Coventry Sphinx volunteer inspired to return to media role

When Chris Nee relocated from London to the Midlands, he thought his programme editing days were over.

Nee had spent a season putting together Tooting & Mitcham United's matchday magazine but the lifelong Aston Villa fan promised himself he would enjoy watching Coventry Sphinx from the stands rather than the press box.

However, after being impressed by the hard work of club secretary Sharon Taylor, the 38-year-old gave in and signed up to take on the same role at The Sphinx.

He has not looked back since and was quick to highlight Taylor's efforts following the club's promotion to the Pitching In Northern Premier League Midlands Division last season.

"I was inspired by the effort and wanted to help on that basis," he said.

"When you hang around the club you can see who is doing all the work and it is very definitely Sharon, so I wanted to take some of that away from her as a friend as much as an inspiration really.

"She is an absolute powerhouse; she is kind of the linchpin of a club that is trying to conduct itself in as a professional manner as possible.

"We are a really small club, we have been promoted up to Step 4 but despite our size, we intend to take it very seriously.

"I had this experience where I merged from being a season ticket holder at Aston Villa, and going to Sphinx when Villa weren't playing, to going to every Sphinx game I could get myself to and just going to Villa in between those.

"I would say the inspiration for me is the ethos of the club to gradually fulfil some ambitions that really should be beyond it."

Nee and Taylor are part of the loyal band of volunteers who keep Sphinx going behind the scenes and opportunities to get involved at clubs around the country are now available to view on the Pitching In Volunteer Hub.

Sphinx were promoted from the United Counties League Premier Division South after finishing last term as champions and will get their league campaign underway at home against Quorn later this month.

There is a lot of work to do on the pitch ahead of the new season, but just as much to do off it.

"We have upped our game on the media side," added Nee.

"We have obviously got to do ground grading and things like that and we are just gradually, across the entire club, building everything up.

"I took the role very seriously already, from a programme editing point of view. My ambition last season was to have a Step 4 programme at Step 5.

"I'm in the midst of a bit of a redesign, where is everything going to go and who has paid for the adds.

"It is just a case of getting the template ready, which is something I work through all season."

Find volunteering opportunities at your local club by visiting https://pitchinginvolunteers.co.uk/

Photo credit: Stuart Guest

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