We are delighted to welcome Simon Panes to Herefordshire FA as the new Chief Executive Officer. Simon brings a wealth of experience from a variety of roles both in and outside of football to the job and is ready to hit the ground running. He introduces himself below.
Simon Panes Chief Executive Officer
Born and bred in South Gloucestershire and brought up on the family farm, I fell in love with the game after being taken to my first Bristol City football match by my Dad and brother at a very young age.
I still support City to this day and fulfilled my boyhood dream of actually playing for the club making my debut at Peterborough on the same day David Seaman made his debut for the Posh. (I wonder what happened to him!)
I am extremely proud of establishing from day one the nationally acclaimed Bristol Academy of Sport in partnership with SGS College spending 20 very happy years in my role as Director of Sport. My experience in football has been as a player, coach, mentor, manager, scout, coach educator, welfare and safeguarding officer, national team coach and General Manager of a WSL side. So a variation of roles that gives me the experience to lead the Herefordshire FA and move the organisation to the next level and build on all the excellent work already in place.
Over the next year my role will be to oversee the development of the superb state of the art 3G pitch and max the facility out plus making sure we raise the perception and awareness of the HFA across the county.
Simon replaces outgoing CEO Jonathan Walker who joined the HFA in 2016 as Football Strategy Manager. He quickly became a popular member of staff, encouraging the development team to be creative in the way they support football in the county.
In 2018 Walker took over as CEO with Jim Lambert becoming Finance Director. He identified the need to diversify and forge links with local businesses and was also involved in getting key organisations and clubs on board with the application for a 3G pitch on the County Ground, with planning granted in December 2018. It is expected the new facility will be open for use in September 2019 and it is regarded as a “game changer” for Herefordshire FA as we look to increase and diversify our football offering.
During Jonathan Walker’s time at Herefordshire FA, safeguarding rightly came to the forefront of everything we do. In addition he initiated a safeguarding conference with SAVE Association which attracted staff and volunteers from across Herefordshire Sport. This has culminated in Herefordshire FA being independently assessed against the FA Safeguarding Operating Standard which noted: “Herefordshire County Football Association has embedded safeguarding into its governance structures and operational practices. Jonathan and the entire team should be congratulated on this achievement; it is a good example of what a smaller county can achieve”.
Of his time at Herefordshire FA, Walker said “It has been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to work with so many amazing people. Herefordshire is blessed with some incredibly dedicated volunteers within grassroots football, my heartfelt thanks and best wishes to them all.”
Simon Panes, who has taken on the reigns as Chief Executive of Herefordshire FA, said “I am delighted and honoured to be offered the opportunity to build on the excellent work already achieved at the HFA. As the new CEO I am looking forward to the development of the new 3G facility which will allow us to raise awareness and improve the perception of the organisation around the county.”
We would like to thank Jonathan Walker for the considerable contribution he made at Herefordshire Football Association.