I have spent years and years and years heavily involved running a club and helping get teams, at various levels, on the field. The club, Matamata Swifts AFC, consumed me, taking up hours and days and weeks and months of my time. I have never minded this, and neither does my family.
Working with other volunteers is a proper learning and growing experience. Balancing limited resources and a world of constraints against increased expectations and all the stuff that comes with them is a real challenge. Anyone who has been on the management team of a small sports club will know where I’m coming from.
We did lots of great things. I had such a clear vision of what I wanted to achieve at the club and worked, over many years, to get there. I nearly did.
In early 2013, however, I decided to step aside for a while. To take something of a break.* At the time I found that I was so central to everything at the club that it wasn’t actually healthy. For me or for anyone else at the club. It was time for the club to take on a different identity.
But I’m a football fan and I needed to stay involved. I like to write so what better way than to get out and about, experience a bit more of the game, and document what I see? So I did. In the past I posted a bit of football stuff on my business blog but this a dedicated home for all my footballing musings. The subject area has since expanded.
I’ve been accused of writing biased match reports for years so here’s an opportunity to right (write?) a few wrongs. The bread and butter of this blog was initially New Zealand football. That hooked in nicely with the Northern League Forum website, which I also run. The website has gained quite a following with very little effort. People like to talk about football…even in New Zealand.
But football’s everywhere, so don’t hate me if I expand my scope. And I also do and think about other things, so they’ll probably find a home here too.
If nothing else, I’m hopeful I can help promote the game a little more. I know, from personal experience, that media coverage is hard to come by at the best of times. Although it is getting better. Generally, a lot of what you get needs to be self-generated. Enzo Giordani has done a good job redressing the balance. Hopefully I can have a similar impact.
The Matamata Bus?
There’s a bit of a story here. I’m from the small New Zealand town of Matamata and have lived here for most of my life. There are many, many worse places to live. Even in New Zealand. Wherever I end up in the future, I’ll always be from Matamata.
I am not, however, the size of a bus and I don’t ever intend to be. Imagine that? But I’ve been out and about and have seen a reasonable amount of the world so that could fit the transport component of this blog’s name if I let it.
But it would be pretty weak if that was the whole story so clearly there’s more to it.
During my involvement with Matamata Swifts AFC it is the Matamata Bus that carried our 1st team all over the countryside (well, it was. The bus blew up at the end of 2016). Firstly, the Waikato Bay of Plenty region and latterly the entire northern region of New Zealand. It travelled, almost without missing a beat, as far afield as Whakatane, Taupo, Auckland (way, way, way (way) too many times) and even Whangarei. I experienced a lot on my travels in and with the Matamata Bus.
The Bus became such a lifeline that it had a song dedicated to it. All together now: “We all live in a Matamata bus, a Matamata bus a Matamata Bus. We all live…” The tune? No prizes for guessing it sounds something like the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. Very rarely, of course, was I a singer. I was an observer, a listener. Part of it, but only on the fringes. That’s a nice metaphor for what I hope this independent blog will become.
Okay. It’s a story. Not much of a story, admittedly. But a story nonetheless. And that’ll do for now.
*But wait, there’s more
The break didn’t last long. In 2014 I was back at Matamata Swifts, the club I just can’t stay away from. My kids now play, which means I now coach. I took on the role of Club Development Manager, which tucked in nicely with my skill set. That role ran through until early 2016.
I am also the Communications Manager (a part-time role) at WaiBOP Football Federation. This role included being Media Manager for WaiBOP United during the franchise’s three year run in New Zealand’s national league. Sadly, that came to an end at the end of the 2015/16 season, but it was great while it lasted.