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The Unsung Heroes of Football Clubs

Updated: Nov 17, 2023




Introduction


When we think of a football club, our minds often jump to the players, the coaches, and the thrilling matches on the pitch. However, behind every successful football club, there exists a team of dedicated individuals working tirelessly off the pitch, like cogs in a machine, to ensure the club's success. From the chairperson who oversees the club's operations to the social media managers who engage fans worldwide, these off-pitch roles play a pivotal role in shaping the club's identity and success. In this article, we'll explore some vital roles that every football club should aim to fill, what these jobs entail, and offer tips on recruiting the right people for the roles.

The Gold-Plated List of Off-Pitch Positions, you might not have/achieve them all but our starred positions are high priority and all the rest are fantastic bonuses that will make grassroots life that much better:


Chairperson***:


  • The Chairperson is the head of the football club's board and is responsible for overall club governance.

  • They provide strategic direction, make critical decisions, and represent the club to external stakeholders.

  • Tip: Look for candidates with strong leadership skills, business acumen, and a passion for the club's success.

  • The right chairperson can be a visionary that takes the club from strength to strength, in contrast, the wrong person for the job can invoke a toxic environment that ruins development and creates animosity.




Secretary***:


  • The Secretary manages club administration, including maintaining records, scheduling meetings, and handling communication.

  • They ensure the club complies with regulations and handles player registrations.

  • Tip: Seek candidates with excellent organizational and communication skills, attention to detail, and a knowledge of football regulations.




Welfare Officer***:


  • Welfare Officers ensure the well-being and mental health of players and staff.

  • They provide support, counselling, and resources to help individuals cope with challenges.

  • Tip: Seek candidates with empathy, strong interpersonal skills, and experience in mental health support.

  • A welfare officer doesn't have to be a qualified psychiatrist, but they should be personable and unbiased. A key part of welfare is the signposting of individuals to the appropriate support, not necessarily having all of the answers themself.




Social Media Manager**:


  •  Social Media Managers are responsible for creating and curating content for the club's social media platforms.

  • They engage with fans, promote the club's brand, and provide real-time updates during matches.

  • Tip: Look for individuals with a deep understanding of social media trends, creativity, and a passion for football.

  • Social media can be a great vehicle to grow your club, recruit players and fund raise. Excellent communication, writing and creative skills are a must.



Individual Team Admin*:


  • Team Admins handle the logistics of team travel, accommodations, and scheduling. They complete league registrations and handle match fees.

  • They act as a liaison between players, coaching staff, and other departments.

  • Tip: Look for candidates with exceptional organizational skills, attention to detail, and adaptability. Someone with spare time and a passion to get involved will be a great addition to the team set up.

  • Teams/Clubs often overlook this position but adding an admin person to your coaching team can have a huge impact on how organised the fixtures and finances are, freeing up the coach to concentrate on... coaching. This could mean more time to plan and deliver better quality sessions.




Coach***:


  • 3 stars and rightly so, without the coaches it falls apart, they play a pivotal role in developing players' skills, tactics, and strategies.

  • They motivate and inspire the team, enabling peak performance on the pitch.

  • Tip: Find coaches with relevant certifications, coaching experience, and a passion for player development.

  • Don't overlook that bad coaches are out there and help is often hard to come by. Better to take some pain to find the right person for the job, than someone that is detrimental to players development and even their mental health/growth.



Grants/Fundraising Officer*:


  • Unfortunately, money makes the grassroots world keep spinning. Grants/Fundraising Officers identify and secure financial support for the club, keeping it operating and sustainable.

  • They seek out sponsorships, grants, and partnerships to fund club operations and initiatives.

  • Tip: Seek candidates with strong networking abilities, financial acumen, and persuasive communication skills.

  • Only 1 start but mainly because this role is often doubled up or covered by a number of different personalities.




Grounds person*:


  • Grounds persons are responsible for maintaining the quality and safety of the playing surface.

  • They ensure that the pitch is in optimal condition for matches and training.

  • Tip: Look for individuals with experience in turf management, attention to detail, and a love for the pitch.

  • Again only 1 start, purely because not all clubs are lucky enough to have somewhere they call home. If you're not one of the lucky few, it's still worth investing time to network with the local councils grounds person, they are often as passionate about the pitch as you are and being on their good side never hurts.



Training Planner*:


  • Training Planners work closely with the coaching staff to develop training schedules and programs for players or book and manage pitch times for training and matches.

  • They ensure that training sessions align with the club's goals and player development plans.

  • Tip: Seek candidates with a strong knowledge of football training methodologies, organization skills, and a dedication to player development.


Development Officers**:


  • The Development Officer spearheads the club's youth academy or senior teams, identifying and developing promising young talents.

  • They design training programs and oversee coaching staff to ensure a pipeline of skilled players for the club's future.

  • Development Officers should provide the link between teams to ensure a conjoined effort towards playing style and development. Thus, producing players that understand the clubs philosophy and ready for senior football.

  • Tip: Look for candidates with a deep understanding of player development, coaching credentials, and the ability to spot talent.



Recruiting the Right People for Off-Pitch Roles


1. Identify Passion and Commitment:


Look for candidates who are passionate about the club and its mission. A strong sense of commitment can make a significant difference in how they approach their roles. Uninterested of forced candidates will remain... uninterested.


2. Relevant Experience:


Prior experience in similar roles or industries can be valuable. Seek candidates who can bring relevant skills and expertise to the position.


3. Cultural Fit:


Ensure that the candidates align with the club's values and culture. This can help maintain a cohesive and motivated team.


4. Communication Skills:


Effective communication is crucial in off-pitch roles (and on-pitch, of course). Look for candidates who can convey the club's message clearly and engage with stakeholders.


The Impact of the Right Person


Having the right person in an off-pitch role can transform a football club's fortunes. They can:


  1. Enhance the Club's Brand: A skilled social media manager can boost the club's online presence and engage fans worldwide, increasing the club's global appeal.

  2. Ensure Compliance: A diligent secretary can ensure the club adheres to regulations, preventing potential penalties and issues.

  3. Foster Player Development: A well-qualified training planner can contribute to the growth of young talents, improving the club's long-term prospects.

  4. Drive Success: A visionary chairperson can make strategic decisions that lead to on-pitch success and financial stability.


Conclusion


While football clubs often bask in the glory of their players' on-pitch achievements, it's crucial to remember that success wouldn't be possible without the dedicated individuals working off the pitch. The chairperson, secretary, social media manager all the way to the random parent helping make tea and hot chocolate to sell at the academy on a cold winter morning, all play vital roles in shaping a club's identity and success. By recruiting the right people for these positions, clubs can ensure their continued growth, success, and the enduring support of fans, parents, local officials and media. So, let's celebrate these unsung heroes of football clubs, for they truly are the backbone of the beautiful game.

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