Megan Skinner

Marketing Manager at The Football Association (FA)
BA (Hons) Entertainment & Events Management,
2010-14

al-profile-meganskinner

From a GCU graduate with a love of football to becoming The Football Association’s Marketing Manager for the national teams – Megan Skinner shares what it is like to have a career in football.

What inspired you to have a career in football?

I’ve been a supporter all my life, heavily influenced by my Granny and Granda who always had it on in their house (on the TV or the wireless) and went to games at Parkhead regularly.

Growing up I was interested in more than just the results on the pitch. I enjoyed the build-up to kit launches, seeing the match programme designs and reading the contents cover to cover, as well as the crowd banners and spectacle of big games. Then later the growth of email and social media meant receiving news and content from teams direct rather than via the papers which I valued. As much as Henrik Larsson was my hero, I knew I would never be a footballer but wanted to be involved in the industry in some way. 

When I was really young I actually wanted to be part of the grounds team and the guys at West Brom made that dream come true when I got to help paint the lines on the pitch on the last day of the season a year or so ago.

Can you tell me more about your current role?

I work for The Football Association (FA) as Marketing Manager for the national teams. I work with departments and individuals across the organisation on campaigns, matches, and projects which also cover the teams’ involvement in major tournaments and competitions. We take some matches on the road and that means working alongside host Clubs like Manchester City which I find insightful to see how they approach their marketing.

What is it like to work in the football industry?

It’s a dream come true for me and as a fan, it can be a lot of fun and quite surreal.

Everyone says it, but no two days are the same so I could be on set for a photo shoot one day and then in the office working with our designers on artwork the next. I really enjoy variety so I’m never bored. For example, every time a team launches a kit or unveils a player in a way that catches attention, the bar on creativity and expectation is pushed. The fan in you gets excited and the professional in you is compelled to work harder and deliver better consistently.

What current projects are you working on and what impacts do/will they have?

A lot of my focus is on the Women’s World Cup which is happening this summer – it is a huge opportunity to show people what women can achieve in the sport and, hopefully it will inspire the next generation of players, coaches, and supporters.

What are your thoughts on the FIFA Women's World Cup?

It’s going to be fantastic for female footballers to be on a global stage, showing the world what they can do. Why have one world cup when you can have two? It’s brilliant that the full tournament will be broadcast on BBC. It’s extra special this year because Scotland qualified for the first time which is such a huge achievement. I hope people get behind the teams and are inspired to watch more women’s football on TV or in person. 

How do you feel about getting more women involved in football?

I welcome it in any capacity. We’re seeing more players than ever before but also more women are becoming coaches, referees, and officials. Copa90, the football media company, just appointed their first Global Executive Director of the women’s game, Rebecca Smith. Alex Scott is on fire right now as a pundit. I find it so encouraging for young girls to have visibility of the different career options within the sport.

What is your greatest professional achievement?

A few years ago I went out to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) headquarters in Switzerland representing the Scottish Football Association and took part in a discussion about the growth of the women’s game with colleagues from other national associations such as Iceland, Spain, and Italy. It was such an honour to be invited to do that and I appreciated the opportunity to share my insights, successes from Scotland and learn from everyone else and what they’d worked on in their countries.

How has your qualification aided you in how your career progressed since graduation?

It’s hugely helped, more so than ticking the ‘degree essential’ requirement for jobs. Studying for my degree gave me research skills which I use every day in work and because I can back up my ideas and suggestions with knowledge and insights, I’m a lot more confident doing so.

Added to that, the fact GCU required a certain number of hours of work experience to continue on to the third year of my course meant it wasn’t so daunting to leave academics and enter the world of work.

What type of impact do you want to make in the world?

It might sound like such a cliché but I have the Jock Stein “Football is nothing without fans” quote on my desk and in my mind constantly. I doubt I’ll ever make a huge impact in the world but having some contribution in helping football supporters access the sport they love and bringing new generations to the game is hugely rewarding.

What advice would you give current students and new graduates?

You might not get your dream job straight away but every role or experience is a step to getting you there. I used to sell pies and Bovril at the football on a Saturday which wasn’t my ideal role but it got a club on my CV, I learned about matchday and asked a lot of questions. Don’t be short-sighted, keep going and don’t be disheartened if it takes a little bit longer than you thought it would. My Gran used to say ‘Whit’s fur ye wilny go by ye’ and I firmly believe that.

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