Favourite Things: ‘I would love both Sheffield teams in the Premier League’

Telegraph Favourite Things with Steve Manley. Picture: Chris Etchells
Telegraph Favourite Things with Steve Manley. Picture: Chris Etchells

Steve Manley is the managing director of Universal Office Products and the incoming president of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

At the age of 42 it is believed that he will become the youngest ever person to take up the role at one of the city’s best-known organisations in nearly 120 years.

The man collapsed outside the Hillsborough ground

The man collapsed outside the Hillsborough ground

Whilst having firm roots in Sheffield, Steve has also worked in various other parts of the UK and Europe during his interesting business career. As part of Steve’s business studies college course, he set up a business operated by ‘Young Enterprise’, leading to a small stationery shop in the college reception.

This was how Steve become involved in this industry and he still does some voluntary work for YE mentoring and speaking to young entrepreneurs. He worked his way up from junior administrator at 18 to become one of three UK Regional Sales Directors in a billion-pound turnover multi-national organisation at the age of 25.

Despite his success in such a short space of time, he longed to run his own business. He took the plunge in going it alone despite the advice of all his peers and family members. It’s certainly not a decision he regrets. Universal now has an annualised turnover of more than £7million.

An active kickboxer, single figure golfer and dog trainer/walker, he certainly knows how to keep busy. He took up both kickboxing and golf 10 years ago when he stopped playing competitive football. He trains out of the Paul Powers Martial Arts Centre in Stannington and plays golf at Hillsborough.

Telegraph Favourite Things with Steve Manley. Picture: Chris Etchells

Telegraph Favourite Things with Steve Manley. Picture: Chris Etchells

He listed his favourite things about Sheffield with the help of his 12-year-old son, Harrison.


I have been going to the Crucible and Lyceum since I was a child, but them stopped due to other interests as I entered my 20s. However, when my son became four years old, we took him to the pantomime and this has now become an annual family Christmas event. I guess we take our theatres for granted and, if you have never had the opportunity to watch the Christmas panto to see Damian Williams, make sure you take that opportunity. You won’t be disappointed, I can highly recommend the experience for young or old!

Friendly people

I certainly didn’t expect a 12 year to pick this one, but it is true! I have spent a fair proportion of my working life in London and other parts of Europe and along the way have discovered that Sheffield really is a welcoming city. In 2013 Sheffield was voted the happiest city in the UK and I can certainly see why! It’s often referred to as a big village for exactly that reason.


We are the greenest city in the UK and we are very fortunate to have such surrounding beauty. I live in the north of Sheffield in a village that backs onto Bradfield. The area has some great walks with amazing views. There is nothing better than taking our dog, Hunter, on a family walk whilst stopping at one of the pubs for a quick pint of Bradfield Blonde Beer brewed.

Kelham Island

My first account management role was looking after customers in the S1 and S3 postcodes. I managed many accounts, namely Richardson’s Knives, Tyzack Machine Knives and Williams Fasteners, none of which are located in Kelham Island anymore. However, this was 20 years ago. Today, you can still see the remnants of industrial firms. Back then it was a very dark and dirty place to work which, can still be seen today, if you know where to look. However, the massive change and re-development is great to see! Kelham Island has transformed itself from an evening ‘no go zone’ to hosting some of the city’s best bars and restaurants.

Sports teams

I couldn’t write this without mentioning Sheffield Wednesday who I have supported passionately since my mum took me to my first game aged three. I am sure friends will chastise me for saying this, but I also have a good relationship with Sheffield United who we have supplied and sponsored for more than 10 years. I would genuinely love to see both teams in the Premier League.