3 May 2024


by Kirsty Starmer

DJ Jamie Anne has a very different view of the matches she attends today compared to those she attended as a child. 

Back then, it was the view from her dad's season ticket seats at St James' Park. Nowadays, and for the past six years, the view has been from her DJ platform in stadiums worldwide.

What hasn’t changed is her passion for the game.

From the moment she could walk, Jamie Anne's dad – a Toon Army devotee – had her kicking a ball, and as she got older, her weekends remained filled with all things football. On Saturdays, there were matches – at the stadium or pub. And on Sundays, Jamie Anne would play a game herself and come home to watch football on the TV. "That was my Sunday: football, football, football, my mam’s famous Sunday roast, maybe a nap, more football. I just loved those times."

Working in sport was all Jamie Anne had ever wanted to do, so a degree in sports psychology at Liverpool John Moores followed. And the degree did, ultimately, significantly impact the direction her career took, but perhaps not in the way she expected.


Finding a groove

When her dissertation became more stressful and tedious than fun and engaging, Jamie Anne looked for something to inspire and distract her. Music – a constant in her home growing up – and festivals had always been passions, so DJing seemed an obvious fit as a creative, hands-on hobby. Her parents weren’t so convinced, nervous of the seemingly rock and roll lifestyle that DJing would expose her to, but she went for it anyway. Little did she, or they, know where it would take her – to discover a new passion and career, meet her future husband, her then teacher Mark Bradbury, and another way of being involved in the sport she loves.

Jamie Anne’s first gig was at Sankey’s nightclub in Manchester. Then followed events and other opportunities at bars and restaurants. All of this allowed Jamie Anne to practise her craft and showcase her talent at a time when female DJs were still a rare sight.  

"Back in the day, I got loads of work in bars and clubs because I was female. However you view it, the clubs wanted female DJs because it brought more men into the venues and kept them there. We were more eye-catching. But talent overrides all of that in the end."

And then came her breakthrough into sports DJing. A one-off request from a friend to cover at a Manchester City game turned into a regular thing. And she hasn't looked back. It's given her whole family a new perspective on City as a club. 

"I'm now a secret City supporter. I love everyone there," she says, "My husband's a United fan. But he’s seen everything the club does for the community and the progression I've had there, and he’s even taught DJing to some real Man City legends, too, so we’re both part of the club family, which is brilliant."


Jamie Anne photographed side on while standing at the decks, with a dark night-time background and one hand extended forward to the mixing desk. She's dressed in a black woolly hat and jacket with a light blue and white Manchester City scarf

One significant advantage of her role at City has been seeing first-hand the progress made in women's football. "It's such a different world – for the better – now. I would have done anything to see women play, to watch women's football on TV and for my dad to take us to those matches. There's so much inspiration there, and the players are accessible, unlike in the men’s game where there’s a much greater divide."

Reflecting on her experience of meeting Dame Kelly Holmes as a sporty, football-mad girl and the impact that speaking to such an incredible athlete had on her, Jamie Anne is inspired by the great job she sees female professionals doing for the next generation of players. 

"The players themselves are so young," she says, "but they hold themselves so well. They’re respected for much more than how they play football too: considering the media attention they get, they deal with everything brilliantly and are lovely to everyone."

And it’s an ethos and sign of change that extends beyond the pitch at City, too. Aside from the two female DJs (of which she is one), women are represented in every department at Man City – from female camera operators to photographers to security officials and everything in between. "I've had moments recently where I'm watching women in sport on TV – presenters or commentators or the players themselves – and I'm just thinking 'this is brilliant!' I never saw this when I was younger!"

With only Annie Mac and Sam Devine being visible female DJs when Jamie Anne was starting out, she’s passionate about making sure she’s a role model for future generations from her DJ platform, too. 

"If I see a girl, especially a young girl, at a match, wanting to try headphones on, or just watching me for ages," she says, "I'll always try to get them involved – by putting on the headphones or coming over to dance. It's great to see girls enjoying themselves and being inspired by other women doing work they love." 

While Jamie Anne can sometimes feel like no one sees her in the stadium, that she’s a "tiny dot in a vast space", her presence, and that of others like her, seems to be doing the job. Girls as young as five have been attending lessons at Jamie Anne’s husband’s school, Make Me A DJ. The future of female DJing looks very bright. 


Moments to treasure

But that’s not to say it’s an easy or obvious path for anyone who wants to follow in her footsteps. Jamie Anne exudes an immense sense of gratitude and determination. 

"I never thought I'd be a DJ. I definitely never thought I'd be able to link football and music. And every time I'm there, in the stadium, I can't help but think how unbelievable it is. How am I doing this?" She continues: "I can literally feel physically sick before DJing because I get so nervous. But I’ll still say yes to it because I’m just stubborn like that. And I know in my head it’ll be worth it."

