A day in the life of a Match day Steward.
Its a very poor concept most football supporters see about the match day steward! I know because i am one. Burnley Football Club is where I work, and where I learn, I am disliked on so many levels when I don the high visibility jacket, from the old and young alike the distrust and the contempt is there for all to see.
At Burnley though things are changing, no longer are the stewards too uneducated for Remploy, here at Burnley, staff training is in place to make each and everyone in a yellow jacket competent and resourceful, our only job is the safety of the supporters, something which should have been paramount for the last 40 or so years!
Ask yourselves would Hillsborough have happened if specifically trained stewards were present? Would the death toll at Valley Parade been so high if stewards who are paid to maintain safety had been in place?
We the Stewards take so much stick from all corners of the Turf, most in banter the " £3 an hour" and "Get a Proper Job" are two of my favourites, the get a proper job taunt is quite ironic, as the job of the steward is their safety?
Oh the irony, when a 15 year old spotty teenager in his Burberry scarf covering his face tells me to "F*** Off you F*****g Jobsworth" when you look at the scrote you can just see the green gaze of the Job centre in the glare of his young eyes, Jobsworth? maybe if the young looked at the working society as heroes not the drunken thugs who look good in a riot, things might be a little different? Who knows.
On to the job in hand, it is a wrong conception that the bob standard steward is "thick", "or cant get another job", well again the average conception about something you see at every event not just Turf Moor is wrong. The Stewards or Safety Staff are Intelligent, articulate and take pride in there jobs! Jobsworth? yes we are.
We turn up at the event well before the doors open, at some events this could be weeks, at Turf Moor its up to 5 hours before kick off, and that’s after the initial safety check has been done, every thing we do is for the safety of those supporters who dislike the fact we are there.
Car parks are opened, the supporters who pay for there parking space can drive up safe in the knowledge there regular parking space is empty, ambulance in place, telephones all in working order, all exits free from obstruction, and a full sweep of the ground done, broken seats(remember PNE? Millwall?), all fixed and ready for the next set of fans to take their place in the arena. Fire stewards make sure all equipment is in working order, all this and more is carried out by these Jobsworth long before you even order your first pint!
Lots of things the Yellow Jacketed Jobsworth’s do in the main are all frowned upon by the majority, No Smoking (Its the Law), Sit Down (Ground Regulations), Clear the stairwells (Ground Regulations), No Alcohol in View of the Pitch (Its the Law), Pitch Encroachment (Its the Law), Missiles, Racist abuse, Violence towards opposing fans/Stewards/Each other? you get my points.
Its not just the supporters that we in upholding the Ground Regulations and the Law of the Land annoy, we also come foul of Players, Management, Press, V,I,P’s even Directors, when they no mater how innocuous the fault or misdemeanor the repercussions could be fatal, and its the Jobsworths who carry the can for the safety of many.
This is written on the eve of Burnley's last league game of the season, Bristol City at Turf Moor and the inevitable pitch invasion, but no matter how many Stewards are pitch side the young and the stupid will get through, to Burnley’s detriment, If/when we(Burnley) win, what will the state of the pitch be? Burnley who play beautiful football with the ball on the ground, fast swift passing, speed and counter attack. Spoiled by the numpties who run on the pitch, who knows if parts get potholes or grass gets ripped up, leaving an uneven surface which would just play into the hands of a team like Sheffield United? but these numpties and if you do run on the pitch you ARE a numpty, this act of stupidity could wreck Burnley’s entire season! For what ? A moment in the sun? To be booed by 16000 Clarets who want Burnley to succeed?
I pray (we) Burnley beat Bristol City and take there place in the play-offs because although i am a Jobsworth in a yellow jacket, i am a proud Jobsworth and a huge Burnley fan, and i am hoping this article hits a nerve with some of our fans who look down at us with contempt, and replace it with respect.
Warren, G4S Steward.