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I'm working for the Sir Alex Ferguson of the auction world

By This is Devon  |  Posted: October 22, 2010

FOOTBALLER: Graham Barton

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Name, age & current position: Graham Barton, 49, a chartered surveyor and the principal auctioneer and valuer for the newly opened Exeter office of Clive Emson Property and Land Auctioneers.

First job (& pay-packet): My first job was in the Ministry for Overseas Development in London on a wage of £52 a week.

What I've done in my career and how I got where I am today: Other than less than a year in the Civil Service I have basically always been an auctioneer. I started for a firm called R and C Snell of Axminster in their pannier market, selling produce, and quickly progressed to the full-on cattle market that used to be held every Thursday in Axminster.

At this same time I became responsible for the company's regular auctions of general household contents and antiques and assisted with on-site farm sales.

In 1996 I turned my attention to the sale by auction of property and land and haven't looked back since, with sales of about £250 million under my belt.

Career high point: Without wishing to sound corny or predictable my very recent move to Clive Emson Property and Land Auctioneers to head their expansion into the West Country has given me great pride. Clive Emson is the Sir Alex Ferguson of the auctioneering world, and for someone of his calibre to put his faith in my abilities from the rostrum is a huge compliment.

Career low point: I was probably at the lowest ebb in my working life when BSE (so-called mad cow disease) hit the farming community in which I worked at the time. It was a dreadful illness to befall an animal, and once witnessed it was never forgotten.

When I'm not working I like to: Outside of work I love my football and still play on Saturdays for Farway United Reserves in the lower reaches of the Perry Street League.

My position nowadays is at left-back having been an attacking left-sided midfielder up until a few years ago. In my heyday I was a winger – and if only the real Sir Alex Ferguson had seen me then things could have been so different. Not!

Things I've learned that I wish I'd known when I started: The most useful thing I've learned so far during my working life is not to put off jobs that you don't want to do or telephone calls that you don't want to make.

If something needs doing, just do it. You'll actually feel better in the long run by meeting things head-on and dealing with them.

My advice to someone starting out in business now: Kicking off a business is daunting, nerve-racking, and at the same time an exhilarating ride.

My advice would be to not watch the clock and do your very best with every aspect of the new venture, big or small. If you do your best you can walk tall whatever the outcome – and always remember that a life without risks is no life.

My ambitions for the future: My aims are to create the most successful auction house ever seen in the West Country, building a business that employs the most people possible so that our success can benefit the lives of others. I'd also like to retire as soon as possible to France. Ssshh – don't tell Sir Alex!

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