Tuesday, 23 Jul 2024

Career Profile: Sascha Gustard-Brown

Sascha Gustard-Brown is a seasoned professional in the realm of Supporter Engagement. With previous positions as the Head of Supporter Engagement at Luton Town Football Club and Supporter Liaison Officer at West Ham United, she brings a wealth of experience to the table. Currently, Sascha is involved in various small supporter engagement projects in the sporting world as well as freelance writing in football.

How did Sascha start working in football?

Sascha’s passion for football began at a young age. Introduced to the sport by her father, she quickly developed a love for the game. By sheer luck, her talent for creative writing caught the attention of a local non-league club, which opened the door to her career in football. Starting as a volunteer, Sascha has been immersed in the industry ever since. Her journey serves as a valuable lesson to never give up on pursuing one’s dreams, even if it may seem challenging.

Why did Sascha choose supporter engagement?

Believe it or not, supporter engagement was not initially on Sascha’s radar. Her love for writing and interviewing led her to volunteer work and gaining experience in the media field. However, her perspective shifted when she took on the role of Supporter Liaison Officer at West Ham United. The reward and fulfillment she experienced in this position opened her eyes to the importance and possibilities of supporter engagement. Upon becoming the Head of Supporter Engagement at Luton Town FC, Sascha had the opportunity to implement her ideas and initiatives, creating a role that had purpose and significance within the club.

What is Sascha’s favorite aspect of working in supporter engagement?

For Sascha, the most gratifying part of her job is witnessing the tangible impact of her work on supporters. From the emotional messages left on Luton Town FC’s Hatters Memory Wall to the pure joy on the faces of younger fans after face painting sessions, the positive reactions to her initiatives are incredibly humbling. Furthermore, supporter engagement often extends to community engagement, allowing Sascha to make a positive difference in the lives of those living near the club. Whether it’s hosting local charities on matchdays or assisting with fundraising for local causes, the rewards go beyond the confines of the stadium.

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What has been the highlight of Sascha’s career?

Professionally, the standout moment for Sascha was leading the working group at Luton Town FC to win the EFL’s Family Club of the Year Award for the Championship in the 2019-2020 season. Achieving this recognition within just eight months of becoming the Head of Supporter Engagement was a testament to the hard work and collaborative efforts of everyone involved. Despite limited facilities and space, the team implemented initiatives that made a significant impact. Personally, Sascha cherishes the opportunities she has had to meet legendary figures in football, adding an extra layer of excitement to her career.

What advice does Sascha have for aspiring professionals in the football industry?

Sascha’s advice is to work hard, remain open to new opportunities, and be willing to adapt. The football industry is filled with various roles and possibilities that may not be apparent at first. Being flexible and helping out in different areas can expand horizons and make the journey more enjoyable. Additionally, cultivating good relationships with colleagues throughout the club is crucial. Finally, Sascha emphasizes the importance of kindness and positivity. While the industry can be competitive, being a team player and maintaining a positive attitude can lead to success.

What are the challenges of working in football?

Working in football requires dedication and the ability to juggle multiple responsibilities. Life revolves around fixtures, and the job rarely comes to a stop, even during the offseason. Planning, administration, sales, and retail are constant areas of focus regardless of the time of year. However, the challenges are outweighed by the numerous reasons that make the football industry an attractive field to work in.

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What are the difficulties of working in supporter engagement?

One of the challenges of supporter engagement is the impossibility of pleasing every supporter all of the time. Despite understanding this reality, it can still be challenging to say “no” to passionate fans with their unique ideas and requests. Balancing the desires of supporters and the practicality of implementing initiatives can be a delicate task.

What challenges has Sascha overcome to succeed in her role?

Sascha admits that most of the challenges she faced were self-imposed. Initially, she questioned her experience and skills compared to colleagues with more extensive industry backgrounds. However, she realized the importance of finding confidence in her abilities and recognizing her value within the role. Additionally, delegating work to individuals in higher positions was initially daunting but proved to be a valuable learning experience. Collaboration between departments is common in football clubs, and being adaptable and confident in one’s abilities is key.

Are there any recommended resources or courses?

Sascha believes that knowledge is power in the football industry. Reading matchday programs regularly can provide valuable insights into a club, including the manager’s thoughts and the community work undertaken by the club’s Community Trust. In terms of supporter engagement, researching other clubs’ initiatives and connecting with counterparts in those clubs can foster relationships and enable the sharing of best practices. As for courses, Sascha suggests considering those that add new skills to one’s repertoire. Sign language, second language proficiency, or disability awareness training, for example, can greatly enhance a supporter-focused role.

Where does Sascha see her future in the football industry?

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Sascha prefers not to limit herself to any particular area within the industry. Her varied experiences across different roles have broadened her interests and skill set. With a passion for hard work and a love for football, Sascha intends to remain actively involved in the industry. Currently seeking her next opportunity after leaving Luton Town FC, she anticipates continuing her successful career in football.

Q: How did Sascha Gustard-Brown start working in football?

A: Sascha’s journey into football began as a volunteer, after her talent for creative writing caught the attention of a local non-league club. From there, she immersed herself in the industry and never looked back.

Q: What challenges has Sascha overcome to succeed in her role?

A: Sascha’s challenges have largely been self-imposed, stemming from doubts about her experience and skills compared to others in the industry. However, she gained confidence in her abilities, recognized her value, and embraced the opportunities that came her way.

Q: What advice does Sascha have for aspiring professionals in the football industry?

A: Sascha advises aspiring professionals to work hard, be open to new opportunities, and build strong relationships with colleagues. Being kind, positive, and approachable goes a long way in forging a successful career in the industry.

In this article, we delved into the career profile of Sascha Gustard-Brown, with expertise in supporter engagement. Drawing from her experience at Luton Town FC and West Ham United, Sascha shared insights into her journey and offered valuable advice for aspiring professionals in the football industry. Despite the challenges, she highlighted the humbling and rewarding aspects of working in supporter engagement, emphasizing the positive impact it can have on both fans and the community. By remaining open to new opportunities and embracing the ever-changing nature of the industry, Sascha continues to pave her path to success in football. To learn more about Sascha’s work, check out her Introduction to Supporter Engagement.