Programme Q&A: Behind the Scenes: Peter Clarke

This weeks ‘Behind the Scenes’ focus is on Events and Hospitality manager Peter Clarke. Clarke is one of the busiest members of staff at the club and any Spireites fan who has visited an event at the Proact will most likely have seen him running around the hospitality areas, equipped with a tea towel or two.

Job Title:
Events and Hospitality manager at the Proact Stadium

What does it involve?

“Looking after all the events that are using our various function rooms, from match-day food, player’s breakfasts and lunches, weddings, christenings, funeral wakes, birthdays and all private hires. We do anything from a buffet room hire to a full three/four course meal. People then also use our sponsorship and commercial rooms for meetings, seminars and conferences.”

“We are under strict guidance by Mal Purchase, the club’s nutritionist, in regards to the player’s food, this is breakfast, lunch and then dinner after home games. We will also often do the food for the team bus on away games. We provide the players with everything they need in order to build up what they have lost after a fixture or a training session, right up to all the healthy berries.

“There are a couple of fussy eaters at the club, but I won’t name names! I even taught one the players the other day what granulated sugar was! He just thought that all sugar was the white stuff that looks like sand.”

What skills does this require?

“Obviously you need to be able to deal with customers hands on and in the modern world of the tablet, android and iPhone, the art of one-to-one communication and customer service has increased. I love this side of the job and am responsible for making sure that both me and my team give the customers a great experience whenever they attend the Proact.”

What is your background?

“I have always been in this type of industry, I have managed various pubs, restaurants, hotels, night-clubs and other sports stadiums, with an array of various different functions. All of these jobs were attended very heavily by customers on a regular basis and require me to have a close attention to detail and look after their needs. Everywhere I have worked I have focused on meeting the customer’s expectations.

“I worked at the Owlerton Stadium where we had Speedway, Stock Car racing, Monster Truck racing and both Sheffield FC mens and ladies played there, as did the Sheffield Eagles.”

How did you get the job at Chesterfield?

“I was made aware that the position was available and I applied through the usual channels, I had the interview and was successful in my application.”

How many days do you work in an ordinary week?

“It is generally a five-day week, but they are never 9-5 hours, a few weeks ago I worked a 19-hour shift on a Saturday, a 12-hour shift on a Sunday and then started at 8.00am on the Monday ready for the player’s breakfast. We then have the player’s lunch at-least four days a week and then we regularly have the ‘Senior Spireites’ lunch.

“There are an array of events that we have here on a regular basis and all these events go on behind the scenes. We have blood donors, bankers, accountants and last month we even done four weddings and a funeral.”

What do you do outside of the football club?

“I have to answer emails and phone calls pretty much 24/7 so that keeps me busy, people are constantly enquiring about private parties. While I may not actually be at the club seven days a week, I find that I am forever giving prices and information about events. Nick Johnson in media is very pro-active in booking events as well.”

“When I do get spare time I like to look after myself, I go to the gym and play golf when i can, even if it doesn’t always show!”

What item do you use most often?

“The tea towels carrying the food about the place and the waitress trolley which is priceless to us!”

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