Keystone logo

How is Student Life as a Football Business Student Working at Wembley?

Scoring in the Champions League or World Cup final is the dream of millions of girls and boys around the world. Alas, only a select few of us are lucky enough to get this opportunity. But the good news is that there thousands of exciting roles in the dynamic and constantly evolving business of football behind the scenes for students and graduates to study and work in. We heard from one student, University Campus of Football Business student Max Fleet, doing just this.

Sep 6, 2023
  • Education
How is Student Life as a Football Business Student Working at Wembley?

As a BA (Hons) Football Business & Finance student, Max Fleet has jumped right in to the sports industry alongside his studies. A Commercial and Marketing Executive at Wembley FC, and Head of Commercial and Marketing Operations for a CONIFA match last month, he's now earned a prestigious position at Euro 2020, where he will have a front row seat at Wembley as Merchandise Assistant. Here, he explains his role at the Euros, Wembley FC’s new league, and his time at UCFB Wembley so far…

Congratulations on your new role at Euro 2020! What does it involve?

My role as a Merchandise Assistant at Euro 2020 involves engaging with a large number of football fans, alongside the general public, to maximise merchandise sales for the tournament matches at Wembley, including both semi-finals and the final. Not only does this allow me to build upon my sales experience, but once again expands my connections and networks within the football industry.

How does it feel to be a part of this great tournament?

Playing a small role in a major international tournament is such an amazing feeling. Euro 2020 matches at Wembley prepare to welcome the largest audiences in the UK since the COVID-19 lockdowns, meaning the atmosphere inside the stadium is going to be incredible. Hopefully England are able to pull through and bring it home!

What does your position as Commercial and Marketing Executive at Wembley FC entail?

I first started at Wembley FC back in October 2020 as Commercial and Digital Communications Assistant, but quickly realised that the club didn't have too much of an organised structure for their commercial and marketing activities, with social media accounts not utilised to their full potential and limited numbers of volunteers that could help with these operations. Myself, alongside our other Commercial and Marketing Executive and UCFB student Luke Godfrey, naturally used our initiative to fill these positions and bring more organisation and structure to these roles.

Since joining, we have formed professional relationships with longstanding volunteers and professionals at the club, including the owner and chairman Brian Gumm, president Peter Sutton and manager Ian Bates, alongside many others. Luke, myself and the rest of the team are now responsible for marketing the club through our official social media channels, creating innovative and unique content that sees us as one of the top teams in our new league in terms of fan engagement. We are also now seeking to enhance the commercial and financial position of the club by creating brand partnerships and sponsorships by taking advantage of any opportunities possible, with the club hosting BT Sport just a few weeks ago to film an advert/promotional video for the recent FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.

How do you market a club most people associate with the iconic Wembley Stadium?

Linked to the previous point, it would be correct to say that most people (football fans included) often confuse Wembley FC with the famous Wembley Stadium, and I have actually received a number of messages via LinkedIn and email with people asking about this. Our team have simply tried to use this to our advantage, by offering followers and audiences unique content that can easily be consumed, meaning that even if people start to follow us by accident, then they will continue to show their support as they enjoy our fun but professional style of production.

Having "feet in both doors" in both UCFB Wembley and Wembley FC at Vale Farm, we of course have ambitions to grow our audiences as much as possible (to be as successful as the former organisation) and have put in a considerable amount of time to do so. To aid this, we have focused both commercial and marketing efforts within the local Wembley and Brent community, by running social campaigns such as ‘12 days of Wembley FC’, ‘Children's mental health week at Wembley FC’ and even competing in the ‘Virtual FA Cup’ on Twitter, reaching the quarter-finals of the competition. These events always help to increase brand exposure and awareness of Wembley FC, as we try to create partnerships with as many businesses and individuals as possible.

What skills and knowledge have you been able to take from your Football Business & Finance degree into the positions?

I have learned a considerable amount of theory from my Football Business and Finance degree at UCFB, and my work placements at Wembley FC and short-term placement as Head of Commercial and Marketing Operations for a CONIFA International Exhibition match have allowed me to gain practical experience in a professional environment, hence complimenting my studies. Within the two years of my degree, I have so far completed modules surrounding the international football business industry, teaching me about the business operations of top-level football clubs, the nature of football fans and consumers, learning how to prepare marketing campaigns, and of course financial and management accounting, so dealing with annual reports and budgetary planning. All of these are relevant to and helpful in my current placements.

My placement at Wembley FC has also helped me to shape a dissertation proposal for my final year of study at UCFB, focusing on the commercial activities of professional football clubs and how corporate financial performance can be statistically related to corporate social responsibility.

How does it feel to have a major tournament played where you attend lectures and seminars?

Thankfully, I was lucky enough to receive a stadium tour at the UCFB Open Day I attended, meaning I was able to directly view where the players prepare themselves pre-match, and their routes in and out of the stadium, alongside the walk down the tunnel. After the stadium tour we also visited the corporate boxes within the central ring of the stadium bowl, which is where the UCFB lectures and seminars are held. To think that these areas will now be hosting the officials and corporate businesses for the Euros is crazy, as in just a few month’s time we will all be back in those exact seats to resume study! Like every single other England fan out there, I'm incredibly excited for the tournament and feel extremely privileged to be working so close to the centre of the action.

Having gained this role via UCFB's JobTeaser site, it really demonstrates the usefulness of the university's network and I am sure that there will be many future events published for other UCFB students to become involved with!

What advice would you give to students thinking about studying at UCFB in the future?

When I first applied to UCFB I was unsure which path I was interested in taking within the industry, and was concerned that I may be making the wrong decision. Two years ahead and I can now say joining UCFB was one of the best decisions within my career, the sports specific degrees are unique and open up a world of opportunities for progression later in life.

Some people sometimes argue to me that the football specific or sports specific degrees are too concentrated on one single element, but I now know that this is exactly the place you want to be if you want to work within the football industry, simply due to the large number of useful connections and partnerships that the university hold with sports organisations.

Article written in association with University Campus of Football Business (UCFB).

Find your perfect program

Use our search to find and compare programs from universities all over the world!

UCFB x GIS
Joel Durston

Author

Content Manager at Keystone Education Group, living and working in Oslo, Norway. I love helping prospective international students find their dream degree, university, and study destination through articles like these and social media. Outside of work, I enjoy sports, especially football and racket sports, and seeing the world.