I played football until the age of 11 for the boy’s team in my school. It’s still a long-standing joke with some of my male school friends because I was always in the A-team so I kept a few of those friends in the B-team. When I reached the age of 11, I was no longer allowed to play for the boy’s team and unfortunately there was no provision for me to play football in the area I lived in. So, from the age of 11 until after I finished University, I played basketball and hockey.
After graduating I met up with a friend of mine who lived locally, who was playing football for a team. I joined that team and then the following season started the first ladies team in the village that I live in. That evolved into setting up the first girls’ team of that same village club.
I captained our ladies first team for a number of successful seasons while at the same time I was also coaching. I was a very passionate player, but I probably always leaned slightly more towards coaching. Some of that’s probably because my day to day life is quite hectic, so it gives me time to completely re-focus and not think about the commercial role I have.
I completed my level 1 and level 2 coaching qualification in excess of 10 years ago and I’ve now coached grassroots football for 17 or 18 seasons, including men, women, boys and girls. At the minute I’m coaching a boy’s u13 team and also taking training sessions for a girls’ u9 team.
I’m really proud to be on The FA board as a non-exec. Having invested so much time in grassroots football for such a long period of time – and also being a follower of the professional game (I’m a huge Notts County fan) - I’m really proud to be part of a team that can affect change going forwards.
To help facilitate any change you need to be on the inside of an organisation, which is why in the first few months of me being on the board I’ve been helping The FA on the progressive journey of change that they’ve started.
I’ve worked in construction for almost 20 years and the construction industry faces a lot of the demographic issues that The FA does. I’ve been on that journey for a long time so I bring some of that day-to-day knowledge into The FA and give a different perspective on some areas.
The FA’s a really complicated, large commercial organisation with revenues nearing £400 million. There are lots of levels of complexity, whether getting the national teams ready to win, or delivering more digital engagement into grassroots – so it’s an exciting challenge!