Tuktuk Day 142


Hednesford Town

Hednesford Town – Jack Bevan

Fellow Groundhopper and all-round-good-guy, Christian Obray, pinged me yesterday to say that FC Deportivo Galicia was on his “Must Visit” list for the new season. Welcome! As you saw from Day 140 all are welcome whether it is for a single visit or as a regular supporter. We are a broad church of Fulham, QPR, Chelsea, West Ham, Portsmouth and Gillingham fans and I hear that we even allow Arsenal fans through the gates as long as they don’t ramble about “Title contenders” or other such silliness. For the sake of transparency, I should mention that our avuncular Presidente is indeed a lifelong Gooner. Welcome, Christian!

For those who don’t know Christian, he has a busy blog, TTTONLF, spotlighting his groundhopping trips. Take a look here and this week he has been with the guys and gals at Hednesford Town. I thought the overview deserved more eyeballs and Christian kindly allowed me to cover it.

TTTONLF MEETS…JACK BEVAN

Name – Jack Bevan
Age – 37
Favourite Team – Hednesford Town and Wolves
Occupation – Operations Manager at Hednesford Town
One thing I love about football is – The release from everyday life on a matchday (result dependant!) and how it brings communities together creating friendships and unique bonds Football pet hate – VAR and how the professional game has almost become to a point non contact! Best player you have ever seen play in real life – Steven Gerrard or Ronaldinho

“Can you share your career journey and what led you to become the Operations Manager at Hednesford Town?

So my journey began at Wolves back in 2007 when I worked in the commercial department overseeing commercial operations such as corporate hospitality, advertising and events. I was at Wolves for nearly 5 years and then had a career change where I worked in Social care and Education before returning to Football as Operations manager at Hednesford Town. I follow Hednesford Town home and away and with the club recently being taken over by new owners, an opportunity presented itself to get back into football and utilise my past experience of working in the Premier League with Wolves at my home town club; one im extremely grateful for.

What does a typical day look like for you as the Operations Manager at Hednesford Town?

Every day is different and so are the working hours! I am based at the ground every day and each day starts with a strong coffee and a re-cap of previous days events and what is in my diary. My role is extremely varied but predominantly covers 4 strands; Ticketing, commercial operations, Press and Media and Fan Liaison. Some days it could be a day of season tickets and helping organising logistics for an upcoming match, another it could be back to back meetings with businesses around advertising and partnership deals. A lot of my time at the moment is spent around press releases for new players and the content that goes with that. We are very much in the process of creating an open and regular communication line with Fans so I am doing a lot of work in fan chats, organising meet the manager , responding to emails and queries from fans, interviews with players and managers and doing regular updates for the fans via our social media channels.



What are the most challenging aspects of your role, and how do you navigate them?

I think there are challenges in most aspects of working life however right now as a club we are going through a transition period with the new owners and a new staff team which is new for us all! With so much work going on at the club it can often seem like you don’t know which way to turn! However I believe communication and an open and honest line of dialogue creates a positive working environment that allows you to work collaboratively and achieve the goals you set.

Can you highlight some of the key achievements or milestones you’ve reached since taking on this role?

I’m extremely proud of the fact that we are close to doubling our seasonal ticket sales from last year; a potential 25 year record here at the club. We have implemented a new online ticketing system which fans have really brought into and I am particularly proud of the feedback I get from the communication line we have created and being told that it’s the best its ever been. It has been a difficult 10-15 years for the club and I was extremely keen to help rebuild that trust with fans and repair at times what have been damaged relationships. The feedback and general response that I have had is that we are well on our way to achieving that.

How do you foster a positive and productive working environment among the team at Hednesford Town?

I touched on it before in the above question but I am big believer in open , honest and regular communication between colleagues. I am extremely fortunate that I work closely with Terry McMahon, club secretary , who has been at the club longer than I can remember and that I have known Terry personally for 30 years and we have a fantastic relationship. I am very like minded to our new CEO Marvin Robinson and we work really well together and most importantly I have a great relationship with the owners Craig and Amanda who are incredibly supportive of any ideas I have and look to encourage innovative based working. It’s a great working team.

How important is community engagement to the club, and what initiatives have you implemented to strengthen this relationship?

Community is at the heart of what we do here at the club. We have a fantastic Supporters association who do a huge amount of work within the community which is lead by a great guy called Trevor Edwards. Our owners work with a huge amount of charities and are looking to do more work with local charities on top of what they currently. We have plans to start working closely with local schools and have community based events that are accessible for us. From a football perspective we have tried to be as affordable as possible and have a number of initiatives in the pipeline to really connect with the local community. I am Hednesford born and bred, I understand the importance of both this football club and the local community and I am extremely passionate about bringing them both together.



