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"The media saved my life" - George Hook

The pundit, who retired from television rugby analysis on Saturday, has been speaking about what retirement has in store for him.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

GEORGE HOOK HAS been speaking today about how his media work ‘saved his life’.

The notoriously contrary rugby pundit and media personality was Brendan O’Connor’s guest of honour on the John Murray show this morning on RTE radio following his retirement from rugby punditry after Ireland’s Six-Nations victory on Saturday.

When asked by O’Connor about whether he felt his TV work had been the turning point for him, the 73-year-old replied, “Of course, it saved my life.”

Hook came to the media quite late (in his early fifties) having been a businessman for many years, and not always a successful one (O’Connor went so far as to describe him as being ‘a waster’ for the first two thirds of his life).

When I got a call from RTE 20 years ago to do a match, the only other phone calls I was getting at the time were Irish Permanent wanting me in the High Court. My wife didn’t want me back any more, I had 11 banks daily saying ‘what about the money you owe us’.
But if I’m proud of one thing I’m proud I took the opportunity RTE gave me, and my kids are proud too. I never thought I’d have a pension, paying for groceries would be the maximum, so the prospect of a pension is extraordinary.

When asked about the low-key nature of his retirement, Cork native Hook was at pains to play down the significance of his leaving.

hook pope Hook and fellow RTE pundit Brent Pope on set Source: RTE

“At the end of the day it’s a TV guy going, not the Taoiseach,” he said.

I had Mark McKenna (RTE producer) put up against a wall and said ‘if there’s a big fandango your head is coming off’.

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Hook maintains that his decision won’t be reversed. Although gone from our rugby screens, he’ll continue on his Newstalk radio show The Right Hook for the immediate future.

If you take a decision to retire and then you don’t, well then that’s some bad decision.
I worked it out two years ago and I’m utterly happy about it. I told my son George Jr., I’ll be really pissed off if I die before my new life plan has a chance to take place.

When asked what his plans are he said he wanted ‘to give something back to young people’s rugby’.

My wife has told me though, if I think I’m coming home for lunch I’m very much mistaken.
But look life in the media is very rewarding, it’s well paid, you have a public image, but it’s terribly demanding.
I’ve been working seven days a week for the last 20 years, now it’s time for a break.

Read: Happy retirement! Here are 12 of our favourite George Hook quotes

Read: How George Hook are you?

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