Stu, fill us in on what you’ve been doing since you left Spartans in the Summer of 2019?
So I initially left on a full-time contract at Durham Cricket, but soon after it was clear that environment wasn’t the best for me so I upped sticks and moved with the family to Yorkshire to work for a Sports content agency providing content for UEFA, Heineken Champions Cup Rugby, World Curling, Triathlon and a load of other sports. Been in the role for two and a bit years an enjoying it, but unfortunately means I can’t attend much football these days.
Before joining Blyth you’d been with the likes of Koast FM and Morpeth Town as well as few other projects. What made you take on the role as Media Manager in the summer of 2017?
For me, it was the status of the club and the progression of people who have worked in the media team under the tutelage of club legend Phil Castiaux, I was still building my CV with experience at the time and when the Head of Media role came up I had to apply. I was just trying to do as much as I could to get a foothold in sports media. I was blessed with plenty of talented media team members to work with as well so the role was made easy.
When you joined Blyth you said “I see my role as one to help the development of media team at Croft Park and give them the best opportunity to succeed as individuals” and it’s safe to say achieved that. How pleased are you to see most of the other lads go on to succeed in journalism?
It’s a testament to the lads work ethic and talent that they have all excelled at what they wanted to do. I’ve seen media personnel in non-league take on every single job at a club, whether by choice or by lack of volunteers, and you can’t dedicate your time to it all and expect to produce high-class content in all areas. You have to trust the people around you and I definitely could do that with the likes of Joe Cooper, Alex Fawcett, Jordan Cronin, Glen Maxwell, Connor Bromley and all those who were involved. It’s their own talents that got them where they are, and I love seeing what they are doing now.
Under your reign Blyth produced some top quality media work. What would you say was your proudest/biggest achievement at Spartans?
I know it got a mixed reaction, but I enjoyed putting the Sensible World of Spartans stuff together, designing the graphics and implementing the idea. Sure it didn’t work, but you learn more from the things that don’t work than the successes. The implementation of the 1,000 fan initiative worked wonders as well. Oh and GoalCam/DugoutCam.
Any interesting or funny stories you can reveal from behind the scenes?
Leyton Orient away, Mr Cronin and I bought Krispy Kreme’s at the services. I, like any sensible individual ate mine almost immediately, but the little hoarding hamster of a man that is Cronin saved his for the morning after the overnight stay. He left them in the hotel room for the cleaner. Fast forward, I tweet Krispy Kreme saying Cronin left donuts in his room, they send him a voucher for 12. Did he share them with me, did he f**k. Pretty sure that was the biggest rift in the club that season.
Shamelessly steeling this from Jord’s Q&A but, what advice would you give to anyone getting involved in football media, especially at non/league level?
Simple, it’s not about you as a media man (well, other than this Q and A), it’s about the team, the players, the management, the club, don’t make it all about yourself.
What would be your dream job in journalism?
A job with England Cricket would be the dream, touring the world while watching sport, what more could you want?
What do you think the biggest hurdle was that you had to overcome at Spartans in your time as Media Manager?
I think a couple of times a media release would appear on the website that hadn’t been run by the media team, that was frustrating but it did earn me my first twitter troll which was amusing. We as a media team wanted to ensure the copy was clean when it went on the website, and when a release goes up that we haven’t been able to check is reflects badly on us.
Lastly, how would you like to see the club improve in the near future and what changes would you like to see?
BRING BACK GOALCAM! I look at the club now as a fan and would love to see the lads pick up and secure safety this system. I think the implementation of the U18/U19 sides with TyneMet has been a huge positive in recent years and the sustained development of players through the ranks will be key to clubs success going forward. I, like everyone, would love to see further investment in the club, but not doubt the economic situation of the country will hamper investment into the squad. I’d also like to see more engagement with fans – the Deadpool banner shows how the fans base can unite behind a project. Perhaps further fan representation on the board would help push the club forward.