Last week, we interviewed Dean Houston, who has spent the year at Inver Park as a Marketing Assistant as part of his university degree. Next up to discuss why he loves Larne Football Club is Ross McWilliams, who shares the role of Marketing Assistant with Dean.
What’s your name and what is your role at Larne Football Club?
My name is Ross McWilliams and I am currently on my university placement as a Marketing Assistant at Larne.
What do you do within your role on a daily basis at the club?
As part of the marketing team, I am involved in a wide variety of tasks which often change on a weekly basis. During a typical week, a lot of my work involves helping to create engaging content for our social media platforms. Doing this involves selecting topics we wish to cover, brainstorming ideas individually and then throwing ideas at each other in order to decide on the best ideas. These content ideas are then handed over to our excellent team of media volunteers to be brought to life. The marketing department works very closely with the General Manager, Niall Curneen, who we speak with on a daily basis about all aspects of the club.
Individually, I am responsible for creating analysis reports for our match sponsors as part of their commercial package. In these reports’ sponsors can see how many people have seen posts with their corporate branding as well as how many have interacted with these posts. I am also responsible for organising mascots for our home games. This task normally involves receiving a request from a parent who wants their child to be a mascot and from here I will co-ordinate the arrangements with them in the lead up to the game.
My other tasks include creating post-campaign analysis reports for our match sponsors, which they receive as part of their commercial package. These reports can be quite time consuming and involve research on how many people have seen and engaged with our social media posts with their branding attached.
With matchdays being different, what would you do during home game at Inver Park?
Matchdays tend to be very busy at Inver Park! The two main tasks for which I’m responsible for are the Brighter Futures Shirt Swap and as mentioned previously, mascots.
The first thing I do when I get into the office is make sure that all the Shirt Swap equipment is ready for our volunteers to use whenever they arrive. My focus would then shift towards our mascots who will arrive roughly half an hour before kick-off. From this point, I will take them down to pitchside for photos with players before lining each child up to walk out with their chosen player. After each mascot has been returned to their parent/guardian, I will wrap up the Shirt Swap and hand the winning ticket over to the PA team.
During the game, I am part of the team which co-ordinates any half-time entertainment on the pitch. At full-time, the marketing and media teams will meet up and ensure all post-match media obligations are completed.
How did you get involved with Larne Football Club?
As part of my university degree, I was required to complete one year of work placement. After sending my applications to many advertised roles and not hearing anything back, I heard through a friend that Larne Football Club had been taking on students the previous year. I got in contact with the club and asked if there was any roles available and after several conversations with Chris Liddle, I began my placement in June 2019 and I must say it was one of the best choices I have ever made! The experience and skills which I have gained during my time at Inver Park has been second to none and I really appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given.
Do you have another job outside of Larne FC? If so, what are they ad what do they involve?
Currently, I am working as a Porter and Sales Assistant at ASDA Larne. This role includes till management, re-stocking the store and much more. The job differs vastly from my placement at the club, but I enjoy it! I normally work long weeks, but Larne have been very accommodating and allow a balance between both jobs.
Once my placement ends, I will be going into the final year of my degree in September and have no doubt that my time here will help my studies in the future!
Do you find it easy to manage your other commitments along with your role at the club, and how do you do it?
Due to the ongoing demand on retail, I am working roughly 35 hours per week at ASDA, but I would normally work less hours than this. Niall and Chris are very accommodating and recognise the need to balance both roles. Finding the balance can be difficult but in the end, both are very rewarding!
And finally, why do you love the club and what motivates you to carry out your role at Larne Football Club?
Seeing the rise of the club over the past few years has been brilliant and I feel privileged to have played a small part in that. My placement year has shown me firsthand just how much the community spirit has grown and it feels like the whole town is pushing in one direction together. To think that three seasons ago we were fighting for survival at the bottom of the Championship and are now pushing for European nights at Inver Park is just staggering!