Our latest Industry Insider is Matt Burgess, Graphic Designer & Video Producer at League One side Shrewsbury Town!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
Hello I’m Matt Burgess! My role is quite varied but in the main I am the Graphic Designer and Videographer for Shrewsbury Town Football Club.
I’m one of three who work in the Media department at the club. I initially got involved voluntarily and my role has grown from there.
What do you do in your current role?
As well as creating all graphics and templates for social media, I produce graphic design output for the club, be that small printed media or bigger things such as signage or artwork on the walls of the tunnel or training ground.
On top of that, I film and edit interviews, features and on a match day, I film and edit our alternative highlights usually from pitch side but sometimes from the stands.
What does a normal week look like for you?
A normal week for me consists of working closely with Scott and Lewis (my colleagues in the media team) where we plan and discuss the club’s output. Monday will be press day, there we will film an interview with a player and then the manager.
Tuesday will be match day where I will film before, during and after the match. Wednesday, work from home typically and edit / publish content from the match as well as catch up on any graphic design related work.
Thursday much like Monday will be press day again but we might also try and get some content around the training ground. This could be a ‘Training Unfiltered’ video or another interview with one of the players for the website or programme. Friday is where I’ll make the match day graphics for Saturday and any other design / video work which needs to caught up on. Saturday is match day again much like a Tuesday night where we do it all over again!
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I’ve always been passionate about football, ever since I was little. My Dad is a big Manchester United fan and he made sure that my two brothers and I were all reds like him! I’ve always loved being creative, whether it was drawing, designing or making montage videos of goals. I always made stuff around football. Even at school, college or university, if ever there was a project where we could set the brief, you could guarantee that I would do something around football.
After graduating from LJMU in 2016 with a degree in Graphic Design & Illustration, I reached out to my local football club Shrewsbury Town, I got involved through Shrewsbury Town in the Community at first, creating graphics and flyers for them, before then getting involved with the football club. All work was voluntary and to build up my portfolio.
After a few months, I got a job in London working for Puma in their Golf department as their Graphic Designer. I worked their for seven months before moving back to Shrewsbury where then I was able to start working for the club and continue the work I’d started to do almost a year before. Since then my role has grown to what I do today where I am now Graphic Designer and Videographer, I can’t believe how fast these last four years have gone!
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
I’m excited about fans returning to stadiums! Last season was bizarre, our first game after lockdown was away to Middlesbrough in the Carabao Cup and to be in a stadium the size of the Riverside with no one in attendance was crazy. Of course I’d watched the Premier League behind closed doors during ‘Project Restart’ but actually being in an empty ground to cover a game was entirely different.
Over the course of last season we were fortunate at Shrewsbury to have some home games with fans in attendance but for the vast majority of the season we were in these sometimes huge arenas completely on our own! The lack of noise and atmosphere was beyond noticeable, I’m thrilled that supporters will be returning and that is definitely the thing I’m most excited about next season.
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
With my work I always want to focus on brand consistency, I want everything to look, feel and sound like Shrewsbury Town. I want supporters to be able to see something and immediately know that it’s something made by the club. Since Scott, Lewis and I have joined the club we’ve made it our priority to improve the clubs presence on social media and improve the content we put out as a club.
My own personal focus has been to improve and establish the club’s branding. I’d like to think that supporters have noticed these changes and hope that they have appreciated and enjoy what we do.
In your area of work, what is something you feel most people don’t talk about or focus on enough?
It’s not necessarily something that we in the sports industry don’t talk about but people who are outside of it probably don’t realise the hours that go into working in this industry. We can be working any day, any time, at any point of the year.
The drive back on a Tuesday night when we’ve played away from home to the likes of Gillingham or Lincoln can be long, and Sunderland, Ipswich or Plymouth are always an absolute mission to get to where we have to leave early and come home late. The hours can be very unsociable but still I can honestly say that I love my job.
I love Shrewsbury Town, it’s a fantastic football club with some great people working there, they’ve always been my local club but when you’re there day in, day out the defeats hurt more, but the wins feel incredible!
It can be difficult to not be at home with my wife and our two young children especially on the likes of Boxing Day, but for all of the harder parts there are the good days. Comebacks against Stoke, nights in Molineux, going to the Olympic Stadium, Jason Cummings equalising against Liverpool, working at a packed out Anfield, having the privilege to witness Town get to Wembley twice in two seasons (we’ll ignore the results), all of these moments have been highlights of my career so far and they all make the hard work worthwhile.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
My biggest advice is to get in touch with football clubs. Make yourself known to the relevant departments and individuals, but show them how you can be beneficial to the football club. Anyone can ask for a job, but to show passion, enthusiasm and a skillset which is desirable will take you far. I was lucky and managed to get involved with a League One club, but there are loads of clubs lower down the pyramid where you can volunteer and essentially have a blank canvas to gain experience and build up a body of work which can help you progress.
I can only talk from experience but I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had just waited around for a football club to find me and offer me a job. I had to volunteer, work for free and go away for a while before eventually I was able to get my foot in the door. I now have a job which I love and I can now work towards the next stages of my career where I aim to work at the highest level possible.
Be passionate, be ambitious and never think that anything is impossible, as chances are the only person who’s stopping you, is you.
How to connect with Matt Burgess on social media…
Twitter – @MattBurgess21
Instagram – @studioburgess
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Matt Burgess! If you want to read more from the series, you can do so by clicking here.