Dewsbury Rams have appointed Steven Downes as the club’s new media manager.
Downes will join the club as a paid member of staff and, starting today, work from the stadium on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
A media volunteer since the start of the 2016 season, Downes’ appointment to the role is a reflection of the work, enthusiasm and initiative he has shown during this period, and a signal of the club’s intent to improve its marketing output.
Downes will be tasked with promoting matches and other aspects of the club and its facilities, including the function rooms and 4G pitches.
He will be supported in the role by media volunteers Tom Coates, James Taylor and Lucas Whitehead, while in turn also supporting other initiatives being undertaken by The Amber Ribbon and supporter volunteers.
Steven attended Huddersfield University, where he earned a degree in sports journalism, and has written for publications and companies including League Weekly, The Huddersfield Daily Examiner and The FA.
He has shown great determination to forge a career in media despite suffering from a rare eye condition called aniridia, which means that his iris is incomplete.
The condition affects as few as 1 in 100,000 people and, like many people with aniridia, he also has nystagmus, a condition that causes the eyes to flicker from side to side, and cataracts, which cloud the lens of the eye.
Downes said: “I am delighted to have signed a contract with the Rams in a permanent position. I have enjoyed my time as a volunteer and I’m thankful to club chairman Mark Sawyer for giving me this opportunity. Dewsbury has always supported me with my media work and has a friendly working environment for people with disabilities.
“I also appreciate the support I have got from the fans too while conducting my match-day duties, and now I’m looking forward to taking on what will be a very challenging but rewarding role.
“As a person with a severe disability, I have only good things to say about everyone at the club who has been in contact with me. The Rams are one of the best clubs to deal with when it comes to discussing issues surrounding disability and I have always wanted to work for an employer like this.
“As this is my first full time media position since leaving University, I am pleased that I will have a great support network around me.
“Tom, James and Lucas put a lot of time into the club, to bring fans the latest news and information. They do a fantastic job already and hopefully with my help now in a full time role, we can enhance the club’s media and marketing activities further.”
Rams chairman Mark Sawyer said: “We’re really pleased to reward Steven for his hard work as a volunteer by offering him a role with the club.
“He will join us for an initial three-month period, during which time he’ll be fully supported by existing club staff and volunteers. We are confident that he can make the role a success.”