With the World Cup well and truly under way in Russia, Hayley McQueen has been at the heart of the action as England geared up to cheer on its team. The newly-engaged Sky Sports presenter flew out to St Petersburg to follow the developments of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Raheem Sterling and the rest of the 23-man squad for what could be the biggest tournament of their careers - and possibly Hayley's, too.
Hayley McQueen is engaged to Kirk Newmann
As one of the few women with a role in the competition, the 38-year-old Manchester-born presenter could be forgiven for feeling a little nervous. But she is taking it all in her stride. "I'm going to be the only woman out there for Sky Sports but to be honest, that's never been a problem for me," she told HELLO! in an interview with her German-born actor and model fiancé Kirk Newmann. "I've known [England manager] Gareth Southgate for a really long time and I've hosted lots of events for the FA so we have a great relationship. It helps when I'm trying to bring the viewers all the behind-the-scenes from the England games. In fact, all the guys are great with me."
Hayley has known several of players for many years before they were huge stars, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo among them. "He is always so lovely to me," she said of the Real Madrid star. "Whenever it was my birthday, he always made a point of coming over to congratulate me and always asks what I've been up to." The presenter has football in the blood; her father is Scottish and Manchester United football legend Gordon McQueen, who would take her to games as a little girl. "So I think people respect my knowledge," she confessed.
The couple met on Tinder
However, while most men would love a girlfriend so in love with football, her fiancé, Kirk Newmann, couldn't be less interested in the game. "We went on holiday and I was desperately trying to find a TV to watch the Champions League final," Hayley revealed. "He couldn't understand why I was getting stressed as I tried to get reception on my phone to find out the result." Agreeing with her, Kirk replied: "It's just not my thing. She watches football and I like to cook." Hayley, meanwhile, added: "It's actually quite refreshing to come home and speak to someone who doesn't want to talk about football. It's what attracted me to him in the first place."
Kirk proposed during a visit to Scotland's Dunnottar Castle in May, after three years of dating. "I hadn't been expecting it at all," Hayley revealed. "It was very special. I was totally in shock. I had been presenting for Sky Sports in Scotland and had a few days off in between matches. Kirk had never been to Scotland so we hired a car and drove around the coast to Dunnottar Castle. We climbed down the cliff to the beach and he was telling me to take a moment to look up at the castle and the sea and how beautiful it all was. Then he got down on one knee and pulled out this ring and said 'Will you marry me, my love?' My reaction was pure shock. I had absolutely no idea."
Traditionalist Kirk had been planning the special moment for more than five months, asking her dad for his blessing at Christmas and then drafting in her mum Yvonne to help design the ring. "I knew Hayley was the woman I wanted to marry quite soon after meeting her," he said. "She's the most amazing, thoughtful, caring person I've ever met and really hard working. I had always planned to take her back to her roots and propose to my queen outside a castle. I'm glad I surprised her." After meeting on dating app Tinder, the couple knew quite quickly that they had found 'the one'. "We always said we wouldn't tell people that we met on Tinder," Hayley joked, also adding: "I said: 'I'm going to find the man of my dreams,' and was only on it for two weeks when I met Kirk." She continued: "I wanted to meet someone who had nothing to do with football or the industry I worked in. We clicked pretty much after a few messages. He is very old-fashioned with an old soul.
I loved that."
As for the wedding, she'd like to have a boho-style ceremony in the South of France in the summer next year, but needs to get the World Cup out of the way first. But one question remains: with her Celtic heritage and English home, who will she be supporting? "My dad played for Scotland, but I was born in England so I feel like they are my team," she admitted. "I think England have a good chance this year." As for Kirk, "I'm more of a boxing fan," he said. "I'm just looking forward to seeing
Hayley when she gets home."