WHO ARE YA? Matt Richardson, Sports Development Professional for Salford Community Leisure


Salford Lads Club

1) Who are ya?

Matt Richardson, 25 from Manchester

2) Who do you support?

I support Manchester United, it is the only team I have ever followed and have done so for 20 years.

3) What was your first game?

The first ever game I attended was Denis Irwin’s testimonial in August 2000. Although Irwin was at the back end of his career, it was fantastic to watch him live along with the other players.

4) What do you do for a job?

I am currently a Sports Development Professional. This involves working within communities and education aiming to improve social inclusion and rates of young people taking part in sport and physical activity. I run citywide and regional multi-sport competitions. Being able to give young people as many opportunities to try new sports is my main aim.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

I have played football at semi-pro level and now play Sunday league.

6) How did you get into it?

I was asked to come down over the pre-season and played for two seasons.

7) What do you get out of it?

My job role – being able to give young people as many opportunities to try new sports as possible, which is very rewarding.

Playing football – to be honest, what I got from playing was that semi-pro football wasn’t for me. The egos from players, who at 26/27 still thought they had an ‘Ian Wright’ chance of being picked up by a bigger club, used to frustrate me. The long match days; meeting before a game, meal before the game, play, drinks after the game. It was too regimented for what I was trying to get out of football, which was being able to play in a team with my friends and for it not to be taken too seriously.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

With regards to my job, volunteer and make connections. It is more rewarding than most. Seeing an event through from planning to delivery is fantastic and getting to work with a wide variety of people makes the role interesting every day.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

I would have aimed to take on more responsibility at a younger age, only now am I starting to see rewards for my hard work.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Heroes – Del Piero, Ronaldinho and Dennis Bergkamp. I was obsessed with their technical ability. The goals they have scored and such close control is something I was in awe of.