On Saturday I had the privilege to work alongside the commercial team during one the biggest derbies in England. It doesn't come much bigger than Derby County vs Nottingham Forest and to be working behind the scenes on match day is something special.
I could feel the atmosphere from the moment I arrived at the iPro stadium shortly before 8am. There was excitement hanging in the air, but in a way overshadowed by quietness, perhaps giving a sense of respect and the importance of this fixture. On this day the position in the league table doesn't matter, it’s meaningless. So too the 5-0 drubbing the Rams gave their neighbours last year or beating them with 10 men in 2011. Today all the pressure is on the men wearing black and white!
Meanwhile behind the scenes, pressure of a different nature had to be absorbed. Entertaining corporate guests and ensuring they have an unforgettable and trouble free day, is what’s top of the agenda for the commercial team on match day. Personally, my duties today didn't require much brain activity, but having experience in customer service in the food and beverage came in handy as I welcomed guests at accompanied them to their tables in the Pedigree Suite.
Much of the morning was spent putting a match programme on every seat of every corporate box and suite as well as the home and away changing rooms and match officials rooms. Today also offered an opportunity for one of DCFC’s partners, Purpose Media, to run a competition by gathering guests’ data and I helped their team collect the competition entry forms. Three lucky winners received an iPad, signed shirt and set of golf clubs handed out by Jake Buxton, DCFC’s man of the match, in the Toyota Suite after the game where he was also interviewed by ex-player Marc Edworthy.
Unfortunately Derby conceded a last minute goal, handing Nottingham Forest a 2-1 victory, leaving the 30,000 home supporters in shock and disbelief after having had a half time lead.
Despite the result, albeit a bitter pill to swallow, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Although it didn’t require or involve any management skills, it still gave a great insight into what it takes to entertain guests and the process that’s involved in laying on an event of this nature. I also think it’s important for any manager to have an understanding of all the departments and how it operates at all levels throughout an organisation. And I managed to watch the game for free!! #Bonus
I’m having another couple of days in the commercial department in a few weeks’ time and I’m looking forward to see and be involved in the work that goes on away from match days.