Those who know me will be aware of my passion for football; which meant that it was my pleasure to spend two days at West Ham Utd, working out of the players' lounge delivering Conflict Resolution and De-Escalation skills training to their Supporter Liaison Officers.
When staff have customer-facing roles, there is always the potential of heightened emotions and a risk from passionate football supporters tipping over into aggression, however remote. This risk increases in the context of football and football fans depending on what's going on with their team. Football fans, as we know, can be some of the most passionate people about the sport they follow.
The two days of training were very enthusiastically attended by some of the nicest people I have had the good fortune to meet and train before. Everyone joined in and made a significant contribution to the course, which is a testament to how seriously they take their roles, given that they are all part-time and typically work only on match-days, with other jobs or education to attend when not involved with West Ham.
Anyone who delivers training will know that the input and positive contribution from the delegates can really make a course that much more interesting, as views and experiences are shared around the room.
Special mention must also go to my exemplary hosts at West Ham Utd: Sophie, Meg and Eugene. They certainly know how to look after people and their hospitality was second to none. I hope to be back at some point in the future, either to carry out some more training or to watch the team play.