Week Notes November 20 2020
What I did
- Dealt with accreditation to our Conti Cup game v Bristol. We had 4 FA officials in on Wednesday, one scout, 4 cameras (one didn’t work), 3 photographers, and about 4 print/podcast journos to welcome in alongside stewards, security, our players and the opposition.
- Wasted a Wednesday. It’s so hard to focus on other things when an evening game hangs over you. The prep work I normally do first thing on a Sunday morning for a normal kick-off seemed to expand over the whole of Wednesday.
- Had a check-in call with a sub-group of the Board on one of our 5 work-streams, entitled “Our Own House in Order”. We are striving to be an exemplary club on the largest possible stage, but for us to have true legitimacy in our campaigns and calls for action, we need to make sure we practice what we preach. This call covered targets around our website (to be improved, urgently), hiring new staff, our facilities (and a new FA strategy on facilities) and better ways of working internally. I’m very lucky to report to such a switched on, progressive board.
- Collated evidence and documentation of our club’s policies and practices as part of an FA health check on our performance support to assess our physio and medical treatment to reduce injuries and support rehabilitation, sport psych work, strength and conditioning, safeguarding and welfare support for players. Our brilliant support team (Performance coach, sport therapist, welfare officer, team psychologist) did most of the digging. We’ve improved so much in the performance area over the last 12 months, as evidenced by a reduction in injuries and rising scores of how content players are at the club. Plenty of work to do, so I’m keen to see how the FA scores us, and set some plans in place to improve.
- Hosted two brilliant chats with some special people as part of the Guinness World Record attempt (see below). Since we had 24 hours to kill, myself and the two EPF co-founders Erin and Laura got to chat to some fantastic leaders in the game from around the world. Check out all interviews here. I got to connect Former Jordan National Team goalkeeper Maryana Haddad and former Performance Psychologist for the England National teams Dr Pippa Grange to talk through the psychology of the game and later, I got to turn the tables and interview the interviewer, Suzy Wrack on her journalism which encompasses WSL match reports with interviews with huge personalities such as Megan Rapinoe, with her ground-breaking human rights exposes (see below). It was my privilege entirely. These people are wonderful.
- Two good calls with potential sponsors.
- Helpful planning call with FSA’s Fans for Diversity’s Anwar Uddin on how to recognise our diverse fanbase, and how to do more to welcome in others who might not know we exist and would be welcoming. Anwar gave a really impressive presentation at the Sussex Fa’s diversity event last year which has always sat with me. You’ve got to check this BBC feature on the Bangla Bantams, which he set up. Honestly, sometimes it’s so simple it’s obvious — when it’s done. If it doesn’t make you happy, then…. don’t talk to me.
- Enjoyed being part of the Huracan Foundation’s event showcasing the new 5 projects and leaders they have selected to support this next year. Got to be on a panel alongside Mike Geddes and JJ Roble who I’ve admired for a long time but never met in person, and Gabriel Stauring whose work in Darfur I didn’t know about. More on Huracan here.
- Call with our reps on the Women’s Football Board at the FA on commercial strategy priorities.
- Eagerly watched the news for information on the Covid sports bailout — and no, I don’t yet know how the £3 million for women’s football will be spent!
- Talked to Mitchell Marshall for his news piece on importance of the first ever female and first ever Asian-American GM of a Major League Baseball team.
- Had a wonderful zoom call with my brilliant friends from back home on the Isle of Wight. Weird how COVID can also sometimes give you more time with people you love, rather than less, now that video calls and lockdown have boshed down the social interaction barriers between friends with and without kids or no longer in the same postcode! Now if a friend can’t make a catch-up zoom, I’m like — what are you doing?
- My brilliant friend Deena Rahman secured her 5th Guinness World Record this week. She took a penalty approximately every 11 seconds, for 24 whole hours solid to smash the existing record. She had already hit the existing record (1111) by the time I woke up after just 3 hours, and then doubled, quadruled and eventually more than septupled (is that a word?) the record, hitting an incredible 7876 in total! I kept her on in the background at work throughout the day and went to bed later on while she was still kicking away. I promise you it was actually really therapeutic. Here are 7 hours of her kicks in case you’re in need! Congrats to Deena and Equal Playing Field! And find out why we do these Guinness World Records here.
- I’m satisfied by the news that Haitian Football Federation President Yves Jean-Bart has been given a lifetime ban for sexual abuse and harassment of female players. It makes me sick that those players, those victims had to be so strong, at extremely high personal risk and cost, to persevere to realise this outcome. This joins the lifetime ban of the Afghan federation President last year. I have so much respect for the excruciating work carried out by the victims, their teammates and incredible people who worked hard to achieve justice (including Khalida Popal, Kelly Lindsey, Kat Craig, Minky Worden, Mary Harvey, Suzy Wrack and several others).
What I’m listening to
- Icelandic pop. It’s the best. Few people know that there’s where my musical penchant leans. Now you know. Enjoy this playlist that dropped in my inbox this week. You’re welcome.