Manisha Tailor has taken the football industry by storm ever since she embarked on a career change in 2011. After working as a teacher and qualified to be a head teacher, she felt it was time to change direction. Juggling a full time job and caring for her Brother who at present is recovering from a mental breakdown, Manisha made the brave decision to leave her post and work in a field that is extremely close to her heart: Football.
It is through football that her most cherished memories of her Brother lie. Being the other part of a twin and spending the majority of her early life joint at the hip, her Brother?s break down left her and her family beyond devastation.
Manisha was aware of all the complications and hard work it would involve to break into what most would still say now is a predominately male profession.
Leaving a job with security and going into at the time was the unknown, Manisha wasn?t sure what to expect but through her willingness, determination and passion for sport she took the risk with the hope that it may impact positively upon her brother?s recovery.
She is now the Centre Manager at Middlesex FA ?U9 Centre of Excellence, founder of her football organisation Swaggarlicious, along with various other freelance projects. She was awarded Woman in Football at The Asian Football Awards in 2013.
“Being a coach,scout and tutor allows me to transfer my knowledge,skills and experience to a football enviornment, which is something i am very passionate about.”
“being awarded Woman in football in 2013 at the the asian football awards is a personal hghlight and shows just how far i have come.”
Manisha Tailor is a fine Example of a modern British Asian woman. She defied all odds to make her dream a reality. She sacrificed with hope that it would make a positive influence on her sibling.
She is a fine example to all young people interested in pursuing a career in Football or sport, that hard work and the willingness to never give up is the key to success.
She is an asset to all those she works for and a fine example to all genders through her commitment and dedication to the game.
Can you share with us your journey as to how you became a full-time football coach in the UK. You have a very moving story behind it all?
My journey in becoming a football coach draws me back to one person, and that is my twin brother who, due to a series of traumatic events and long term bullying, suffers from mental illness, requires 1:1 care at home and has been non-verbal for 15 years.
It was late 2011 when my mum had a heart operation, my sister started university and I was completing my Masters degree in Leadership as well as working as a deputy head-teacher. Given the challenges at home I decided to leave full-time work to care for my mum and brother.
This was when I began to coach football part-time in schools. As I returned home one day from work, I saw my brother smile. He walked over to my equipment and said football Manisha football. There was something in what he said and the way he said it. As kids, football dominated our lives and with this, I knew that there was a connection and that was between me, my brother and football. I courageously decided to embark upon a career change and pursue working in football to trigger my twin brother’s recovery.
Can you tell us about Swaggarlicious; why did you set up the organisation and what are it’s aims?
People ask why I would sacrifice 2 degrees, a lucrative salary, a head-teacher title, for an industry that poses many challenges. My answer is simple. I truly believe that my purpose in football is one about helping my brother, but more so to use my experiences to serve and empower others it is something I have great passion for. What has happened in my life has given me a purpose which is why I formed Swaggarlicious Ltd. My organisation name was inspired by a child who names their football team Swaggarlicious. I was instantly drawn to it and found it to be humorous, catchy and fun, but more importantly the it was initiated by a young person. The aims of my organisation are to inspire those from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities to participate in football; Empower women to see football as a career; Provide young people with work experience opportunities in football coaching and media; Work closely with Mental Health service providers to provide football opportunities to those suffering with mental illness in helping them lead positive and healthy lives.
As well as founding Swaggarlicious, you also have a few other roles within football, one of them being a Scout for Brentford FC; can you tell us more about this role and have you ever come across any discrimination or difficulties because of your gender or ethnicity whilst scouting?
Miguel Rios, recruitment manager at Brentford at the time, approached me about becoming a scout for the foundation phase. We met and discussed the role and how it translates to my experience in teaching in relation to player/child development not just technically, but socially and psychologically as well. What I loved about Brentfords philosophy is their commitment to holistic player development which is why I was instantly drawn to the role and the club. I feel my academic background in education and experience as an educator helped me become confident in speaking with and liaising with others within this role which in turn has helped deal with challenges in relation to gender and ethnicity.
You have won many awards throughout your career, many of which are recognised by the Asian community – how important is it to you that you are seen as a role model to girls in this community?
I think the visibility of role models is pivotal in inspiring the next and future generation of Asian women and men in football. Being recognised for your work is sincerely humbling but for me what is most important is being able to use this accolade and profile to impact the lives of others and help them to pursue a career in the game.
What have been your biggest challenges in progressing through your football coaching career so far?
If I am honest, my biggest challenge has been having the self-confidence and belief within my ability. People on the outset perceive me to be this bubbly and confident woman, however since my brother became unwell it had a great impact on me being independent and having to deal with things without the security of my brother. I cannot even explain how much of an impact it has had on my real inner self-belief. I am blessed to have mentors that have helped me regain confidence and helped me shatter this glass ceiling of I can’t to I can and are guiding me on my football journey.
What have been you biggest achievements / thing your most proud of in your career so far?
The thing that I am most proud of is creating Swaggarlicious as the ethos behind the organisation is very much based on moral purpose. With Swaggarlicious I will be able to create change for those with a disability, mental health, BAME community groups and girls and women through the power of football. The number of people and lives I will be able to reach through Swaggarlicious to truly make a difference will be immense and is such a great feeling.
What are your ambitions for your future coaching career?
I want to spend time consolidating my learning from the UEFA B with the view of one day embarking upon my A License. Now though, I just want to spend time continuing to learn and gain as much experience as possible working with elite players and those of an older age group.
Why do you think it is important that more women get involved in sport and more specifically involved in coaching?
The visibility of sports women and those in coaching is vital to inspiring other females to get involved. I think the opportunities for women to participate in sport are increasing and there are supporting networks and organisations to provide advice and guidance. I am partnered with This Girl Can and feel it is having a huge impact on the way women perceive sport it is certainly inspiring more women to be active which is brilliant.