How Laura 'Woodsy' Woods became the gem in TalkSport's crown

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  • How Laura 'Woodsy' Woods became the gem in TalkSport's crown
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    As Laura Woods announced she was stepping down from talkSPORT’s breakfast show in two weeks after three years at the helm, she told listeners she was going to take some time out before deciding what was next in store – and for fans who have watched her meteoric rise, they’re sure it’ll be something huge.

    The 35-year-old presenter, born in Epping but raised in Surrey in a family of avid Arsenal fans, has risen to astounding heights since her first job as a runner in 2009 – and she shows no sign of stopping as she is already tipped to be joining newly launched TNT Sport.

    From presenting the 6am-10am weekday Breakfast Show with footballing legend Ally McCoist, to landing a top presenting role with ITV sport for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, she has gone from strength to strength and is now a household name for sports fans across the UK.

    During her 14-year career Laura has worked on sports including football, darts and boxing – and set tongues wagging earlier this year after a flirty exchange with Anthony Joshua following his win over Jermaine Franklin.

    As she has amassed an enormous fan base (she has just shy of 700,000 Instagram followers), Laura Woods, affectionately termed ‘Woodsy’, has also been praised for transforming talkSPORT from a laddish environment and bringing a cohort of female listeners to the station.

    Laura 'Woodsy' Woods, 35, from Surrey, announced this morning she is stepping down from talkSPORT's Breakfast Show after three years at the helm

    Laura 'Woodsy' Woods, 35, from Surrey, announced this morning she is stepping down from talkSPORT's Breakfast Show after three years at the helm

    Laura ‘Woodsy’ Woods, 35, from Surrey, announced this morning she is stepping down from talkSPORT’s Breakfast Show after three years at the helm

    Announcing this morning that her last day will be Wednesday, June 28, Laura listed the phenomenal achievements of the Breakfast show, as McCoist said the pair will be ‘pals forever’.

    But hard-working Laura has previously surprised her fans by revealing that she was actually in trouble a lot at school, and was even suspended on one occasion for repeatedly misbehaving. 

    Appearing on the Happy Hour podcast in April, she said it was a variety of rule breaking that led to her being given a suspension. 

    She said: ‘I got suspended [at school] for a combination of lots of naughty things.

    ‘I climbed out of a window, but it was on the ground level.

    I climbed out of the window, I don’t know why.

    ‘I climbed out the window during Spanish class, they closed the window behind me and then I would wave to my teacher through the window.

    ‘But I’d do it without her noticing.
    That was the crux of it, like get out before she notices.

    ‘And that got me in a lot of trouble, just generally being like, fairly naughty in general.’

    The star also recalled how she got in big trouble for going into the boys’ toilets, saying: ‘We went into the boys’ toilet, and that was apparently really naughty as well.

    ‘So those were all kind of strikes that led up to me being suspended.’

    It was perhaps no surprise that Laura was a daring child, as she had been a keen rugby player from the age of seven after joining the same team as her two older brothers – and was the only girl in the squad. 

    She told the Mail on Sunday: ‘I loved the physical side.

    Tackling was my favourite part. I was a rough-and-tumble kind of kid. I was used to fighting with my brothers. I got the best player award when I was nine and it was the best thing ever.’ 

    The glamorous presenter has many achievements to her name, including a total of three awards for the breakfast show

    The glamorous presenter has many achievements to her name, including a total of three awards for the breakfast show

    The glamorous presenter has many achievements to her name, including a total of three awards for the breakfast show

    Laura (pictured) recently revealed she was 'really naughty' at school and was suspended after repeated instances of bad behaviour

    Laura (pictured) recently revealed she was 'really naughty' at school and was suspended after repeated instances of bad behaviour

    Laura (pictured) recently revealed she was ‘really naughty’ at school and was suspended after repeated instances of bad behaviour 

    Earlier this year Laura set tongues wagging after a flirty interview with heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua

    Earlier this year Laura set tongues wagging after a flirty interview with heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua

    Earlier this year Laura set tongues wagging after a flirty interview with heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua 

    Luckily, Laura appeared to grow out of her ‘naughty’ phase and went to Kingston University to study print journalism, from which she graduated in 2009.

    Straight out of uni, she bagged a job at Sky Sports where she was a runner, the beginning of her career to become the face of many sporting programmes.

    She became a Sky Sports editorial assistant, then assistant producer, associate producer and finally a producer.

    Laura went from behind the camera to presenting in front of it when she started doing the broadcaster’s behind-the-scenes interviews for Darts coverage on their YouTube channel.

    She then got a job on Sky’s Game Changers, a Saturday morning children’s show.

    From that point on, she began reporting from NFL games and then became part of the online presenting team for Sky Sports’ Soccer AM, leading her to broadcast live on Facebook every day from the Euro 2016 competition from France.

