Brian Matovu

Job title Club Link Officer

Employer Arsenal Football Club

Brian is the Club Link Officer for Arsenal FC and gives us an insight into his career in the football industry

Can you tell us about your current role? club link officer

As a Club Link Officer, I am responsible for building up the relationship between the Men/Women’s First Team and Academy teams with community work. Additionally, I cover matches for Arsenal’s Academy teams on an ad-hoc basis whenever they need me.

What are your main responsibilities?

  • Work with club and community department colleagues to develop a Player Engagement Action Plan that sets out the involvement of Academy Scholars, Development Squad players, and Arsenal Men’s and Women’s Team in Arsenal’s community programmes.
  • Lead Arsenal in the Community’s social media posts on Instagram and Twitter.
  • Attend sessions/workshops and contribute to their delivery of them.

Explain a typical week in terms of how you break down your time?

A typical week for me would start off with me visiting London Colney on a Monday morning. I would work from there for the whole day so that the academy players are able to ask me questions related to community work and allow me to build personal relationships with them. Additionally, we have our meetings on Mondays where I am able to give updates to the wider staff team at Colney on what we have going in the Community and how they can also get involved in our work.

For the rest of the week, I am based at the Emirates Stadium and this is where I will be in charge of our social media output. For example, if a player has visited a session at The Arsenal Hub, I will be on hand to promote it on our platforms and capture the footage. Additionally, I am the link to wider opportunities within the community team at times. For example, I organised a trip for 10 of our participants to go to the French embassy and meet Arsenal legends, Arsene Wenger and Patrick Vieira.

Alongside this, I am always in contact with our sessional and delivery leaders on how we can get academy and first-team players involved in our work and how they can help to highlight any specific campaigns that are important to us.

Tell us a bit about your career path to this point and key tips for career progression

My story is quite obscure. I initially started with a degree in Accounting and Finance at the University of Birmingham and graduated with a 2:1 in 2019. However, I realised that I was not interested in working in that field with anywhere near the same passion as I was for working in sport. So, I decided to do some research and I came across UCFB and saw that they were offering a Masters in Sports Business Management. When I went to the open day and spoke to lecturers, it was the first time I had ever known about opportunities in sport other than playing and coaching.

I eventually did the course which was an overview of the business side of sport which included, sports media, finance, governance, community, operations, marketing, etc., and through doing this course, I knew that sport was the only destination for me. Throughout the year, I was able to do placements at Leyton Orient Football Club and at Major Events International.

I finished the course in 2020, but due to COVID it was difficult to get a job so I was doing some retail work finally I got a break in 2021, working at Tottenham as Premium Memberships Assistant. I then moved on to Sport Industry Group where I was the Content and Marketing Executive. After my short-term contract ended, I was one of the two inaugural participants of the Chelsea Foundation and Black Collective of Media in Sport (BCOMS) partnership that funded me to complete my NCTJ in Multimedia Sports Journalism at News Associates from February this year until July. I had the opportunity to do live match reporting, learn the core principles of writing articles, and understand media law, and social media.

After completing the course, I saw the job at Arsenal, applied and thankfully got the role!

What skills and knowledge do you need in your role?

  • Communication skills
  • Understanding of social media
  • Knowledge of football/Arsenal

What opportunities are there in your industry for young people?

  • Social Media
  • Journalism
  • Legal/Governance
  • Football Operations
  • Production

What are you looking for when it comes to recruiting? What makes people stand out?

  • Having your own platform whether that be a website, portfolio, social media, blog etc.
  • Being creative and having lots of ideas
  • Willingness to learn

What advice would you tell young students with an interest in sport and keen to pursue a career in sport?

I would tell them that it is important to make sure you are always busy building up your own personal brand and profile. For example, setting up your own business/platform, starting a blog, or podcast, volunteering in sports, and going to networking events. Organisations love it when you have a side hustle or are doing things outside your working hours.

What was the best advice you were given?

  • Always believe in yourself
  • Never be afraid to try something new
  • Be patient, the right job will come to you eventually.
  • Network, network, and network!

3 great things about working in your industry

  1. In a football environment
  2. The work I am doing is impactful within the wider community
  3. Opportunities to learn new skills in other departments

3 challenging things about working in your industry

  1. Hard to get First team and Academy players down to sessions due to their schedule
  2. There is a lot to learn and get your head around
  3. Ad-hoc hours! Be prepared to work past 5 pm!