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In collaboration with Manchester City and TECNO, Goal goes behind the scenes to tell you about the role of the non-playing staff at the club…

As part of an exclusive series, Goal in collaboration with Manchester City and TECNO, are going behind the scenes to tell you about the role of the non-playing staff at The Etihad.

In this interview, we sit down with Anna Pala, Event Manager at Manchester City. Anna Pala has been serving the club for eight years now. She has been responsible for delivering matchday experiences for the men’s, women’s and the youth teams of the club and she makes sure that the teams, as well as the fans, have the best of matchday experiences.

Pala revealed that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way of work for her team on matchdays. Instead of catering to the fans at the stadium, they now have to think of innovative ways of virtual fan engagement.

Q: How long have you been at the club and in this current role?

AP: On the 8th of April was my work anniversary, exactly eight years since I started as an intern. In my current role, I have been for just over four and a half years.

Q: What does a regular workday look like?

AP: A regular day for me consists of a few virtual meetings, lots of emails and calls and probably a meeting with a supplier in the stadium to prep for one of our upcoming events or activations.

Q: What is the most unique/interesting aspect of the job?

AP: I would say it is making very small things happen for fans. These small things usually end up meaning the world to them. For example, sending the trophies to a wedding to surprise the bride and groom who are big City fans or inviting a young City fan to meet the whole team post-match (pre-Covid).

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of the job?

AP: I would probably say it is delivering the matchday experiences for all our teams (men’s, women’s, U23’s and U18’s) at the same time. This is especially difficult during the end of the season where there are always different scenarios, and we need to plan for all of them just in case.

Q: How has the pandemic affected matchday entertainment?

AP: The pandemic has, of course, affected our matchday entertainment; we would normally entertain everyone at the stadium and create the best atmosphere ahead of the games however with no fans we have had to be creative and adapt to the new times. We have been working very hard to keep our fans involved even from home.

We have launched two virtual junior experiences for our younger fans, created a music playlist so fans can submit their songs to be played during warm-up, we do fan birthday announcements at half time, a fan photo of the day and many other activations.

Q: What has been the most memorable matchday?

AP: There have been a lot of memorable match days in my 8 years at the club but I would say that our home game against Huddersfield in 2018 when we got presented with the Premier League trophy and I had the chance to lead the organisation of the presentation was a pretty special day for me. One I will never forget.

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