Here at portadownfc.co.uk we have decided to shine a much deserved light on the volunteers at the club the work so hard behind the scenes to make sure all aspects of your football club work like a well oiled machine, from ticket sellers to clubs shop to media team we all have a part to play and we want to hear from the many stories from all around the club so you can see what they actually get up to and how they contribute.
Next up we have Mark Beattie.
Role at club: A little bit of everything to be honest, help out with the Media Team, back up to the Social Media accounts (although can never do as good a job as Jonny does on Twitter), help Matt G with the Ports TV, doing interviews with the manager and players post match. Also help out Matt W with the website, he does the technical magic and I stick to the basic content most of the time.
How long have you been volunteering at PFC: Around 17 years actually, a young fresh faced 15 year old asked Bill Emerson if there was something I could do and have been involved ever since.
Have you always been in this role and if not what else have you around the club: This could take a while. Initially I helped out with the Club Shop, when it got reopened over on the old grandstand I used to sell the merchandise there, was also involved with PSS (Portadown Supporters Society) from its inception and ran many events and schemes through it. Helped out with sourcing advertisements for the Match Day Programme back in the day aswell. Then through my involvement with the PSS I was there during the inception of We Are Ports membership scheme and took the role of Chairperson for the first two years of it and to be honest, it is probably my favourite achievement within the club, being able to be at the birth of something so significant and important. I have done Kit Man once or twice which was great fun, being on the inside of the changing room and helping out when the Kit Man at the time couldn’t make the game etc.
What first got you involved: Was actually through the old Official Club Forum when I asked Bill if there was anything needing done and he was in the process of starting up the Club Shop again. Just wanted to find a way to become more involved in the club I loved supporting and have loved it ever since, even though it has added years on me.
What is your earliest memory at PFC: The first season I went sort of reguarly was 1995/96 season when I was 8 years old and used to annoy the aul hans at the Flag Pole terracing, running round the bottom kicking the football pretending I was Gary Haylock. My first real memory of the football on the pitch was the first game of the season when we had signed Vinny Arkins, seeing this young long haired striker appear with so much intrigue from fans and then watching him solidify himself as a fantastic player was probably my earliest memory.
Whats your favourite memory at the Ports: I loved the 2001/02 Season as I was going to matches with my mates then, old enough to really follow the football closely and enjoy the fantastic season we had. Also up there has to be the 2008/09 season, travelling to different grounds and generally winning most games aswell. The CIS League Cup final that year was special aswell, lifting the cup at Mourneview Park, packing out the ground and being the lowly Championship club becoming the first to win it from that league was a great day. Although one odd memory from that night was celebrating in Portadown Rugby Club and Tim Mouncey threw me a Ports jester hat, I went to put it on my head but forgot I was holding a bottle of beer and as I tipped up the hat, the bottle poured all over me, much to everyone’s amusement.
Another one (see, theres too many) was travelling as part of the Riga 9 as we played Skonto Riga of Latvia. The trip was immense and to snatch a victory to send us through the tie was an unbelievable feeling. The players had to travel on their chartered flight almost straight after the match so we had to make sure Riga knew we where there. Fantastic experience, just cant wait to go on our next European trip….
What is your match day routine at Shamrock Park or an away match: I like to get there as early as possible, usually around 1.30pm. I head into Bills office for a chat then meet up with Matt G to help set up the Ports TV cables. We head down to find out if the team sheet is ready to go and then we get it to Matt W who does up team graphic etc. Just before the match I make sure the live feed is working in the club rooms and then head over to the old grandstand to set up the second camera angle. During the match, I take minutes of highlights for Ports TV to make Matt G’s editing easier and I am tasked with describing goals on PFC’s Twitter which only enjoy doing when it is our goal.
During the game I try not to curse or shout too loudly behind the camera as I cringe when I hear myself on the Ports TV highlights and they can hear me loud and clear in the clubrooms on the live feed. Post match I wait around until the manager is ready for his interview, then do the same with any players we think fans would like to hear from. Then if it was a good result I head into the clubrooms to chat to fans and players etc. or if it was a disappointing result I get home as soon as possible to be grumpy for the rest of the evening.
What is something about your role that you do that no-one notices: The time that goes into the website and organising content on there is sometimes unseen work but is really fantastic. The site has been getting some real positive hits and also I have been helping out with the online club shop over the passed few weeks which has been selling really well during this lockdown. Its fantastic to see fans still supporting the club and it is a much appreciated revenue stream when there is no other way to bring anything into the club at the minute.
During the summer the Media Team have a Media Day at the club where we get all the stock images, videos for gifs, interviews etc and alot of work goes into getting that ready and using all the content afterwards but it is a great help to make the club appear as professional as possible.
What do you love about Portadown FC: It has been a really massive part of my life, I have met some really close friends through the club that I would never have met otherwise. There is always craic when your with the people around the club and despite the bad times it is always somewhere I love to go on a Saturday or at a midweek game.
Despite all the bad times we have suffered over the years, it only makes the good times that bit sweeter and I cannot wait until the next time we taste some success, being able to sit back with the guys, raise a toast and sip a cold beer, knowing it is all worth it when its good.
What is the one thing you are missing about the Ports during the lockdown: The routine, I was fine for the first week or so but the second Saturday without a football match was tough going, especially with the sunshine weather we have been getting recently, matches are always better in the sun.
We at portadownfc.co.uk are very proud of each one of our hard working volunteers and you can be involved too, no matter what your skill set there is always a place for you at PFC. Just get in touch using the Contact Us page if you want to get involved.