Staff 7: Jon Rayner
Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).
Our assistant press officer and programme editor Jon Rayner is next in the hotseat for our Staff Q&A - Staff 7.
How did you get into the business and how did you end up at Spurs?
I always wanted to be a sports journalist but I completely messed up my O levels because the 1986 World Cup was on and I watched that all the time. I got three O levels which wasn't enough to go onto A levels so I ended up doing a Btec in engineering, well off the beaten track. I didn't particularly like it and still wanted to be a sports journalist so I left, applied to go to the NTCJ course at Harlow and was on the reserve list when they contacted me and told me they had one space available. I was working as a trainee manager at a bookmaker at the time but it was now or never. I did the course, loved it and worked my way through the local newspapers as a trainee journalist, senior reporter, sports reporter and sports editor. But I wanted to work in football so I applied to all the London clubs. John Fennelly at Spurs said there was nothing available but would keep my details on file, thought nothing more, about a year later he wrote back to say a position had come up. I applied and got the job.
What qualifications did you need?
As I said, I got lucky. The three O levels I passed included Maths and English and that was crucial. I then passed the NTCJ course at Harlow and that was also vital and recognised in the industry.
What is it like dealing with the players on a regular basis?
Personally, I love it. They are very busy most of the time but they always come good for you and help you out. They are all receptive, friendly and happy to talk most of the time.
If everything falls into place, how long does it take to get a programme out from start to finish?
It's impossible to answer really because you could get three home matches in a week and you'd do that or one in two weeks, and you'd do that. If we had to, we could turn it around in about four days. In a normal week, say we're home on Saturday, away the next, home the Saturday after, we'd start work immediately on the Monday morning, work at it at a nice pace and get it done. In most cases, we'd get perhaps 70 per cent of one done and start on the next.
What would be your dream interview?
Pele. Although I never saw him play, I think he's the greatest player ever. A legend.
What is the best thing about working at the club?
Being behind the scenes at one of the biggest clubs around, seeing how it works, what goes on, the whole set-up. I feel privileged to be here.
What advice would you give to youngsters who want a career in the media or even at a football club?
You have to keep plugging away, keep at it. If it doesn't look like it's going to happen, stick at it. I'm assuming the NTCJ course is still important, but all qualifications will help.