It’s the FA Cup Final this weekend, which means that anyone who’s a football fan will be somewhat preoccupied on Saturday afternoon. But to make an event like this happen takes a lot of work behind the scenes – and involves a lot of jobs beyond “sits on bench, earns £30k for kicking a ball”. Here’s just a few of the roles behind the FA Cup and how you could get into them.
Stewarding at live events is a great way to get a free pass. But don’t think it isn’t hard work! It often involves early starts and late finishes and a lot of standing around directing people. But it’s also a lot of fun and can fit around another job or studies.
“It’s brilliant for me because I get to see the game and it fits around my normal schedule,” says Kim, who’s stewarded at a number of sporting events, including England Rugby games at Twickenham. “It’s a fun job to have too, you work with a good team of people and get access at the ground that you wouldn’t normally have.”
If you’re interested in working as a steward, get in touch with the safety officer at a football club as they’ll be able to let you know how to apply.
The physios at a football game have a pretty important job to do. They’re the ones who have to run on to the pitch to treat players when they’re injured and help get them back on their feet. Obviously working with footballers as a physio is a pretty exciting job too, but there’s a lot of pressure because they have to make sure that the players recover quickly.
If working with footballers’ legs is what you’ve always dreamed of, you’ll need to do a degree in physiotherapy and train with the NHS so it’s often a good idea to try and get some volunteering in first. To become a physio with a football club, it’s just a case of keeping an eye out for the jobs (most clubs advertise them on their websites). It’s obviously very competitive and most Premier League clubs will expect you to have worked at other clubs first, so don’t discount the lower clubs just because you won’t be working with Joe Hart.
One of the jobs that a lot of people want at the FA Cup Final is that of a sports journalist. Who wouldn’t want to go to the match and then write about it? Well, actually a lot of sports journalists who will be sharing their opinions on the game, won’t actually be at Wembley tomorrow. They’ll be watching the game on the TV, just like you. We spoke to Richard Innes, founder and editor of The Equaliser to find out more.
Richard’s job at The Equaliser is to find the statistics for the daily newsletter, so actually most of his job around the FA Cup Final will be done today and he’ll be able to relax a bit tomorrow during the game. “We’ll be piling out as many stats and facts as we can about the Final,” he says. “Things that people won’t have heard, different angles on things and trying to arm people who will be talking about the game with a series of stats that they can bring up in conversation.”
Richard gets a huge amount of stats every day from Opta and trawls through boring spreadsheets to find the interesting stories from those statistics – like the fact that Nacho Monreal is actually the most important player in the Premier League (who’d have thought it?!). He then works with his team to make those facts look good and they go into the daily newsletter that they send out (which you can sign up to receive at TheEqualiser.com).
The ref possibly has one of the hardest jobs tomorrow. He’ll probably have to make some tough calls, and whatever happens he’s likely to receive a lot of criticism from fans.
To become a football referee there’s quite a lot of training involved – there’s ten levels of refereeing, which matches up to the level that you’re allowed to ref at. You’ll have to work your way up, so don’t just think because you were always the one yelling “OFFSIDE” when you play footie with your mates means you’re qualified to ref the FA Cup Final. If you want to train as a ref, you’ll need to do an FA course, there’s loads of info on their website about how you can do that.
There will be a lot of engineers on site at the FA Cup Final helping to make the broadcast happen (it’s on ITV from 3pm tomorrow). Working on an outside broadcast can be a bit of a nightmare in terms of the technology as there’s a lot that has the potential to go wrong.
If you want to work as a broadcast engineer, there are a number of routes into the role. You could do a degree, or HND, or a lot of broadcasting companies (including the BBC) run training schemes for young people interested in following this career – but it’s tough to make it onto these schemes so you’ll definitely need to get some work experience first.
If you want to know more about careers in sport, come along to the GoThinkBig Sessions in Glasgow on Thursday 26 June.