She may call it stubbornness. The rest of us would call it grit or fight. 

As a result, it’s fair to say that Jamie Anne has collected quite a few 'pinch me' moments in her football DJing career. Besides playing sets at men's and women's games for Man City for the past six seasons, she had two particularly memorable opportunities outside of Manchester in 2023.

In June last year, at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Jamie Anne was there DJing for Man City's 1-0 win over Inter Milan in the Champions League final, an experience, she says, is up there with one of the best days of her life from every conceivable angle.

Two months earlier, Jamie Anne DJed at the first-ever Women's Finalissima – an intercontinental women's football match that saw the winners of the most recent European and South American championships – England and Brazil, respectively – go head to head. Tens of thousands of people were there, and there was so much going on, but Jamie Anne had to stay switched on to catch what was happening and time the music with the activities on the pitch. "You don't know when the players will run out of the tunnel, when their warm-up is, or what it consists of. But if you catch those moments with the right music, the crowd cheers, and everyone's in that moment. It's just one of the best feelings in the world!"


Soundtrack to lives

But what does it take to pick the right music for those memory-forming, experience-making moments? Where does that inspiration come from?

"This is going to sound crazy, but I always go back to sports day at school. We used to go to Gateshead [International] Stadium, and I don’t know who did the music, but it was like sports and music were linked, and I don’t know why. But it created such a good feeling – almost euphoric."

And that’s the key: understanding your audience and knowing what makes them tick, what will make them dance, sing, get excited, build tension, release tension, and even know what works across multiple generations.

"Many people wouldn't go to these events and think about the music being played. But the feelings would be there – the music works like a soundtrack in a film, helping them feel happier or more excited and passionate about what's happening. The only constant is to keep the tracks moving, keeping them short and sweet so there’s always new music coming in."


Jamie Anne is positioned to the left, wearing headphones and working the decks. To her right is a saxophonist. Behind them is an industrial concrete wall with signage reading UPFRONT & Centre MANCHESTER

The venue and the type of game constantly change the brief. At City, she looks to keep up with the latest football chant for Kevin de Bruyne, be curious about the chart favourites of the younger women’s game audience, get to grips with the top tunes being played in Manchester’s pubs and clubs for the men’s games, or find some new edits for Manchester-origin classics that give the more mature audience members something to move to. 

At Wembley, old-school remixes of artists like ABBA are singalong favourites for younger kids and grandparents. And there are some songs like 'Sweet Caroline' or 'Freed from Desire' that Jamie Anne knows a crowd finds irresistible. "Everyone's up on their feet – everyone's excited. It doesn't matter if they've heard it a million times; you know it will get them off their seats." 

And that's what it's all about – creating moments for everyone involved. 



Where there are highs, there are also lows. And as much as DJing for sport is Jamie Anne's dream job, it can be isolating too. The antisocial hours mean that, at times, she doesn’t get to meet many people outside of her job or catch up with friends.

And so, for Jamie Anne, finding other women in football has provided an actual missing link in her life – finding others who love football, who have a passion for the sport, and who might also want to run around a pitch for 90 minutes and then dress up to go out. 

Even when things don’t go according to plan in the stadium, it’s the camaraderie brings everyone together. "We’ve got a great team that comes together, and we always have a good laugh. I love the hectic nature of it all. People might not think about the team behind everything – making sure the equipment doesn’t get wet or blown away or the person building a marquee around you. We all just put our hoods on, get our heads down, and crack on."

Being involved with Manchester City, playing in a seven-a-side team, and coming across Women in Football, has been a revelation for Jamie Anne. It has enabled her to network with different women in different ways, with that one common thread at the heart of it all. 

And it’s not just the connection with others; she’s also been able to reconnect with herself and the hopes and dreams she had when she was younger.

"I think young Jamie Anne would look at me now and think, 'You've smashed it!' Yeah, she'd be pretty proud. Many people who knew me growing up wouldn't have thought I'd end up here. I wasn't that confident, but I always made sure I tried everything. And that's what's got me here."

Jamie Anne wants big things for women's football. She wants the momentum of progress to continue. She wants more dedicated stadiums to be built and women's football to have a world of its own. She wants women’s football to thrive in its own right, distinct from and incomparable to men's football.

And she would love to play a part in all of that from her DJ platform. But the music and sport industries change constantly, so, ever the pragmatist, she’s sticking to what’s worked so far for her.

"Keep saying yes to everything, keep working hard, keep being lovely to everyone, and see where it can go. As long as I can stay involved with music and sport, I will do."

Kirsty Starmer is a freelance journalist, ghost writer and copy writer. FInd out more and connect through Kirsty's LinkedIn profile.

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