UCFB is lucky enough to count not one, not two, but three graduates who are employed at recently promoted, Championship newcomers Wycombe Wanderers. Here, Josh Easterbrook, who works as a Commercial & Legal Executive at the club, tells us about his role, the club’s recent success and how his time on the BA (Hons) Sports Business & Sports Law programme helped set him up for life at Adams Park…

Congratulations on Wycombe’s incredible promotion to the Championship! How have things been at the club since the play-off final? 

In one word? Crazy. Once the celebrations were over I think the realisation of what was to come really set in, especially with the hundreds of emails that came flooding in from people all wanting to be part of the club, whether it be through a service they can provide to us, advertisement, or to book hospitality for next season. Overnight, our operation essentially tripled in size and with the staff in the office remaining the same as it had done throughout the entirety of the lockdown (six of us), we know we are in for a lot of hard work and several chaotic weeks to ensure we are prepared for our first season in the Championship.

Were you one of the lucky few who were able to be at Wembley, or were you celebrating at home? 

Each club was only given ten tickets, so naturally they were given to directors of the club and the trust board’s directors. A couple of staff members and club partners rent space at the BoxPark, a stone’s throw away from Wembley, and enjoyed the rollercoaster there. We were lucky enough to be part of the celebrations with the squad back at Adams Park until the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Did you imagine being part of such huge success during your time at the club? 

I had spent the season before working match days in the hospitality lounges and it was the first time the club had been in League One since 2015, so avoiding relegation that year, on one of the lowest budgets in league, was seen as a success. I was offered a full-time job in the summer, which I had to politely decline due to my third year commitments at UCFB, but took on working three days’ per week alongside my studies. On my first day in the new role, the Couhigs (club owners) introduced themselves to club staff and stated their intentions to become a majority shareholder at the club, so from that day forward we were well aware that the long term ambition was to eventually break into the Championship. The goal for this season was to become financial sustainable and improve on last year’s points tally, but fast forward a year and we’ve successfully dealt with a global pandemic and been promoted – you really couldn’t write it!

Tell us more about your role at Wycombe? 

It’s largely commercial based. I work closely with Neil Peters, the new Chief Commercial Officer and Pete Couhig, the CFO and nephew of owner Rob Couhig. We work together on prospecting new businesses that could be interested in developing a partnership with the club to then creating the pitch; I then put together the commercial contract to be signed off by both parties. We are working hard on developing the premium hospitality packages we offer, so searching for companies that can help us deliver this and to sponsor the lounges is part of the work that’s currently going on. Once the partners/sponsors are on board, I will be the primary contact for them, and essentially the account manager, to ensure all the assets and activations that are promised are delivered.  

What aspects of your Sports Business & Sports Law degree have you been able to take into the working world? 

I think mainly, without this degree, I would not have been able to get the placement during the 2018/19 season which ultimately means mean I would not be in the position that I am now. More specifically, it’s put me in good stead to construct and review contracts in a commercial way and bring to the table new ideas to improve revenue streams and the all-round operation at the club. The expertise and understanding gained over the last three years allowed me to play a key role in helping negotiations and then to write new contracts with sponsors for the up-coming season.

What are your hopes for Wycombe next season as they prepare for their first ever season in the Championship? 

Avoiding relegation on the field has to be the main target, and perhaps giving the bigger teams a run for their money. I think the stat I heard the other day was, compared to the other relegation candidates, we are several millions off their playing budgets - let alone the rest of the league - so with that in mind staying up would be a greater achievement than this season’s promotion. Off the field, we aim to capitalise on our success and create a product which fans recognise and want to keep coming back to every week. There is now no reason for the younger generation to have a “second team” in the higher leagues as we as a club are there ourselves now, so we hope to encourage this. Personally, I am also studying a LLM Sports Law next season on a part-time basis so whichever way you look at it, it’s bound to be an exciting year!