpurhey in 1917. In his early teens he decided he wanted to be a composer, but Manchester University’s music department soon put the dmapeners on that by denying him entry.

Instead, he studied English and became a teacher, but music remained his passion. He wrote operas and operettas extensively throughout his life -though none of them brought him much success.

When he was diagnosed with what he was told was an inoperable brain tumour in the early 1960s, he concentrated his efforts on writing novels in order to build an inheritance for his wife. One such book was the modern classic A Clockwork Orange.



Francis Lee was born in Westhoughton in 1944 and made his name playing for Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City and Derby County.

The England international remains a legend at Manchester City, scoring 112 goals in 248 appearances during his seven years at the club, and he proved just as proficient in the world of business.

After quitting football in 1976, Lee went into the paper recycling business, making millions as the founder of F.H. Lee Ltd.

In 1994 he made the True Blue dream a reality and bought Manchester City.



Karl Pilkington was born in Manchester in 1972 and, following a bizarre childhood featuring a pet magpie called Maggie, got into the radio business through hospital radio.

From there, Karl found his way to Xfm in London, where he landed a job as a producer, working with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant on their Saturday radio show.

Eventually Pilkington became the driving force of the show, thanks to frequent uttered inanities such as “I don’t like fun,” leading Gervais to proclaim “This should be called the Karl Pilkington show.”

The “shaven monkey with a head like an orange” has become a worldwide sensation thanks to the success of the Ricky Gervais podcast. He has now retired from radio production and has written three books. He has had short films and an entire encyclopedia dedicated to him.