RYG mentee Riding High after finding dream job in football
Kick It Out’s Raise Your Game conference, held at Wembley Stadium in April, helped inspire over 300 attendees with their aspirations of working in football. One mentee, Daniel McGeachie, explains how he, with the help of the event, has begun the pursuit of his dream career.
McGeachie, who had been involved in football at an amateur level, explained how he was yearning for an opportunity to turn his hobby into a profession.
“It’s a funny one really because I was doing well as a project manager, and going down a pretty steady route in digital media & technology. There was a bit of a reluctance to confess that I wanted to work in football,” he began.
“I’ve had voluntary grassroots involvement with clubs, and have been a player in amateur leagues for a while, but hadn’t ever thought this might be something I could potentially pursue as a career. When I was made aware of Raise Your Game, and the fact it was not just for football professionals but ‘normal’ people I thought ‘yeah I can get involved in this’.”
McGeachie took the lengthy trip down from the north of England to London for the event held in the grand scenery of Wembley Stadium, and he admitted that he was stepping into the unknown at Raise Your Game.
“To be honest, on the actual day I didn’t know what to expect. I’d paid to get down to Wembley from Leeds and there was a bit of trepidation as to whether it was going to be worth it.
“The main thing I was looking forward to was meeting the mentors. I wasn’t aware of who all the mentors were beforehand, but I was keen to hear some of the keynote speakers, especially Mark Warburton. Knowing his experience of being involved in the city, and entering the game after a more traditional, corporate career was really interesting. Mark is proof that not everyone in the game gets there the way you envisage it, starting in football from the age of six or seven.
“As well as understanding Mark’s experiences, it was great to be in the company of Scott Field. I was already looking forward to hearing Scott speak after doing some research on his background. Listening to him speak at the end of the conference, hearing he still has that spark of enthusiasm from walking into Wembley every day and thinking ‘wow, this is my office’ – that really transferred to me, those were the key things that I got out of it.
“Having not been to an event like Raise Your Game before I didn’t know what to expect but I was not let down at all.”
Daniel was one of 300 mentees seeking guidance in developing a career within football, and he felt the strong messages were absorbed by an engaged audience.
“I did speak to a few of the fellow mentees, and I met someone else who was in the same position as me; travelled down from the north of England and was in a similar professional corporate background.
“By speaking to him and other mentees I got the sense that the penny had dropped so to speak with us all. Getting a job in football was no longer unimaginable, but what was important was the consistent messages coming out of the event – “it’s not going to come easy”, “you’ve got to knock down doors”. I think people had a spirited response to that.
“Make no mistakes, it wasn’t a negative message, it was more of a challenge. The feeling was that now was the time to step up, and through hard work it is achievable. It made the event a really good shared experience.”
Less than two months after the conference, Daniel secured a role at West Riding FA in the Press & Communications department. He explained how some of the knowledge gained at Raise Your Game helped him secure employment in football in his local region.
“It can be as simple as starting to speak to people about volunteering in football. At an amateur level you can get put in touch with club secretaries, league secretaries and even get involved at district level.
“It’s just about growing and utilising your network; it sounds really clichéd but sometimes it is who you know and the whole seven degrees of separation. Raise Your Game certainly made me realise that I had a lot of opportunities available if I started to ask the questions and put myself around a bit! Luckily not too long after the event I was made aware of this position that was coming available.
“It’s the first time this role has become available at West Riding CFA, a brand new position at the organisation. It was probably the most nervous I have ever been going into an interview, because it meant so much more. My experience, although on a lesser scale to Mark Warbutons’s goes to show that a background in football isn’t crucial if you put your all into an opportunity.”
Now with his foot in the door Daniel is hoping to convince more people to get involved in the work of Kick It Out and use the help provided by the mentoring and leadership project.
“I’ve been the biggest advocate of the whole process since walking out of Wembley, and have become even more of a Kick It Out promoter seeing all the work the guys do! The conference is something I can’t recommend highly enough, so they’ll probably be a huge contingent from West Yorkshire and Leeds next year!”