Saturday’s FA Cup Final saw Manchester City clinch a historic treble to become the only men’s team in English football to achieve the feat. But what goes on behind the scenes to deliver such a major event at Wembley Stadium? And how much work is involved in making sure all the entertainment runs smoothly? We spoke to BA (Hons) Stadium & Events Management student Cameron Dabbs, who was working on the events team at the game, to find out more…

Hi Cameron. Thanks for speaking with us. Tell us about your work at the FA Cup Final. How did that come about? And what was it like working on the event?

Working on the FA Cup Final was an amazing opportunity to understand the inner workings of a major sports event in this country. I was fortunate enough to work for EVENT 360 who are responsible for all the pre-match and post-match entertainment during the final. The amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to put on half an hour’s entertainment pre-match and the same post-match is incredible. I think the most important thing was making sure that the entertainment builds the atmosphere for the game, but also it was imperative that it was completed so that the match could kick-off on time.

Man City secured a historic treble with the win over Watford at Wembley. How big an achievement is that in the modern game with the level of opposition in the Premier League?

Manchester City have become the first male team in this country to win the domestic treble which is obviously a great achievement and a historic one. Obviously winning the Premier League was a lot harder this season with Liverpool pushing them all the way so that’s a good achievement outright. They rode their luck at times in the FA Cup especially against Swansea but you do need a bit of luck to win trophies.

If you compare the Premier League to other leagues across Europe you don’t see this level of competition. For example, in my opinion, if you look at the Spanish league, realistically only three teams can win it, in the Bundesliga the same two teams compete for the title almost every season, in France two teams can win it realistically, and in Serie A Juventus have dominated for six or seven years. Compare this to the Premier League where you might be looking at six teams that could win the title; it just shows how competitive the league is.

As a BA (Hons) Stadium & Events Management student at UCFB it must be inspiring to see arenas like the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium being opened. What does it mean for the UK sports and events industry?

More and more clubs are redefining the purposes of their stadiums; you’ve just got to look at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for that. It will be hosting NFL matches in October on its second artificial pitch which is underneath one of the stands. It’s also got one of the longest bars in Europe I believe.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is scheduled to host NFL matches in October on an in-built artificial pitch

And you’ve got to look at some of the reports coming out where football clubs especially are not necessarily looking to expand their stadiums and increase their capacity but rather they’re focusing on improving the fan experience and making a day out at a match more enjoyable. The days are gone where stadiums are just used for when a football match is on – they’re becoming more multipurpose so that they can be used more often, generating further income for the owners. As a student who is going into this industry, it gives me a lot of confidence to know that the industry is alive and kicking and constantly developing and improving so there are great opportunities for me.

With the playoff weekend starting on Saturday we’ll have the excitement of three of the most important matches in the country. From an events perspective what challenges and opportunities does three major back-to-back events like this present?

I think it’s an exceptional challenge to host three massive football matches in the same stadium over a three-day weekend. The amount of planning and logistical work that is required to put on one massive event is substantial, let alone three. Take the stadium for example – after the match staff will have to work through the night to reset the stadium, rebrand it with the team’s logos ready for another match the day after and a new set of fans and a new set of challenges. And then you have one of the biggest games happening this Monday with Aston Villa and Derby going head-to-head to win a coveted place in the Premier League, which is such a huge money maker for the winning team. I don’t really follow either team so I’m not too bothered who does win on Monday but if Derby win then my seminar group might be a little bit quieter!

And the Champions League final is just around the corner as well! Atletico Madrid’s new Wanda Metropolitano stadium will host the game – how does an event like this benefit from being held in a modern, new arena?

I think it’s brilliant having a Champions League final in such a modern stadium like the Wanda Metropolitano and for the final to be held in such different, iconic arenas and cities across Europe. In a few years’ time it might be held at Tottenham’s new stadium but who knows.

I’ve looked into Atletico Madrid’s new stadium a bit and I’m hoping to be able to visit in December, as well as Real Madrid’s stadium, as our tutor group is planning a trip to Spain.

And finally, congratulations on completing your first year at UCFB! Tell us how you’ve found it. What have the highlights been for you?

Yeah, it’s been a great first year. I’ve met some amazing people who go to UCFB and met some amazing people on some of the projects that I volunteered for as part of the opportunities that UCFB offer.

I think some of the guest speakers have been truly inspirational and they really shared good, honest opinions on how to build your career path.

And to have lecturers dedicate time to talk to me about my career and where I want to go post-degree is gold dust.

I really can’t wait for the second year to start as I just want to progress well on my degree and get the best grade possible. But not only that – there is still plenty of opportunities that will come my way as I progress into year two and year three and I’m aiming to just put my name out there as much as possible so that hopefully I get the best start in the right job after completing my course.