Canny Conversations Podcasts

Canny Conversations Podcast

Compelling Conversations with a Cause.

Let's talk, because everything starts with a conversation.

A Woman in Football. Podcast by Safaraz Ali

A Woman in Football. Podcast by Safaraz Ali –

Anne-Marie Eden is one of a small but growing band of female chief executives in football. She is CEO at Solihull Moors, who at the time of the recording were playing in the National League – one step below the English football league. They discuss the business of football and shares lessons from their professional experiences.

In this conversation Anne-Marie and Saf discuss the challenges of running businesses in a high profile environment.

They share thoughts about the importance of leadership and the challenges of managing people where, very often, there is no shortage of ego.

This leads to a conversation about building strong teams and how this is a balance in which the best individuals may not necessarily be the best for the team.

At the time that the recording was made the Solihull Moors were pressing for promotion from the National League into the English Football League. This is a big step and hugely exciting but Saf and Lynne share their thoughts about the challenges and opportunities of scaling up a business.

Saf talks about his involvement with football as one of the leadership team in a ‘grass roots’ academy that gets young people into the game.

Anne-Marie explains how she got involved in football through her work with a sponsor of ‘the Moors’ and talks about her previous work in recruitment and how this helps in her current role.

She admits that she was not a ‘fan’ of Solihull Moors before getting the job but Anne-Marie and Saf agree that this may not always be important as a ‘fan’ might be too likely to make decisions driven by emotion rather than business.
They talk about how bringing people into a business from a different sector can help bring a broader perspective and stop a tendency to do things in a certain way because they have always been done that way.

Saf shares his experiences of helping to create unity from individuals and groups that may come from a different place and view of life.

Anne-Marie explains why Solihull Moors is about much more than just success on the field and how ‘community’ is at the heart of the club.

There is a discussion about the importance of diversity and how having people from different backgrounds can add to a business and a football club.

They talk about the dangers of stereotyping, such as assuming black people will be good at sport, as well as inclusivity and allowing people of all abilities to have a chance.

But how to bring about diversity? Saf and Anne-Marie talk about positive action and the role of targets and why they are different to quotas.

Inevitably, the conversation touches on the growth of women’s football.

More in the series