The New Year brings a new era for the Essex County FA as Brendan Walshe becomes the organisation’s second Chief Executive, stepping in the footsteps of long-serving predecessor Phil Sammons.
Brendan brings a wealth of experience to the role having already spent nine years at the County Office and almost eight of those as County Development Manager. He starts his new role on 1st January 2017. So, what made Brendan consider stepping up to lead the Association?
“Essex is one of the largest counties in the country for football participation and I am excited by the challenge of continuing to develop this across Essex,” he replied. “There are exciting times ahead for football and I’m looking forward to working with the Board and Council of the Essex FA, along with all the various stakeholders in the game, to help ensure we realise the full potential of football in Essex and safeguard it for future generations.”
A crucial element of Brendan’s appointment is the knowledge of the Association he already possesses. He added: “I have experience of football in Essex across a wide variety of partners and organisations. This includes strategic facility planning with local authorities and working with volunteers at clubs and leagues to improve the experience of grassroots football as well as coaching and playing. I’ll be looking to bring all these experiences to my new role.”
“It’s not all going to be plain sailing. Football is facing some challenges as well,” continued Brendan, as he looked forward to his first tasks as Chief Executive. “Partnership working will be a key aspect in helping to overcome those challenges so I will be looking to meet as many of our partners as I can in the weeks and months ahead.”
Going forward, Brendan is clear in his key vision for the County FA, too: “The priorities are to ensure we are providing the best environment possible for people of all ages and abilities to experience the game of football.”
“Positive and effective organisations are always striving to improve and the Essex FA is the same. The challenge moving forward for all of us is to continue to evolve to meet the demands of modern lifestyles and expectations. Football is a high-profile subject with high expectations so we have to always seek to improve to ensure the game can meet those demands.”
Having worked with his predecessor since January 2008, Brendan is quick to praise the excellent work of outgoing Chief Executive, Phil: “I have seen first-hand the excellent job Phil has done. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes and Phil has been a very strong advocate over the years. Phil has a huge amount of experience and I’m sure he will continue to use this to support grassroots football in the future. He’ll always be welcome at the Essex FA.”
Essex County FA Chairman, Wayne Deller, oversaw the recruitment process and he is pleased to have got his man. Wayne said: “Brendan emerged as far and away the strongest candidate and, with his existing knowledge of the Essex FA and the direction the Board wishes to move forward towards, we feel sure that this is the right appointment to take the County FA onwards. We wish Brendan a very successful future as our Chief Executive.”
Brendan finished with a pledge to those in grassroots football in the county: “Football is a team game and the continued improvement and development of the game is not about one single organisation, it requires all stakeholders to work together to make football the best experience it can be. We all have a role to play.”