The Vale Academy comprises players in a total of 9 separate age groups, has 19 coaches and a number of other back room staff. Unsurprisingly there is a host of administration work needed to ensure that everything in the department runs smoothly and efficiently. Step forward Josh Horsley who, at the tender age of 19, has taken on this responsibility as the Academy Operations Administrator.
Josh is a local lad who went to Haywood High School and has been a Vale Season Ticket holder for as long as he can remember. He played as a centre back for Kidsgrove Athletic and had trials with both Vale and Stoke before serious knee injuries put paid to his playing days when he was only 16.
“I wanted nothing more than to play for the Vale” said Josh; “but after numerous operations on my damaged knees, I had to accept that playing football was not going to be possible, so I concentrated on my education instead.”
After High School, Josh took a BTech Diploma in Sports Science at Haywood 6th Form College and joined the Academy on a part time placement towards the end of his course. When he passed with 3 Distinctions, he moved on to 1-year apprenticeship and studied Business Administration which he also passed with flying colours. His role at the Academy was then made permanent in 2018.
“This is a full-on role” added Josh; “but I really enjoy working at the Club I have supported all my life. I know that I’ll never realise my dream of playing for the Vale but this has to be the best possible alternative.”
The list of duties that Josh is responsible for is seemingly endless so it’s no wonder that he describes it as a “full-on role”. Ensuring compliance with governing bodies including rules and regulation set by the Leagues, FA, UEFA and FIFA plus accurate record keeping of all this information, seems pretty onerous but is just the tip of the iceberg.
There’s fixture administration for all 9 Academy age groups, coordination of all match officials, overseeing operations for the extensive Sunday morning matches programme, maintaining a registration database of all Academy players and much, much more.
Sevvy Aslam, Academy Manager, said: “Josh is an integral part of the Academy set up and does all the things that sometimes go unnoticed but are absolutely vital in terms of making our operation run smoothly.
“He’s developed so much from when he first joined us on a part-time placement and it’s fair to say that, thanks to Josh, the administration of the Academy is now in very safe hands.”
“I’m still learning my job but loving every minute of it.” Josh confirmed. “I’m told that my tea making skills still need some improvement but maybe that will come in time.”