Women Working In Football - Brentford FC Logistics Manager Lorna Falconer
Whilst coverage of women’s football has increased in recent years, what often goes unnoticed are the hundreds of women who play a vital role in the day-to-day functions of professional clubs and organisations.
In a new feature series, Kick It Out has been speaking to women who work within football – in a number of roles including coaching, club executives, photographers, administrators, matchday staff and more – to celebrate and gain an insight into their contributions to the professional game.
The feature discusses their experiences of the game, how they reached where they are today and any challenges they may have faced along the way.
In our latest feature, Lorna Falconer, Logistics Manager at Brentford FC, speaks about her experiences working within the football industry.
By Charlie MacKinnon.
“This is a fantastic place to work and a great thing to be a part of. I just love football.” It is that love of the game that has kept Lorna involved in football for more than two decades.
After beginning her football career in football at Tottenham Hotspur, where she was a commercial assistant, Lorna has been involved in the industry for almost 22 years in several positions at a variety of organisations. Jobs have included working for the Premier League in its early years, to managing club accounts for the Football League, before moving to her current role with The Bees in November 2015.
Lorna explained her current position with the Championship club:
“My role is to manage the transition of football staff and players coming in and out of the club as well as many of the other logistical tasks – ensuring our team gets to and from fixtures, training camps and dealing with transportation, hotels and sometimes other clubs. I’ve learnt an awful lot, and it’s meant I’ve further enhanced my experiences within football.
“We have a B Team at Brentford and that means it is more like a European set-up. We don’t have an academy system, we play other clubs’ B teams and under-23 sides. We’ve played Valencia, Villarreal, Liverpool, and in tournaments in Denmark and Germany, so we’ve had some big games organised this season.”
As well as team logistics, Lorna also has to deal with individual players and the coaching staff on a day-to-day basis. She can be tasked with assisting a player moving from another London club or one leaving home for the first time and moving from another European country.
“When a player comes in, I help in finding them somewhere to live, in, showing them around, everything to do with them settling in to their new club. Helping them with day-to-day life off the pitch.”
One of the most notable aspects of Lorna’s impressive career in the game is the variety of roles which she has served. When starting at the Premier League she was part of a small team, working as a receptionist.
“When I started working at the Premier League there were about six of us covering everything, it was a lot different to the beast it is today.
“My route to Brentford was interesting because I’ve always been involved in the commercial side of the sport and when I started at Spurs it was on the commercial side too. When I left the Football League I realised I’d never actually worked within the football aspect of a club, so I wanted to vary my experiences and learn more.
“When the opportunity at Brentford was advertised, I dived straight in, it was exactly what I was looking for.”
With over 20 years of experience in the football industry, Lorna is aware and comfortable in the male-dominated industry that is football, but she was quick to stress the importance of rubbishing the ‘footballer stereotype’.
“I think it’s wrong as an industry to categorise a career as a type of person. You wouldn’t say all shopkeepers are this, all secretaries are that, so you cannot categorise it the same for all footballers. Every player and every person is different and part of my job is to treat them as such, deal with the individual need and show that Brentford can look after the person as well as the player.”
It could be argued that being a woman in the industry is rare, but being a black woman in the industry is even rarer. But Lorna believes that this has never affected her career or her relationships with colleagues, and now players.
“I think I have an inner strength that came from my father. His work ethic and his values were the highest of the highest and I’ve inherited those values; I will always voice my opinion when I believe it is right to do so.
“I believe that I have stayed true to myself, and that is certainly the case here at Brentford because of the culture and positive environment which has been created by Dean Smith, his staff and the team at the club.”