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If you were to ask most football fans “who contributes most to your club” then you would often be given the response of a player’s or manager’s name.

However, behind the scenes there are jobs in football that often go unnoticed and yet arguably they contribute the most to a club’s success.

An instant where this is especially seen is in non-league football, where most clubs are made up of a community of volunteers who commit their off time to helping the club.

Brockenhurst FC are one of those many clubs made up of these volunteers. Situated in the ninth tier of English football, the club does not have the luxuries of most football league clubs and yet it runs as well as any other.

The club secretary, Matt Parfect, a postman by day spoke to me about all things associated with the job and how busy it really makes him. Furthermore, he explains more about his previous job within the FA and how it compares to the world of non-league football.

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Working at the FA may seem to people like a daunting job, the Football Association for the entire country yet Parfect explains how he felt it was not like this.

“To me working at the FA was fine, I did lots of jobs, Head of Discipline, Head of Refereeing, County Cup Co-ordinator & County Rep Side Co-ordinator.

“I just felt it was a great job working with some great people.”

To some, this may seem like the perfect job for a football fan and so many may question Parfect’s actions to go from being at the center of some of the biggest football decisions to working as a volunteer at a non-league football club.

“They relocated to Basingstoke which made my day a 120-mile round trip. 

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Lots of extra time each day out of my house so I took voluntary redundancy and became a postman working a couple of minutes down the road,” said Parfect.

With Parfect leaving his job at the FA to become a postman it now means that he has to balance his time with family his regular job and working at Brockenhurst.

“I shouldn’t say this, but I answer the phone, emails etc when I am at work. 

“My paperwork is all done when I get home. 

“The only balancing I have to do is keeping my wife happy at home with homelife, said Parfect.

With Parfect ending 15 years of service at the FA to work in non-league football, how does it differ from working at the FA.

“Well, my job involves everything possible to do with paperwork, setting up matches, entering who played every match, sorting out discipline fines, referees expenses.

“I have to do the paperwork on the Transfers. Firstly giving the team a Notice of Approach and then if we are successful in getting the player I then have to get the Transfer Form signed and entered onto the Whole Game System.

“As for the hardest part of the job at the moment it’s doing the Matchday Programmes as they are very time-consuming,” said Parfect.

It is clear there is a lot of work involved within the work of a secretary at any level and Parfect proved he is certainly dedicated to the job when he won the Wyvern League Secretary of the Year award for the 2017/18 season.

“I guess I won the Secretary of the year award for the Wyvern League as I updated our team details straight after each match and we never got fined for anything so that was why we won it. 

“For me I was honoured but the Team Manager Chris Groves also played his part in me winning the award.  Hopefully this Season I go one better and win the Wessex League Award.

“Whilst I do feel appreciated by Brock I’m not sure they know everything I do and how much work it is for me to do,” said Parfect.

Going from one working environment to another is always difficult but in the case of Parfect, what was it like moving from such an involved working environment to a more community based one.

“The working environment at the FA was very good but with all the new positions coming into operation we outgrew the office we had in Southampton and they relocated to Basingstoke. 

“Working in the non-league involves lots of friendly people all trying to do their best for the club they support or help out at. 

“Nearly everyone gets on, but you do get the odd people who fall out from time to time.

“I don’t really have best moments during my job at Brockenhurst but just feeling good working in a great team of people who all strive to do the best that they can with their knowledge of non-league football,” said Parfect.

Parfect’s job shows just how tough working in football really is and yet how rewarding it can be. From balancing time in his regular job as a postman whilst working in non-league football to spending time with his family.

It is clear to see the passion he has for non-league football and shows how much of a community non-league can be.

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June 2024