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Life with the Lions

STRIVING: James

RAY JAMES and Marc Elliott are both regular fixtures at Millwall Football Club. James is the club’s Commercial Director and Elliott is the Championship side’s Millwall for All development manager.

The pair’s good work has seen them nominated for the Black List Awards which take place next week. The Voice of Sport (TVOS) caught up with both men recently.

TVOS: What does your job entail?

RJ: As the commercial director of the club my role is to maximise the growth of revenue streams within the areas of partnerships and sponsorship, digital media, merchandising licensing, and ticketing and corporate sales. A large part of my role is to build and maintain strong relationships at a senior level with existing partners and suppliers. I am also responsible for all marketing associated with the Millwall brand.

ME: As the Millwall for All development manager my aim is to engage black and ethnic minorities and people with disabilities from the boroughs of Lewisham and Southwark in all Millwall activities.

TVOS: What are the plus points of your job?

RJ: The opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the business and seeing projects we have implemented have a positive impact in the club’s success.

ME: Being able to engage people that have not connected with Millwall before and seeing them become entwined with the club just like anyone else.

TVOS: Have you had to overcome negative stereotypes while working at Millwall?

RJ: At Millwall we continue to constantly strive to overcome negative stereotypes. The reality of the club is very different to the lazy stereotype that is still too often portrayed in the media. Within the football industry and local community there is a much more balanced and accurate view of the club.


NOMINATED: Elliot

ME: I’m always trying to make people aware of the good work that Millwall are doing as our positive work does not always get promoted all over the country.

TVOS: Black people in football administration has progressed. Why is that?

RJ: In the fifteen years that I have been involved in sports administration and marketing I have seen an increase in the numbers of black people working around me. Many black people now feel confident enough to pursue a career in football administration. This may be simply because attitudes in wider society are changing and black people are now primarily seen for their skills and not their heritage.

ME: With initiatives like Kick it Out, Show Racism the Red Card and the work we are doing at Millwall, football is moving in the right direction. I think that football needs all communities to work together as a team to progress, just like the players work together on the pitch.

TVOS: On a match day at The Den are you present and if so, what are you doing?

RJ: More often than not I will be at the stadium, either with sponsors or partner organisations, or with potential sponsors.

ME: Most match days I come as a supporter, however I am responsible for co-ordinating Millwall’s Kick it Out match in October and community match in March. This involves pre-match and half-time activities that showcase Millwall’s equalities programmes over the season. The whole club gets behind the initiatives particularly from the chairman Andy Ambler and players.

TVOS: Come next May where do you expect the club to finish in the Championship?

RJ: With our current squad and management, the top six should be possible, but within the top ten would be more realistic.

ME: Every football club wants to win every game that they are involved with and that is the same at Millwall. Hopefully we can do that and then we can add up the points and see where we end up.

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