Name: Abi Rodwell
Job Title: Publications and Content Manager at the English Football League
My position in a nutshell: I produce all our publications –magazines, programmes, and annual reports – and manage and create the daily content – social media channels, website, video content, press releases and anything else that might go out in to the public domain.
How I got the job… I went to Northumbria University and studied sports business management. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I did a degree that covered a variety of areas in sport such as business, marketing, sports law and events management. I’ve now been working in football for eight years – for the football league for four years and, before that, I worked at Doncaster Rovers Football Club. Before I got that job, I wrote to football clubs in my area and asked if they needed any help on a voluntary basis on match day, as usually football clubs are understaffed on match days, with things like printing team sheets, running the big screen. They were recruiting for a junior marketing position, so I got a foot in the door and was then able to move into the media team. I started out as marketing assistant and went on to be the media manager. There was only two in our team, which for a football club isn’t many at all, so I had a hand in everything.
My typical day… Is quite hard to describe, as every day is different. It’s very much crisis management some days, and other days are very structured, and you know what to expect. It depends on what time of the year it is but, typically, I am responsible for the daily output, always putting something out on social media, writing something for the website, going out and finding players to interview, interviewing pundits to preview the matches at the weekends, or producing a weekly podcast. It could be anything. If I am not writing about football, I am talking about it, or I could be interviewing someone else about it.
My most memorable moment… I have so many, as I have met some amazing people and travelled to some amazing places. I went to Vietnam two years ago, for a week, with three former footballers, where we did a tour of the country, promoting English football and the league cup. To have that opportunity at work was amazing. Also, being able to be at the play-off finals at Wembley, interviewing the goal scorer at the Championship final, and just being pitch side at Wembley are things I will never forget.
The worst part of my job… Crisis management and not knowing what to expect. There are a lot of anti-social hours – it’s late night mid-week and weekends but, for me the good outweighs the bad.
The best part of my job… Covering the football, traveling, interviewing a different person every week and getting to write about the thing I love the most, which is football.
Advice for someone wanting to work in communications in football… Make some enquiries and try and get experience. A lot of people start as volunteers in football clubs, that’s naturally the way to work your way up and that worked for me. Try and practice presenting at home, practice commentary of a football game, pretend you are live tweeting for cricket or football and do a minute-by-minute update. Watch a football match and task yourself with writing a match report. Anything you can do in your free time will stand you in good stead. Start doing things voluntarily to give yourself a head start.