A British Raj – Raj Athwal, Commercial Consultant at Burton Albion reflects upon his 23 years of working in football across the UK.
Raj Athwal’s ‘A British Raj’ (My Life in Football: Behind Closed Doors), is no ordinary football autobiography.
Charting his life journey as a normal working-class, British born Asian growing up in 1980s Britain in the midst of high unemployment and racism, Raj kept hold of his dream of one day feeling accepted by the country he loved and respected.
Ultimately, his dream was realised when he went on to make football business history by becoming the first ever British born Asian to represent an English professional football club as Commercial Director.
Raj said: “I achieved a major milestone in the most bizarre of circumstances – you just couldn’t make it up but then again this is the football industry.”
Having scraped through education and spending much of his childhood playing street football, Raj would eventually go on to work in the Premier League at club’s including Coventry City, Watford and in Scotland with Glasgow Rangers who, at the time, were going through the process of rebuilding following relegation and administration.
In 2012, he was recognised for his work at the inaugural Asian Football Awards but football, by Raj’s account, is cut-throat to which: “There is no easy route to working inside the football industry,” he warned.
He added: “And once in, there was no way I was going to let the opportunity pass me by. This is an industry that has its own rules and regulations. A culture of its very own that is non-conventional, yet intriguing and exciting to be part of.”
For many people, working in football is a dream but, as Raj openly admits, some of his own personal experiences have been anything but a dream.
Having worked on the inside for almost a quarter of a century, Raj has finally given the honest truth to what many have been asking – What is life like in football – behind closed doors?
A British Raj (My Life in Football: Behind Closed Doors)
Price: £9.99 RRP – Available to order from Amazon