Q&A: Nick Perchard of Hertfordshire Football Association
PUBLISHED: 16:12 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:17 20 February 2013
Nick Perchard, chief executive of Hertfordshire Football Association, talks to Louise McEvoy about grassroots football, the challenges the FA faces, and what has him in awe
How long have you been chief executive of Hertfordshire FA and what does your role involve?
I took up the role in January and it's been a case of finding my feet and understanding the challenges the county faces. Whilst all county FAs perform the same role they all do so in a slightly different way and they all face entirely different obstacles, so it's been a fascinating eight months. The key to the role is leading the business, which entails business planning, financial management, staff management and dealing with queries that come in. I'm also the key link between the professional side of the organisation and the volunteer workforce.
Describe a typical work day.
There is no such thing as a typical day in this job. I regularly drive to work planning to do one thing and arrive to find there has been a major incident at a match, or there's a key decision that has to be made. In any one day I can go from answering straightforward rules queries, to speaking to national newspapers about a match, to dealing with a staff emergency.
What are the main aims of the FA?
In 2008 the FA produced its four-year strategy with the basic aims of encouraging people to start, stay and succeed in the game. We produced our own strategy to put this into a local context and all staff have a role to play in delivering this strategy.
How do you go about achieving these aims?
Our administration team focuses on running the game, so they administer our competitions, provide referees for cup matches and work with our clubs and leagues to ensure their discipline is of a high standard. Our priority is to support clubs but, unfortunately, we also have the important task of imposing penalties when rules have been broken. We also have a development team which works with partners to help form new teams and support existing teams. The team works to ensure everyone feels they can participate in the game, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, disability or ability.
What aspect of your role most interests you?
My favourite part of the job is interacting with our members. Grassroots football can only run because of the enormous efforts of volunteers throughout the county, so I'm always in awe of the individuals who sacrifice so much of their time for the good of the game.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
I'd like to think that I'm a dynamic individual who is determined to listen and understand the needs of grassroots football in Hertfordshire so that we can provide the best possible service to our members.
Describe your perfect day.
One where nothing goes wrong! I dream of the day when I can go into work with a plan to complete a big task and I'm actually able to do it because nothing urgent has occurred overnight. The day would be topped off with a Watford FC win.
Tell the reader something about yourself which may surprise them.
I'm the youngest county FA chief executive ever.
Which one place in Hertfordshire would you advise a stranger to the area to visit?
I couldn't possibly pick out one bit of this brilliant county. I'd advise anyone to explore the county because it's so diverse. You can go from the lovely historic city of St Albans to rolling hills in minutes, travelling through beautiful market towns and villages along the way.