How area manager Mike found his ‘forever home’
Wetherspoon’s area manager (Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire) Mike Morrissey had a huge surprise when he arrived at The Friar Penketh (Warrington) during his pub visits.
Friends, family and colleagues had gathered to surprise Mike and to mark his 25th anniversary with Wetherspoon.
Mike recalled: “I don’t usually like surprises, but that was a really fantastic day. So many people were there to celebrate, and I was presented with a cake, as well as Robbie Fowler’s signed and framed Liverpool Football Club shirt, which is a bit special.”
Liverpool-born Mike joined Wetherspoon in October 1996 at the age of 21, with previous experience in the pub industry across the northwest with Allied Domecq.
His first post with Wetherspoon was as assistant manager of The Lamb (Edmonton) (now sold).
Mike laughed: “I remember asking my dad: ‘Where is Edmonton? He said: ‘In Canada!’ I received the phone call on the Friday and started at the pub, which turned out to be in north London, on the Tuesday. Wetherspoon was quite a London-centric company then, so I knew I would have to move south, but my brother lived in London, so I wasn’t completely on my own.”
After under a year at The Lamb, Mike gained further experience with relief manager roles at pubs in Stoke Newington and Camden, before seeing a vacancy which would take him back to the northwest. Mike confirmed: “I successfully applied for a shift manager position at the newly opened The J. P. Joule (Sale). I had met my wife-to-be Christine while she was working at The Moon Under Water (Manchester), along with fellow shift manager Ged Murphy (now general manager), and the three of us opened The J. P. Joule. Christine and I were shift managers there, with Ged as pub manager.”
Mike had a further move to Hoylake Lights (Hoylake) before successfully applying, in July 1998, for his first pub manager position at Wetherspoons (Chester), now called The Square Bottle. Mike and Christine managed that pub together for five years.
Subsequent moves to The Seven Stars (Manchester), The Brass Balance (Birkenhead) and The Ferry Boat (Runcorn) all followed, before Mike became an area manager in 2011. He said: “I spent the first 18 months working on an IT project, before taking on the role of area manager for Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire which, over a decade on, is still my role.”
Mike continued: “I have been in the industry for a long time now and enjoy so much what I do, although, when I first joined, I never contemplated it being a lengthy career.
“I guess things ‘clicked’ for me when I became pub manager at Chester, when Christine and I had our first daughter and I had ‘grown up’. I realised, then, that it was a job for life and that I had found my forever home with Wetherspoon.”
Mike has been joined at the company, along the way, by several members of his family. His wife Christine Mooney now works nationally as a Wetherspoon trainer, while their daughters Emily (shift manager) and Ellie (team leader) both work at The North Western (Liverpool). Mike’s dad, John, worked with him at The Ferry Boat (Runcorn) from summer 2007, but is now a team leader at The Premier (Widnes), aged 81 years young.
Christine’s son, Conor Mooney, worked in pubs across Liverpool – and Mike’s brother, John, was a shift manager in the northwest, although both have now left the company.
Mike said: “Wetherspoon has afforded me some massive opportunities and to do so many different things over the years. It has been a great career.
“I am happy in my role, but would always look at further opportunities in the company, if they came up.”
He added: “Like any job, it has its challenging days, yet I have genuinely never got up in the morning and not wanted to go to work. That has a lot to do with the fantastic people I work with, particularly Ged, a great friend and colleague for the past 24 years.
“I could easily name 25 colleagues who have worked for Wetherspoon for 15–20 years – and not many pub companies can say that.”
Mike concluded: “The industry watches when Wetherspoon does new things, and I am proud of the company.”
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