For a football-mad young man it was the ultimate dream job.

And former Elland student Joe Cooper relished the role, interviewing Manchester United stars both old and new for the club’s official site MUTV which was screened across the world.

But all good things come to an end and for Joe, after 10 years of meeting some of this country’s biggest sports stars, it is time for a fresh challenge.

Although he still works several days every month for Sky and the BBC to pay the bills he has finally got round to doing what he has always wanted to do – travelling the length and breadth of the UK writing a travel book.

The 35-year-old former Brooksbank School pupil says he has clocked up 10,000 miles in a year researching the project but won’t be publishing the book anytime soon: his self-imposed deadline is in five years’ time when he hits 40.

Of his time spent as a producer for MUTV he says: “Paul Scholes was a favourite, we had a good relationship. He never gave too much away to the media but he was fine with us.”

He got to meet a galaxy of stars from Johnny Evans, whose wedding he attended, to Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney and revered elder statesmen such as Denis Law, Sir Bobby Charlton, Paddy Crerand and of course the hair dryer himself, Sir Alex Ferguson.

One of the all time United legends Bryan Robson and Joe Cooper

Joe, who is moving to live in Ripponden shortly, added: “As everyone knows if you got on the wrong side of Sir Alex you felt the full force of the hair dryer.

“It happened to me just the once when I was a young freelancer. They had had a bad result and he took it out on me. But apart from that one occasion he was fine.

“Football was the main area of journalism that I was interested in. I’d done a degree in the subject at Liverpool, and I was a Manchester United fan so, yes, it was a dream job but everything becomes a job after a while and after 10 years I thought it was time to move on.

“However much you enjoy it I realised I needed a fresh challenge.

“It was a huge decision but this travel book was something I really wanted to do. Travel has always been a passion for me and I’ve travelled all over the world.”

So in his trusty Fiat Punto he began criss-crossing the UK, and notched up 2,500 miles in two weeks in Scotland and is currently in the Peak District having covered, Huddersfield, Halifax, Leeds, York and Dorset.

He joked: “I did find out an awful lot about this great country of ours. I reckon I could write 10-15 books but one will be enough for starters!”

While the public awaits publication of his magnum opus readers can catch up on his latest musings at