FF 75 – Middlesbrough Women Football Club

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Middlesbrough Women Football Club

Middlesbrough Women FC is a club that is playing an important role in their local community by providing people with the opportunity to play the game and reach their full potential. Football Focus Magazine recently caught up with their Secretary Matthew Hutchinson to find out more.  

Involvement 

He told us, “For me, as a starting point, I wanted to be involved in an ambitious club, where as a coach, which I wanted to do, to begin with, it was an exciting opportunity. I started in the Reserve set up, but spent a lot of my time at First Team training, watching Kelsey Byrne and learning. As a coach and as a person, she is definitely someone I see as a role model, the way she speaks to people and engages players, for me is inspirational.  

After 18 months at the club, I then became Media and Marketing Manager and also duelling up as Secretary. This brought in £7000 in sponsorship, with the year before only having £3000, whilst also developing a club brand and overseeing a club rebrand with a new badge, assisting with organising kit and organising programmes throughout the season.”  

The Role 

“One of the biggest challenges is definitely fitting everything in throughout the week. The club is ran all by volunteers; I have three part-time jobs and University, so finding time to do, what probably is the most demanding part of my life.  

However, when players get kit or even if a game goes through with very little administrative problems, that is a massive success for me. For me, winning games is great but we have to have good infrastructure off the pitch, me and Lindsey work hard during the week to make sure the club is at its highest point every week both on and off the pitch.” 

Atmosphere 

“The general mood in the club is very good. Everyone across the club has rallied around with low amounts of staff, players are moving around different squads and still getting results and still getting the commitment from every player, especially around players needing confidence, players supporting them and getting round them. Times can be hard in football, but now the team is relatively on course to achieve targets.” 

This Season 

“The start of the season, for me has been a positive with programmes done to a high standard, fines being avoided and fans being engaged weekly. We would like more fans in if possible and we are working as a club to achieve this.  

However logistically we have struggled to travel to away games and are currently working towards fundraising and then buying a mini bus, making us sustainable for years to come: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/middlesbrough-women-minibus  

My plans are to increase attendance and gauge more of what fans want. Ideally, I would also like to have other volunteers working with us, whether that’s on match days and/or throughout the week. We know that we are not as active as we could be, because of time. It isn’t easy to produce articles or fill up social media, so we know we have come so far and now need to get to the next stage.” 

Community 

“We are a community club, we encourage clubs to come down weekly and be mascots for games, offering those players free access, goodies bags and access to another game at half price. This for us, is important, we want to inspire young girls to play football, whether that’s with us or anywhere and realise, they can do it and be watched by 100’s of people and hopefully do it as a profession. That is a success for us, inspiring a generation.” 

Challenges 

“One of our biggest challenges is fundraising for our self; we know we can do more and we can offer more, but to offer more we need to be out there more. We would like merchandise which needs capital to buy first. We would like a larger ground – which needs capital to buy first.  

These are problems we face; we know what we need and we just need to expand on what we are doing. This takes planning, something that I haven’t had to do before, I have planned for weeks ahead before, but never months or even years and I am in that process now.” 

Ambitions 

“Our biggest ambition is promotion. My aim is to make sure the club is ready and sustainable for promotion in the background, working alongside Lindsey Stephenson, who is club chairwoman. She tells me what to do and I will have hopefully already done it or in the process of doing it; 10% of the time I haven’t mind! However, we know we have to achieve on and off the pitch and I know Kelsey, Lindsey, Ben and Jonny, are all working to achieve this on the pitch. Small steps, but we believe we are close to our ambitions.” 

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