Have there been any innovative strategies or changes you’ve introduced that have significantly improved operations at the club?

Errm, I wouldn’t go as far as to say innovative or anything crazy special; but the new online ticketing platform has really smoothed out our ticketing operation, meaning we have been able to work smarter. I am quite an old school kind of person, I believe hard work and dedication can naturally create innovative strategies and since coming into the role having that open line of communication with fans and fellow staff members, being accessible at flexible times and always looking for ways to improve the club means we have made great strides off the pitch. I am also keen to mention our volunteers who I work closely with and speak to regularly; without them clubs would struggle immensely and having those guys around in my eyes beats any fancy strategy!

How would you describe your leadership style, and how has it evolved over your career?

I am someone who is understanding of everyone’s individual situations and like to think I am open, solution based and someone people can look up to and trust. My leadership style is based around the way I was brought up; Honesty, hardworking, empathetic and doing things the right way. I believe having the right values and being a people person is the best way to create trust from your colleagues and throughout my career people have generally responded really well to this.

What are your long-term goals for Hednesford Town, and how do you plan to achieve them?

My long term goal is to help create a sustainable, community focused and successful football club that has the fans at the heart of what we do. There are always plans and strategies in place long term but my initial remit is day by day, working hard for the club and to not only learn from any past mistakes but also put into practice some of my experiences particularly from my time at Wolves. Hednesford is a lifeblood for so many fans, including myself, my wife and children who are first and foremost fans first!, and people work hard all week to come and watch this team spending their hard earned money. That is my motivation; be a voice for the fans, be someone that fans can say ‘ Yeah, JB (as im known to many) is doing things the right way’ and help transform this club into one of the best non league clubs in the country; an inspiring goal that is one we all want to achieve. The owners are fantastic people, as is the workforce both on and off the field. The goal is to become better day by day; that will ultimately take us forward.



What steps are you taking to enhance the fan experience on match days and beyond?

There are a number of initiatives that are in the pipeline (some I cant talk about yet) but we are always looking at ways to improve fans match day experience. We have recently had TNT sports installed after years without any such sporting TV in the club, we have a new scoreboard on order, we have engaged the fans in having a say in new banners to be placed around the stands, we are proactive with things such as family days, ticket offers and drinks offers and as I say we have some really exciting plans in the pipeline that will hopefully be released soon. Fan engagement is key for us and I am always keen to hear from fans around ways we can make things better.

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to work in football club operations?

My advice would be work hard, take any opportunity that comes your way and always follow your heart. There are always opportunities in and around non league in volunteer roles that can often lead to further opportunities. There are so many varied roles within football clubs from ticket office, club shop , finance, and commercial to match day roles and safety. I would always recommend looking out for roles, applying even if you don’t think your qualified and be confident to give something new or different a go. Football is nothing without fans , volunteers and staff.

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A massive thank you to Jack for taking the time to sit down and answer these questions. It sounds like these are some exciting times down at Hednesford and Jack and the team are making a real difference in communicating to the fans and making them feel like they truly are a part of everything that is happening.

I for one agree that communication is key to alot of things in life but especially so in football clubs, the lack of communication can lead to voids being filled by others who may not have the clubs best interests at heart and can ultimately lead to a disconnect between the club and fans. The open channel between club and fans is a HUGE factor in my opinion in what seperates the ‘big’ clubs from those in non-league, non-league clubs realise that they are just the temporary custodians and the real owners of the club are the fans.

Football could learn a lot from how most non-league clubs are run and its sounds like alot of non-league clubs could even learn a thing or two from Hednesford too.

Until next time!!”

I thought Christian was absolutely correct, “Football could learn a lot from how most non-league clubs are run.” Looking through his blog and social media feeds I spotted an interesting article about how a non-league club is run. I will chat about this with Christian in the days ahead because I think he raises a lot of very interesting points. If you are involved in grassroots or non-league football, I think you will enjoy this. Here at FC Deportivo Galicia there is a strengthened management team and I will be introducing you to the heroes in the near future. Everyone is geared for success on and off the field.
Christian is also very excited about his new pin-badges he has and a complete range of merchandise. You heard about it here first (well, maybe second!)

Hope you all enjoyed the article and are looking forward to the England v Netherlands and Spain v France games. I am banking on a Spain v England final. Mr Tebbit is knocking at my door!

In the meantime, please remember the purpose of the tour which is to raise funds for Prostate Cancer and an equal amount for FC Deportivo Galicia. As always, I do hope that you are all enjoying this digital tour of the UK and that you will consider a donation to support FC Deportivo Galicia 

If everybody chipped in with just £1, I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier at the club.

A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can donate or sponsor. If you can’t, any shares of this site or even this post would be gratefully received.



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