Lets all be PROUD!
This weekend is Pride weekend in Nottinghamshire. Anyone who actually read articles about my appointment as AFC Mansfield’s Commercial Manager will know that before I joined the club, I was Secretary of York Pride and heavily involved in the LGBT movement. Now here’s something no one at this level may believe; both the Pride movement and a Step 5 and 6 non-league football club are extremely similar.
Seriously, this parade of rainbows, filled with fun and popstars (many of either former X Factor or 90s fame) and our non-league, old-school, at the grassroots level, proper football is very similar. It’s mainly because it’s all volunteer based. Even London Pride which is seen (and may cause outrage) on the news is exclusively is run by volunteers, just like every club in the Northern Counties East League.
Here’s my pre-AFC Mansfield story. Before becoming their Commercial Manager, I was Secretary of York Pride for over a year. During my time in this organisation I was part of a committee that saw the process of organising an amazing event in June, but also the inspiring schemes they had to involve the local area in our campaigns, all run by volunteers. Every football club in this league, is run by a benefactor, relies on volunteers, a few sponsors and needs them all to survive from year to year. York Pride is run by a few volunteers, a number of sponsors, and needs them all to survive from year to year. This sounds very similar, doesn’t it?
This is my point, clubs in the Northern Counties East League need to lead the way in the Football vs Homophobia Campaign. Maybe this is a difficult point for me to make, I was called the “extra from Grange Hill” by someone at the League’s AGM. However, we have a lot more in common with Pride movements than professional footballs clubs. We are the grassroots level of football and we can take the lead by backing a grassroots movement. Let’s take the lead and let the professional game follow us.
This is my radical idea, the extra from Grange Hill, now will peace out 😉