My name is Rosie Bonass and I’m one of Ugo Ehiogu’s ‘Ones To Watch’, as named in the recent Blacklist awards! It makes me very proud to be able to write that.
This year’s Football Black List awards marked their 10 year anniversary so it was an honour for me to be invited to the event for the first time, especially after admiring from afar what the founders, Leon Mann and Rodney Hinds have achieved.
Our Tongue Tied Media (TTM) clients, Dion Dublin and Eniola Aluko were both nominated for an award so the original plan was to go the event and celebrate both of them.
The recognition was also really special for me as the event celebrates a huge part of who I am – a Caribbean (partly) individual working in the British game. My Dominican Grandad sadly passed away in April and he was almost like a best friend to me. I was in my element when I was with him- Courvoisier constantly poured as if we were celebrating on New Years Eve, and the nicest Caribbean food you have ever tasted. And I mean EVER. I would occasionally tell him what I had been up to in football and he’d respond “good buddy” with a little smile and raise his glass of brandy. My achievement at the Football Black List awards was for him.
I took a big risk almost four years ago and left the hospitality industry where I had worked since I was 16-years-old. I was financially stable but I realised that earning good money wasn’t going to satisfy me. I wanted more from life and it was paramount that I made my passion my job.
I started studying Sports Journalism at the University of Bedfordshire and not only was I one of just two females on the course, I was one of the oldest. University was exceptionally hard and I had so many ups and downs while studying, juggling a part-time job, work experience and a social life, but I feel the experience gave me all the attributes that are required to succeed.
I achieved so much at university, with the help of Adrian Warner and Kate Ironside, but my proudest moment to date is achieving a First Class degree. This made all the struggles worth while and more importantly it gave me confidence and belief in myself. Now I feel like I could tackle anything and that’s the type of attitude you need in this industry if you want to make your mark.
Within three months of starting university I secured work experience at Luton Town Ladies and I worked for them voluntary on match days for two seasons. During my time there I ran the social media, carried out interviews and wrote match reports. The experience was invaluable to me and I can’t thank Nikki Baker enough for giving me my first shot.
Going into my final year of university, I wanted a fresh challenge which led me to where I am now – Talent Assistant at TTM and a part time Media Officer at Tottenham Hotspur Ladies. My final project at university was focused on Spurs Ladies and I was able to write a number of features on topics in women’s football that have only recently been covered by the national press.
By working part time at Spurs, I’ve achieved something I set out to do from the start – I’ve made my passion for football, my job. There isn’t one day at Spurs that feels like work for me. It’s so exciting and I’m lucky to be working with some incredible people. Not to mention our three media interns – Abbey Conroy, Adam Rowe and Paula Wood who I’ve loved mentoring so far this season. While I’m dropping names, it was amazing to see Spurs Academy coach Sam Cox and former Spurs Ladies’ player Eartha Pond also receive awards at the Football Black List ceremony.
In this industry- and others I’m sure, you may be lucky enough to meet someone who supports you and your vision, and Nicole Allison – General Manager of Spurs Ladies has been that person for me. I’ve really found my feet at the club this season and I feel a huge part of that is down to her. What she’s done for me since I’ve been at the club is something admirable and to me she’s been the best role model.
I got my job at TTM a few months before I completed university and I was ecstatic when Jo gave me the opportunity to work for her. In the past seven months I’ve learned so much about this industry, and I’ve also learned that commuting from Luton to central London is no joke – that’s a job in itself. I walked into my interview with Jo and Chloe back in April thinking that I knew it all and within a few weeks of working at TTM, I was brought back to reality. Credit to Jo she certainly knows how to keep everyone on their toes. I’m so thankful to her for everything she has done for me and every day I learn something new which is why working in football is so exciting.
If you’re still reading this and if you’re someone who is new to this industry or a student, here’s my advice to you:
-Listen, watch, and read as much as you can on all sports. Keep across EVERYTHING.
-Network! Network! Network! And stay in touch with your contacts. Be memorable.
-Twitter is key for news so make sure you’re following all the the right accounts. (@TongueTT *cough cough*)
-Get as much work experience as possible. Even if it’s writing match reports for your university team or being a runner, every little piece of experience is only going to aid your future career ventures.
-Be yourself and be authentic because that’s the only way you will stand out. Remember football is one of the most loved sports in the world so think about what you bring to the table that’s distinctive and own it!
-You are likely to have some set backs but don’t let it get you down, learn from it, move on and be better!
-Celebrate your achievements – make them known. This is how you will build your profile. (I need to take my own advice on this *sigh*)