    Laura, pictured with her cohost Ally McCoist, thanked him for his friendship and support as she announced she was leaving the show

    Laura, pictured with her cohost Ally McCoist, thanked him for his friendship and support as she announced she was leaving the show

    Laura, pictured with her cohost Ally McCoist, thanked him for his friendship and support as she announced she was leaving the show

    Just two years later Laura was a pitch side reporter on Super Sunday, where she was often alongside sports pundit and former Manchester United footballer Gary Neville.

    Alongside a hugely successful television career, Laura took over from Alan Brazil as a lead presenter on talkSPORT’s Breakfast show in April 2020 – which had previously been an environment dominated by men.

    Brazil himself had been involved in a sexism scandal on the show when, in 2014, while discussing the appointment of a female boss to French Ligue 2 club Clermont Foot.

    After ruminating about the role of women in sport and female sports fans, Brazil said: ‘It makes me cringe when female commentators get players’ names wrong.’

    The comment sparked fury among many listeners, forcing talkSPORT to issue a statement which read: ‘Alan’s views do not reflect those of the station. We would like to apologise for any offence caused.’

    Undeterred by such comments, Laura joined talkSPORT in 2017 and presented a 30-minute segment on Brazil’s Breakfast Show, before taking over from him three years later.

    Her appointment brought with it hope that she would bring in a new demographic of listeners.

    She said at the time: ‘I find talking to men as easy as talking to women.

    ‘But I feel proud I can resonate with a female audience too. There is this massive assumption talkSPORT is just for men. I want people to be able to think: ‘I don’t have to be a man to listen to this.’ Because you don’t have to be a man to enjoy sport.
    talkSPORT is a conversation for everybody.’

    The fiery presenter has also spoken out about sexist trolling she receives online due to her work – but she is known for her witty put-downs to anyone who dares challenge her.

    After posting a photo of herself online interviewing Gianfranco Zola, a troll asked her when she was going to join a porn site.

    Laura quickly hit back: ‘When your mum makes space for the rest of us.’

    After the announcement of her talkSPORT gig, she said: ‘If I put a picture up on Twitter because I think it illustrates a point or it’s something I’m doing, people say I’m begging for attention.

    ‘Even when I got this job, people said I had got it because of the way I look.

    That makes me laugh. This is radio. How I look is irrelevant.’

    Just a year into the job, she proved it was her talent, witty humour and detailed knowledge of sport that landed her the role, as the show won a Best Speech Breakfast Show award at the ARIAS in 2021.

    As for her love life, Laura has only been public about one relationship – Alex Corbisiero, who she dated for eight years.

    Speaking to <a style="font-weight: bold;" class="class" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank" website Sun in June 2020, Laura detailed: ‘My last relationship was eight years and I was nearing 30 when we broke up.

    It was my decision – it was the right one and I’ve never regretted it.

    ‘We’d lived in each other’s pockets and breaking up with him felt like coming up for air. The next thing for us was probably marriage and having kids.
    And I do want that one day – I love being in love and I love kids. But I’ve prioritised work because I love that too and my ambitions are important to me.’

    She added that she ‘won’t settle’ and she will ‘wait for the right guy’, but also admitted that she ‘puts work first too much’, which gets in the way of her love life.

    Laura continued: ‘I don’t use internet dating sites.

    I hate being set up and I’m quite fussy – if I’m not in control I don’t like it! I’d rather meet someone organically in the pub. I don’t believe in forcing anything. I’ll know when it happens and until then it’s not an area of my life I feel like I’m missing out on.’

    However, the rumour mill was set off back in April when she sat down with heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua following his win over Jermaine Franklin.

    In a segment for IFL TV, she asked the champion what he thought of her career and the two-time world champion replied: ‘I think it’s blossomed amazingly, just like you.’

    Responding to his cheeky quip, Laura asked AJ how many times he’d been hit on the head.

    Later in the interview, Joshua replied ‘you’ when questioned on his dream date, at which point Woods punched the air and told him ‘this is perfect!’.

    AJ then joked about how Ruben Loftus-Cheek had ‘beaten him to it’ after the Chelsea midfielder named Woods as his dream crush in a recent talkSPORT interview.

    Both parties confirmed they were not in relationships after Joshua asked ‘are you taken?’, before the host dealt him a blow bigger than any Franklin could muster as she admitted to being ‘too focused on work’ to date.

    Announcing this morning that she was leaving her role on the talkSPORT Breakfast Show, Laura thanked Ally McCoist and her other co-presenter Gabby Agbonlahor for their support and friendship.

    She said: ‘Three years as the host of this amazing breakfast show, three bits of silverware for the trophy cabinet and record listening figures.

    I’m very proud of what we achieved here. One thing’s for sure: I will always be part of this family at talkSPORT.’

    She continued: ‘I’m going to have a holiday, a long sleep, and I’ll make a decision about what is next for me.’