At the time of writing, Anne-Marie Eden was chief executive of Solihull Moors as they pushed for promotion to the English Football League, the Holy Grail of the game. In this conversation, Saph and Anne-Marie examine the importance of community engagement and diversity.
Football has its roots in the community and that’s where Solihull Moors has a firm foothold, according to Anne-Marie Eden.
Likewise, Saf businesses are part of a community in which participation is a major commitment.
They begin a fascinating conversation by defining what they mean by community, and agree that it can be many things, including gender, heritage, profession, sporting interests, and more.
Solihall Moors was born from the merger of two rival football teams, Solihall Borough and Moor Green. Anne-Marie talks about how these two communities have been brought together, especially in a sport that can be so tribal. Imagine creating a community by combining Manchester United and Liverpool or Glasgow Rangers and Celtic.
Saph shares her experience of helping to bring together individuals and groups who may come from different places and perspectives on life.
Anne-Marie explains why Solihull Moors is about much more than just success on the pitch and how ‘community’ is at the heart of the club.
There is a discussion about the importance of diversity and how having people from different backgrounds can benefit the business and the football club.
They talk about the dangers of stereotypes, such as the assumption that black people will be good at sports, and about inclusivity and giving people of all abilities a chance.
But how to bring variety? Saph and Ann-Marie talk about affirmative action and the role of targets and why they differ from quotas.
Inevitably, the conversation touches on the growth of women’s football.