This Is Surrey Football: Peter Augustine
As part of our #ThisIsSurreyFootball campaign, we speak to Surrey FA's County Coach Developer, Peter Augustine.
Peter told us about his role in delivering courses and supporting coaches in the County and also shared his experience and thoughts and advice on the challenges facing BAME coaches looking to establish themselves in the game.
When did you first get involved in football?
“I first got involved in the game as an eight-year-old. So many, many years ago. I think [there were] still dinosaurs walking about when I first got involved in the game, but I just loved it. I remember watching the World Cup and seeing the players [playing in it], it was something that I wanted to do. I then played non-league football and when I finished my non-league playing I decided I wanted to go into coaching.
So I got a job at the club that I finished playing at, Beaconsfield Sycob, and was their Reserve team manager. I was there for five years and I learnt a hell of a lot. That's when I first started taking coaching badges.”
What is your role with Surrey FA?
"I'm the county coach developer, which basically means I get involved in all aspects of coaching.
The main aspect is running courses, CPD [Career Professional Development] and helping to support coaches in their clubs and outside the club.
A coach might come to me and say, “I'm having a problem here”, or “I want some advice on this”. And I'll meet them for maybe a cup of coffee or I'll go into their club and watch them work.
Also, at Level 2 we have in situ visits. Where we go into the club and we work with the coach, with their players, around the structure of the of the Course
I enjoy the job because I just love football. It’s just a passion for me. Obviously, I've done other stuff in my life, but this is the stuff that really gets me up and makes me really excited. I get up every morning thinking wow, fantastic. I'm really lucky to be involved in football. I just love it. There's nothing I don't love about it."
What do you make of the under-representation of BAME coaches in the game – and how do you think it can be addressed?
“We all know there's a problem and to turn around and say there isn’t a problem would be putting our heads in the sand.
I think one of the one of the things that used to be said is that there weren’t people that were qualified. We now know that there are coaches who are Black or Asian, who are qualified.
So what we need to do is just need to give those individuals an opportunity to work within clubs, and [those] clubs have got to be brave. The clubs are the employers. So it's down to the Chair and the decision-makers, the Directors of Football, to take a chance. And I don't even think it is a chance.
[For] every coach who gets a job in a professional Club, somebody has said “We're taking a chance on you”. So why can't we - why don't we take chances on BME coaches. I personally don't understand it, but I wouldn't understand it because I'm from that background.
But I'm pretty sure that if I went into a club I would be reasonably successful if I was given the tools to be successful at a club. I’m well qualified, so are so many others.”
What advice would you give to those from BAME backgrounds who are looking to succeed in coaching?
“The advice I would give would be [to] never stop learning, don't allow anybody to turn around and say to you on the most basic level that you're not qualified for the job. So, make sure you've always got your qualifications.
Secondly, always look to improve yourself because you never know when that job is going to come along. I would also say that [you should] just keep knocking on the doors. Never, never give up. Be a bit of a pain if you like! So, when somebody else fails, you're there, you're always there
To the wider football community, I would say to all those people who are the employers of coaches and managers - open your eyes. Be more open-minded and look at who you're employing, […] have a robust process of employing people. Don't just say I'm going to employ them because I know them and I like them. See if there's anybody else out there, whether they be black, white, male, female, it doesn't matter. What matters is can they coach are they able to relate to players.
I think the coaches can do their bit, but the clubs and the people who employ [the coaches] at clubs can do their [part] as well.”
To find out more about starting or progressing your journey in coaching, click here.