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Gone but not forgotten:
Glen Calverley
Position: Liaison Officer
From: 1998
To: 2004
He was: The right man for the job

Glen was the face of Watford's community operation. Personally, I am surprised that Glen has been "let go" by the club - in the harsh financial climate that football clubs find themselves in, it shouldn't be such a shock, but it is.

I first met Glen when I helped to organise the CityOrns group in London. Glen came down to our regular meeting place, a pub in the heart of the City, and not only explained his role in the club and the local community but answered plenty of tough questions in an amicable and informative way. You couldn't help but be impressed by his openess and willingness to talk with fans. Certainly the right man for the job.

I know Glen went and visited other regional supporters groups and helped to provide a really positive conduit between the club and fans. One or two supporter groups were especially lucky when he brought the play-off trophy with him!

As far as I am aware, the only other club with a similar outreach employee at the time was Charlton. Not bad company to keep.

Glen also helped out with tickets for the Fans Forums - often at short notice - but greatly appreciated by those CityOrns who decided a day or two in advance that they'd like to go! When he needed fans to help out with a forum devoted to the quality of Watford's matchday cuisine, we helped out getting along a few of our pie-eating, coffee and tea drinking members! Not the most interesting of meetings, but if we could help the club out we were glad to do so.

When the idea of a Supporters Trust was floated, Glen in his community role couldn't have been more supportive. At the time the clubs fans were represented by a myriad of active supporters groups like WISA, Norfolk Orns, CityOrns, South West Orns etc, Glen saw a role for a trust with the club, indeed encouraged the fans to form a trust, as he had seen the positive impact of trusts at other clubs.

Amazingly, Glen was often the only Watford representative at Supporters Direct conferences and events - well in advance of the Watford Trust launching. Having someone at the club who understood and knew first hand of some remarkable achievents of fans throughout the country and understood the benefits of providing genuine democratic fan representation was very useful.

To cut a long story short, Glen helped to pave the way with the club for the Watford Trust - something that I am very grateful for. Whereas at other clubs fans groups are kept at arm's length, at Watford we are fortunate that is not the case - a large part is due to the work of Glen and his team. Indeed at a couple of fans forums, Glen arranged for me to speak about the launch of a trust at the club. Moreover, Tim Shaw, the club's Chief Executive, was very well informed about trusts and warm to a Watford trust being launched; I am certain that was in no small part due to Glen's input.

The community operation is at the heart of what makes Watford a special club for many fans. Glen was involved in Watford's schools scheme whereby empty parts of the ground were filled by thousands of kids and their parents - something that brings a wry smile to many seasoned fans!

I am currently working in Hemel, it is genuinely heartening talking with people who first saw Watford courtesy of the schools scheme - many of whom, even if they don't attend too matches now, still have a soft spot for the club. In an age dominiated by the hype of Premiership football, having an effective scheme to capture young supporters' affinity for their local club is essential to the clubs future.

With the present difficult financial climate for the game, there is an obvious need for prudence, however whether the loss of such an experienced member of staff is a good thing, particularly with the importance of community to the club, is open to debate. It will be of great interest to see how the role of the community officer will be filled and who will pick up the organising role for supporter groups and fan forums.

With Glen's immediate departure, the club will be the poorer for his loss. Hopefully, he will plough a new and productive furrow soon and perhaps will join the fans on the terraces in the near future.

Peter Wilson