As part of Football in Berkshire’s regular interviews with those that make their football clubs tick, we spoke to Maidenhead United media officer Grace Scott about how she went from creating social media graphics to all that and designing and editing the match day programme.
Studying at University Campus of Football Business in London, Grace tells us how she got involved with Maidenhead United, the famous ‘Urry Updates’ and her dream FA Cup away day.
The full interview is below. You can also listen to Magpies supporter Steve Jinman discuss manager Alan Devonshire’s first spell in charge at York Road on the latest Berkshire Football Stories podcast.
Hello Grace, tell me a little bit about your role at Maidenhead United
I am the media officer which means I run all the social media accounts, make all the material that goes up and I am also the programme editor so I design and edit the programme on a matchday.
That’s quite a lot of responsibility, how on earth did you get involved in something like that?
Funny story, through a mutual friend, I got in contact with Neil Maskell at Maidenhead United, he’s obviously a key part of the staff there.
Neil helped me to work my way in to the club, I started off just making little graphics, if there was a goal, that sort of thing.
But as I started to attend games I just sort of kept helping out and building up my roles and ended where I am today.
That’s a very non league way of getting involved! As far as I understand you are doing a journalism course?
Yeah journalism degree at UCFB (University Campus of Football Business) based at Wembley Stadium. They have another campus in Manchester at the Etihad Stadium.
Clearly from your accent, you aren’t from Maidenhead so were they the first club you came across?
Yeah, obviously it’s quite close to Wembley so it is handy for me to get to travelling wise. I am actually from Rotherham so I moved down to London for uni and I wanted some experience so it has just worked out well!
Is this the sort of thing you wanted to do growing up?
100%! It is my dream job. Ever since I got in to football, I’ve always wanted to get involved in the media side of things at a club. So I am doing everything that I wanted to do!
What about working behind the scenes then? Obviously they are a National League clubs and that would perhaps suggest there are 100s of people working behind the scenes. What is it like?
To be honest, compared to other clubs we are, some people would say smaller, we have a lot of volunteers and it’s so good to see people doing things because they love the club. People really do love this club.
We’ve got people working on the turnstiles that have been doing for longer than some of the players have been there, it’s just nice to see but everyone is here because they love the club. It is a great environment to be involved in.
I’ve been invovled since the start of the 2018/19 season, the clubs second in the National League which was quite eventful. A big season for the club.
There were a few ups and downs weren’t there, a bit of a long losing streak.
Yes, before Christmas it was quite hard, as soon as that was over and done with though the players turned it around. We had Portsmouth from EFL League One which was a great occasion in the FA Cup.
Even just having the media team from Portsmouth, seeing what they do as well as the playing staff and fans, it was was great for me to see what we could aspire to maybe do in the future.
Listen to the Berkshire Football Stories Podcast as Steve Jinman discusses the Devonshire Years Part One:
How many people work on the Maidenhead media team?
That must almost be a full time job!
At the minute it’s a part time job, but really anything in the media is full time. You are checking your phone all the time. Constantly got it on me and checking if we’ve been mentioned in any comments or anything like that on social media. It is basically a full time job.
Back at home people must ask about Maidenhead?
Being from Rotherham, I am a huge Rotherham United fan so I always tell them what I am doing and how Maidenhead are doing. They do look out for the scores but a lot of people do ask me ‘where is Maidenhead’!
You’ve been through a couple of seasons now, what’s the biggest thing you have learned?
Probably how to turn a negative in to a positive, because that what working for a club media team is all about. You can’t really be negative, you are trying to get people to come to the games and be on your side and trying to turn when we lose games, it is so hard to find content but doing that doing this I have learned a bit about how to make our image a positive one, even when perhaps the results haven’t gone well.
The bad run last year for example, you can’t really turn on the players can you.
No definitely not. You have to post the full time score against Havant & Waterlooville when we lost 7-0. Some of the comments were negative but you have to take it on the chin, move on and try and say, ‘thank you for your support, you came down, the performance wasn’t what you expected but thank you for getting behind the team and stick with us!’
Now, lets talk about the Urry Updates, that’s where I first really noticed what was going on at Maidenhead and I know you have quite with an affinity with John [former kit man Jon Urry], what is he like?
I do. I can remember on my first day, I saw him and he was just so welcoming. He asked what I did. I did have to explain to him a bit about it and social media, and how important it is but he took to it straight away.
Me and Nathan, who was there last season, we both came up with the idea of getting him to sum up his thoughts. Obviously he is a fans favourite and it was just amazing. It was the highlight of my day being able to talk to him.
Is he a big miss this season?
We do miss him, the players miss him but Richard who has come in and taken over, it was always going to be hard to replace Jon and we never will, just the person he is and what he did for the club, he was Maidenhead United, but Richard has done brilliantly since he arrived. He’s been good with the players and fans and with me.
John still comes down to the games so it has worked out well.
You still get to see him on a matchday then?
Oh yes. He was there in the stand asking me what I was doing. We might try and get a chat sometime during the season.
In terms then of players, who are we looking out for at the moment?
I’ll say Josh Smile, I think a lot of fans would agree. He’s that sort of player who is nippy, quick on the ball and creative and I think the main difference for us than last year is we have goalscorers, we have different goalscorers, we’ve got players who can score from different positions and that was just something maybe we lacked last year.
We’re really optimistic about this year.
What are your plans for the future then, is Maidenhead going to be where you are based or are you looking to move up in the game?
Obviously I would like to move up in the game eventually, I am happy where I am and going in to my second year at uni so I still have two years of study, so it is working out well.
I don’t know where Maidenhead might be as a club in two years, that impacts whether I can stay and if there is a subject so it’s just take it as it comes at the moment.
What is your big hope for the rest of this season then?
I hope that we just carry on doing what we are doing on the pitch! It’s a great club to be around at the moment.
One last question, with the FA Cup on the horizon, I think you go in at the Fourth Qualifying Round, who would be your ideal opponents if they went on a bit of a run.
I’d take anywhere honestly, I think if it is away from home that probably goes in my favour so I can experience a new ground, I’d love Maidenhead to play Rotherham eventually though, I don’t know how likely that is but I’d love that!