“There’s no safety net” – Louis Bamgboye
Louis Bamgboye volunteered as a Resource Assistant for Kick It Out from January to October 2014. He then joined The Football Association before an Achilles tendon injury has left him unable to work for the next six weeks. He’s written exclusively for us about his journey into football, his expectation of Kick It Out, and where he’d like to continue in the game once he’s recovered.
I first heard of Kick It Out through Football Manager when I saw the logo before the game loaded up. I didn’t really know what Kick It Out did until they came to New Buckingham University as part of a careers day. It wasn’t until after my studies that I researched organisations that worked in and with football. As I learned more about them, they appealed to me more and more. I got in touch with a few people, including Troy Townsend, who invited me to come in and volunteer.
My expectation before I walked in was that Kick It Out was a much larger organisation than it actually is. I don’t think people realise the size of the charity – I know I didn’t when I first joined. It meant that from my first day as a Resource Assistant I was constantly working outside my usual comfort zone. Everyone does the same because there are far fewer specialists than what would be within a larger organisation with a huge workforce. It could be frustrating because when I looked at bigger organisations, the scale of resources were vastly different.
The same people that conceive ideas are also the same people that execute them, so I learned quickly how to work as part of a small team. Working at Kick It Out taught me the value of relationships within that small team. I learned how to generate ideas and also how to minimise costs as I was working for a charity. A smaller organisation, like Kick It Out, allowed me to work without a safety net, because there were a few times when I was the single point of failure.
I joined The FA in January 2015. Until I got injured, I was working at Wembley as part of their equalities team. I worked on the administration side of their managers’ re-education course. If a manager at any level of the game commits an offence relating to discrimination, this is the course they take.
I learned to not be intimidated by club officials, County FA’s, or managers themselves when I picked the phone up to contact them. Being new to the organisation allowed me to get a good overview of it and suggest new ideas and ways of working. During my time at The FA and Kick It Out I gained a real insight into football as an industry, which is really useful for the future.
That’s the industry I would like to be involved with. I really enjoyed working as part of the welfare side of the game. A perfect job for me might be working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and being a positive role model for them. Maybe that’s something that’s better suited to social care, but when I was growing up, I only really listened to my PE teacher and my football coaches. I’d like to provide inspiration and purpose for the next generation.