WHO ARE YA? Amar Shah, World Cup Legends

Image1.  Who are ya?
Amar Shah, born and bred in the North West, currently living in the East Midlands, working in London.
2.  Who do you support?
Manchester United (insert first sarcastic response that comes to mind here!)
 
3.  What was your first game?
I think it was in the late 90s, a Champions League match (unfortunately I had to become an adult before I could actually get to my first live game, before that the stadium tour was as good as it got for me!).  It was a routine win for United and I remember Solskjaer getting on the score sheet.  Those were better times!
4.  What do you do for a job?
Work Life
 – Work in the banking industry specialising in Risk Management
Personal Life
 – Creator of the World Cup Legends project (www.wclegends.com)
 – Voluntary fundraiser for various charities
 – Voluntary football coach (FA Level 2 qualified)
5.  Have you played/worked for any football clubs?
I’m afraid I wasn’t good enough as a kid to make the grade on the football pitch, but that didn’t stop me playing.
In one of my previous work roles I supported the commercial team by hosting overseas competition winners and suppliers as part of our corporate relationship with Manchester United.  It involved visiting United’s training complex at  Carrington and taking part in player Q&As, coordinating stadium tours and corporate hospitality on match days.
Most recently, my World Cup Legends project has brought me into contact with a number of clubs such as FC Bayern Munich, Manchester City FC and the Spanish National Team.
6.  How did you get into it?
World Cup Legends:
When I was a kid, I had a dream of collecting World Cup match balls and one day meeting my World Cup heroes.  A few years ago I got hold of a World Cup ball collection from 1970-2010 and so I started to see if I could make the dream a reality and I succeeded.  24 World Cup winners from the past 40 years signed up, from Pele to Xavi.
So far I’ve raised c.£2000 for charities through my project – www.justgiving.com/teams/wclchallenge
7.  What do you get out of it?
A great buzz and sense of achievement!  I love football and if there’s an opportunity to combine that passion with helping others then I’m there whenever possible.  I’ve also learned some great skills through my project too, such as web development and social media marketing.
8. What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?
I try to apply the same advice in the work place and in my personal projects, that is ‘work smart, think smart’.  There’s no bigger advocate/stumbling block to what you can achieve than yourself.  Oh and talk to people.  A lot!
9.  If you could do it all again what would you change?
I wish I’d got into the football industry when I was younger and possibly took a study path which would’ve increased my chances of getting into the industry.  I’m currently considering the possibility of a career switch from banking to football but its not going to be easy!
10.  Who’s your footballing hero?
Diego Armando Maradona, the hero/villain of my first World Cup memories as a kid, Mexico 86.
Twitter – @worldcuplegends
Many thanks, Amar. All the best with the plans for the exhibition.

You can’t half buy some shite in the Fulham Club Shop…

The Who Ate All The Pies 2013 Christmas Gift Guide brought this to my attention:

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The Fulham FC £1 pack of plasters!

The club’s bleeding you white, Fulham fans.

What other Fulham FC- branded shite can you buy I wondered… So I Googled “fulham plasters” and this is what came up in the image search:

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Tri-fold golf towel – £12.99

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Putter cover, although it seems to be out of stock unfortunately.

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2-ply tissues, so you can blow your nose on the badge of the team you love (toilet paper not available Chelsea fans although you could re-purpose the tissues of course)…

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Plug your bath with this novelty duck in Fulham colours. £4.99

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Sometimes, words fail me…

That’s Christmas sorted then…

WHO ARE YA? Joanna Fisher, Head of Operations at Bollo Football School of Excellence

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Joanna Fisher, Head of Operations at Bollo Football School of Excellence

1) Who are ya?

I am Joanna Fisher, I have lived in London all my life and know it like the back of my hand. I love the versatility and diversity of the Capital. I love the banter and the people who come from all walks of life and enjoy life! I love communicating whether talking or writing. I also spend a lot of time with family in Italy on the coast. I absolutely love it there.

2) Who do you support?

I am a third generation Arsenal supporter, my late grandfather who was from near Camden and my father who was Sports Editor of the Daily Mirror for many years left me with no choice but to support the Gunners. For a short while my father lived in the same road as Highbury and I grew up fully in the world of football.

3) What was your first game?

I was first taken to Highbury when I was four years old! Rather shamefully I have never been to the Emirates as I am always too busy, although one of the greatest Arsenal players who I know did invite me recently.

4) What do you do for a job?

I am Head of Operations at Bollo Football School of Excellence. It has been running as a successful community football club in West London for over 13 years with the aim of getting less privileged kids off the streets, coached and playing in leagues. They get some help from charities including Help a London Child. They have mentors and in the whole time it has been running only 3 have got into crime which is amazing. Some of the kids have gone on to play semi pro and pro also. It is always a huge bonus to discover talent which I enjoy doing a bit of scouting.

I was headhunted in the summer this year to take things to another level with the introduction of more structured coaching, fixtures at semi pro and pro academies, we recently played against Reading FC Academy our U12 who were buzzing at the experience and how well they were welcomed. I am also helping to set up Post 16 courses so the kids are given a good start in life with education like BTEC and NVQ whereas they may not be doing so well in school or supported at home.

We have been talking to teams and clubs abroad also to create tournaments and exchanges which is such an exciting opportunity. The job keeps me so busy but I absolutely love the fact we are working hard to support those less well off in the community.

The man who set up Bollo, Huey Reid is amazing. He has devoted 13 years to helping the kids in West London and they and I all respect him enormously in the community. He has put his heart and soul into community football and I respect him enormously.

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

I have never worked for any clubs but most days I am communicating with contacts at various clubs and spreading the word about Bollo or dashing about to meetings.

6) How did you get into it?

I was working at another football academy which I helped to set up and scout kids from London into professional coaching and fixtures including Charlton, Reading, Sunderland and Manchester City. I enjoyed getting to know all the kids and families and watch them live the dream. Everyone wants to be a footballer. It is their passion. But it goes without saying that it is so important to keep the kids realism in touch and support their education and career as so few actually make it. I spend hours with the families supporting them.

7) What do you get out of it?

I love working in football. Seeing the kids turn up and forget their problems while they live out their passion. Football is a real leveller in society. I have met so many amazing people who are passionate about youth development and its importance in the game. How it needs to be updated in the UK and more investment made into our home-grown players of the future. The talent is out there in this country. It just needs to be found early enough and structured coaching given and experience playing regular games through the teens so our players can rival European and other foreign young players that get snapped up by the big clubs.

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

I would always advise people to think long and hard about what job they really feel passionate about so that it never feels like hard work! Hard work and thinking outside the box, putting in the extra effort and enjoying it is so important.

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

If I could do it all again I would possibly have got more qualifications! But my love of communication seems to have helped me along the way.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Pele. Simply a fantastic player but also a great humanitarian.