Position: Liaison Officer
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
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
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.