MIKE Sweeney, the radio voice of several generations, is celebrating his 70th birthday… but has no plans of retiring.
Mike, who lives in Dobcross, is mid-morning presenter at BBC Radio Manchester and has grown a substantial audience since joining the station four years ago.
He celebrated his birthday with family and friends at Dobcross Band Club and later at a special football match with Paul Scholes, Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester’s Mayor, and Peter Reid among the stars who lined up at Trafford FC.
Keen footballer Mike said: “I’ve never stopped training since the 80s. I’ve trained every single week, and I still play for the Chadderton All Stars.”
And he declared: “I think the way I feel now I’d like to be broadcasting certainly another five or 10 years. I am having the time of my life.
“When I was at Piccadilly Radio years back it was like being a pop star, but really, looking at what I do now, this is the most exciting part of my career.
“These last four years at the BBC I’ve moved from being a disc jockey to a broadcaster.”
He added: “I’ve been in bands since the summer of ‘65 so that’s over 52 years, and in every single year I’ve been in entertainment.”
When asked to describe his distinctive voice, he said: ”Maybe it’s more like the sound of treacle being poured, or something…I don’t know!
“But people just find it apparently really pleasant to listen to and trustworthy. It’s that whole northern thing, isn’t it? We are often seen as being straightforward and honest.
“People trust me I suppose, initially because how I sound.
“I’ve stayed the same as I am on radio as when I’m in Tesco or putting the bin out!”
Reflecting on his early life he declared: “It’s been great since I was 30, but before that I didn’t have two ha’pennys to rub together for a penny.
“I was always told I would never amount to anything by teachers and contemporaries. I was always told I was too loud, too scruffy, couldn’t sing, couldn’t do this, couldn’t do that — talks too much: that was on my school report.
“My biography comes out next year appropriately called ‘Who you looking at?’ I wrote the song with that title, but the subtitle could be ‘could do better talks too much…’
“I’ve always looked a bit like a club doorman with a broken nose or an ex boxer, but I’m quite happy with that, I don’t mind how I look.
“I don’t look ancient…I look like an older guy but I don’t look old. I’m fit and strong.”
Mike lives in Dobcross with his wife Viv, who he calls “my soulmate” and daughter Niamh, who is “incredible”.
“I’ve got a gorgeous house here, the best thing I ever did was move here,” he said.
But he added: “I’d love it if Dobcross was a seaside village so just down the hill where the band club is you go down and the sea would be there and the beach.
“But that’s it…this place is amazing.”