WHAT FOOTBALL MEANS TO ME

COMMUNITY SERIES

Featuring Grace Sloan Trainee Solicitor at Glaisyers ETL

Glaisyers ETL has an ongoing commitment to sports. Many members of our team are involved in a variety of sports both in a professional and personal capacity. Our Community Series features members of the Glaisyers team talking about what sport means to them.

Last month, we supported Armin’s Movember Challenge and the fundraising he organised with the community football team he established. This month, we feature Grace Sloan – a Trainee Solicitor in the Corporate and Commercial department. Grace has worked at Manchester United on match days since she was 16.  

The Manchester Women’s Derby between United and City takes place on 11 December 2022 and is almost sold out. Grace reflects on how football has shaped her life which has not only helped her pursue a career in law but she has also watched the growth and development of the women’s game.

By Grace Sloan 

Ever since I can remember, sport has been a huge part of my life. I grew up playing a lot of sport to a high standard and cannot remember a time in my life when it wasn’t involved. Given that my dad is hardcore ‘Red’ and my mum an avid ‘Blue’, I have always been interested in football and you can only imagine how turbulent our weekends are! They revolve around sport and always have done. 

I am a proud member of Women in Football, a network which encourages female talent and aims to raise awareness in a bid to drive a change in attitudes towards women working in football, addressing the gender imbalance in the industry. 

When I was 16 years old, I started working at Manchester United Football Club, waiting on tables to earn some pocket money. This gave me a taste for working in the sports industry, and after just one season I was promoted to supervisor, and then after my fourth season I was further promoted to Manager. This then led to me winning Manager of the Year for Hospitality after the 20/21 season! In 2022 I was headhunted to go over to Manchester City F.C. to look after their Hospitality boxes, meaning that I now hold managerial positions at two of the biggest clubs in the country.

I soon realised that this was more than just a part-time job. Over the past 8 years, football has introduced me to a vast number of people and challenges. Women’s football has not always had the best reputation – we often face adversity within the sport and working in hospitality was no exception. Being a young woman in a position of authority has taught me a strong work ethic, how to handle difficult situations and, most importantly, helped me to develop my inter-personal skills. I am also responsible for the wellbeing of my team, which has made me incredibly grateful for the opportunities young people are given through football, no matter what background they come from.  

The main things I have taken from working in football are the networking opportunities and the relationships I still maintain and develop in order to better my future. Football ended up being the pathway into my career. Through communicating with my customers and by simply being myself, I was introduced to Glaisyers Solicitors LLP, where I am now a Trainee Solicitor. If it was not for football, I would not be where I am now and my future would look very different. I have been exposed to many areas of law since working at Glaisyers, I am currently working in the Corporate and Commercial team, where I have developed a particular interest in broadening my knowledge of media and sports law.  

I have learned many lessons through my involvement with football and the fantastic communities surrounding it. This has inspired me to keep working within the sport throughout studying for my GCSEs, A Levels, Law degree, Paralegal and LPC qualifications, Masters degree and, now, during my training contract. It is rewarding to see the refreshing change in attitudes towards women working in the industry from when I started in 2016, and I hope this continues. 

I studied my Law LLB degree in Sheffield and I have gone on to further my education by studying a master’s degree in Insolvency and Banking at the University of Law. I attended school at St. Bede’s College in Manchester for 13 years, where many current Premier League and Women’s Super League players were once my classmates, as the college is partnered with the Manchester City Academy. 

There was a combination of boys and girls who came through the program, and I try to support them whenever they are playing at either City or United. Football changed a lot of these young players’ lives, as they would not have had the opportunity to attend St Bede’s if they did not play football. This made me appreciate my education even more, pushing me to work hard and not take anything for granted.

I will be working at the Manchester Women’s Derby, which is due to take place at the Etihad Stadium on 11 December 2022. Seeing the stadium full of young girls admiring their heroines shows how much the sport has progressed, the shift in attitudes to women’s football and the attendance rates at these matches since 2016 is amazing to see. My childhood friend, Katie Zelem, is the captain for Manchester United and I attended school with a couple of the City girls. I am thoroughly looking forward to watching both teams play in biggest match of the year, and to observe how they all continue to inspire the next generation of women watching in the stands.  

At Glaisyers, a number of our clients come from a footballing background. The community series highlights the passionate and determined individuals in our team who have a genuine love of sport which they are able to use in their working lives, whether it be advising elite athletes, supporting community programmes or helping individuals with the development of their career and ideas.