When Mark Foster took over as chairman of Wraysbury FC in 2017, the century-old village football club, located close to Staines-upon-Thames, was on the verge of bankruptcy after years of financial mismanagement. With a lot of hard work and the support of the Spond team management app, Mark has led a miraculous turnaround, and the club now puts out 13 squads every weekend.
As a passionate supporter of grassroots football, and a former player himself, Mark understands the importance of community clubs in a small village like Wraysbury, especially for young people, and he was simply unwilling to let the club die. As the UK country manager for an international IT firm, however, the time he could devote to the club was not unlimited, so he needed to make the most of the time he had, and that’s where Spond came in.
“Wraysbury FC was formed in 1902, so it’s part of the fabric of the local community, but that didn’t mean it couldn’t disappear,” said Mark. “The support was out there to keep it going, and local families were crying out for someone to save it, but our volunteer resources are finite, so a modern sports club management app was needed to coordinate everyone’s efforts and keep things going. After a lot of research, and several false starts, we signed up for the Spond app, and I can honestly say it’s played a huge part in our successful efforts to save the club.”
Almost five years on, with 130 junior members, 70 adults plus parent supporters, and 30 regular volunteers, the hard work and dedication of Mark and his fellow committee members at the grassroots football club have clearly paid off. In fact, the club has done so well that it’s able to pay coaches for its popular weekly football training sessions. All of the players, members and volunteers have one thing in common, the ubiquitous Spond app on their phone, through which all memberships, matches and communications are managed via the Spond Club team management platform, with payments set to be added in the very near future.
“Although we’re very lucky to have the resource to pay professional coaches, particularly for our junior squads, the club is still very dependent on grassroots volunteer support and expertise from the local community for everything from our accounts to grounds maintenance,” added Mark. “Much like me, many of these people have full-time jobs and other commitments, so we rely on Spond to coordinate activities and streamline processes, such as organising a junior match, that would otherwise take hours.
“I’ve never added it up, but I’d say that Spond saves me at least a day a week on club management tasks, which is time that I can devote to actually getting out there and working with our teams and volunteers. The club is open to all, regardless of fitness, ability or anything else, which means we need to focus all our resources on player development, training and support. With Spond doing most of the admin work in the background, we are able to focus on what really matters.”
As a former chair of Berkshire Scouts, which has over 11,000 active members, Mark was no stranger to volunteering and grassroots organisations when he came to Wraysbury FC, and he particularly appreciates the integrated GDPR compliance and safeguarding tools offered by Spond, which allow access for junior members to be rigorously monitored and controlled, as well as offering parental oversight of all actions (and interactions) within the Spond app.
He said: “This is just one more example of Spond doing a job that would take hours to manage and monitor outside of the grassroots club management platform. It’s not a case of setting up Spond and forgetting, far from it, but it provides all the tools we need in one place, so we spend a few minutes setting things up, rather than days building it from scratch. For a small local football club, I can’t overemphasise how valuable that is.”
Regardless of the size of the club or the sport being played, the benefits of Spond are clear. Spond is free to download, free to use and completely ad-free, with one million weekly users taking advantage of its unique features for effective sports club management, engagement and communication.