Taskforce Gibraltar Football Association

Back on the road

Last year, our Taskforce Gibraltar FA travelled all over Europe accompanying Gibraltar’s Senior Men’s and Women’s National Teams as they competed on the International Stage. This year they are back on the road in the UEFA Nations League.

A two-man team comprising of Matthew Ramirez (Matt) and Mark Rodriguez (Wheels), our Taskforce GFA travels alongside Gibraltar’s National Teams, providing bespoke marketing/media assistance and social media coverage through interviews, photo galleries, training videos, articles and much more.

Having already travelled this year, specifically to Andorra with the Gibraltar Women’s Senior National Team in February, the Taskforce left Gibraltar for a second time in 2022 as they travelled to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi on Monday 30 May ahead of Gibraltar’s UEFA Nations League C clash with Georgia.

Matthew Ramirez, who has been leading the Taskforce since March 2021, takes on the role of Gibraltar’s Media Officer whilst abroad with the team said:

“I get to work in the world of football and for that I count myself lucky. With that being said, there is always something I dread, and that is flying, Georgia in particular was a six-hour flight, so that part I must admit wasn’t fun.”

“Once we arrived in Georgia it was pretty much work from the get-go, there are certain things we don’t film because quite frankly it wouldn’t make good content, no-one wants to see footage from inside of a bus, but, once the players are settled, we make a start on our interviews and sending UEFA anything they may require, such as headshots of new players for their database.”

Gibraltar’s June International Window saw them play 4 matches in the space of 12 days, starting away in Georgia, before returning to The Rock to host both North Macedonia and Bulgaria, and then travelling once again, this time to North Macedonia for the reverse fixture on Friday 10 June.  

 

Ramirez said: “The number of matches in such a short space of time and the layout of the fixtures themselves did prove a challenge. For every home match we produce a matchday programme, so, whilst we were in Georgia, we were not only working on content that was being published on the spot, but also ensuring that we produced content that was relevant for the home fixtures against both North Macedonia and Bulgaria.”

“It’s very much a team effort when it comes to getting the content on the ground. I rely on Wheels to get photo and video content for us to create multimedia packages, while I, in addition to taking stories for the socials, focus on the logistics of it all, liaising with the UEFA officer and the local media officer to arrange any requested interviews, assisting in the press conference, arranging our media seating etc.”

Matchday -1 and Matchday tend to be the most stressful days of any trip due to their being external deadlines set. On matchday-1 there is a press conference with a player and the manager that we are obligated to attend. Gibraltar’s head coach, Julio Ribas, does all his media duties in Spanish, therefore I attend all media engagements with him both in the role of media officer and as his translator – The first time I did this I was extremely nervous, but it is something that you get used to quite quickly.”

“Once MD-1 is over we head back to the hotel where we continue to work on the content that needs to be released throughout the day. We also begin the work that needs to be completed for Matchday just to get ahead of it all.”

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On Matchday, the Taskforce continues publishing content and builds up to kick off, this includes line-ups and warm-up content and then live match coverage itself. For Wheels this means photos, photos and more photos, whereas Matt will live tweet, write the match report and continue his translating duties in the post-match press conference.

Having joined The Bulb in March 2022, the UEFA Nations League C June campaign was the first trip for Wheels, as he explained:

“Georgia away was my first outing as part of the Taksforce GFA and it was definitely a learning curve. I’ve done this sort of thing before, but I didn’t realise quite how much work it was going to be to be honest. Matt and Frank, who was the videographer before I joined, told me it was going to be a lot of work and not to underestimate the challenges.”

It’s a great job. I count myself really lucky to be able to work in football and travel with the team. I’m fortunate to work within my area of interest right after graduating from my MA in Journalism, the only part I wasn’t thrilled about was having to stand on a chair and sing in front of the entire team, an initiation which I think I passed with flying colours – unfortunately Matt recorded the entire thing and plastered it on the work group chat. I’m still getting stick about my rendition of Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ to this day.”

“By the time the second trip to Skopje in North Macedonia came around I felt I was up to speed with what was required. I’m definitely looking forward to the next international window in September, I think we’re heading to Sofia in Bulgaria.”