Tony Clark’s path to becoming AFC Portchester’s kitman has taken him on plenty of different adventures in sport.
He started his life in sport as a professional jockey before moving into football coaching and he has had roles at Portsmouth, Brighton, Chelsea and a French academy.
He moved to National League side Ebbsfleet United as kit man and was also in charge of their match analysis before he was appointed to his role at the Crest Finance Stadium.
Throughout his sporting career, Tony is used to dealing with players but the role of kit man allows him to get closer to them than when he was in a manager/coaching position.
He explained: “As a kit man you build up personal relationships with the players - you’re almost like a dad to them.
“Sometimes you are that go between between the manager and the players - the players will come to me and air their views or talk about other things on their mind.
“I love the players here and working with the staff we have here too. I love it here - it is my life and I live for a Saturday.
“In Mick Catlin, you couldn’t ask for a better gaffer and it is only a matter of time before this club gets to the higher levels.”
Being the man who ensures all of the players’ kit requirements are catered for and acting as a listening post for them at times as well, also means TC is one of the central characters on a matchday - which also means he can be the target of the squad’s banter.
But he is happy to be on the receiving end of their jokes as he knows he has their respect at the same time.
Tony added: “My favourite players at the club are Mike Turvey - a player the others strive to be like and look up to, and Steve Ramsey - he’s so professional and is a real gentleman on and off the pitch.
“The player who is the biggest pain to me is Olly Searle - he never shuts up and always wants to have the last word. He’s always trying to wind me up but I love him.
“Ben Buckland is the most difficult - he always has something to say about the kit and is working on what we can do next with it but he is funny.
“The lads are always trying to get one over on me - when we did the team pictures recently one of the shirts went missing afterwards.
“I know one of them has got it somewhere but they are trying to wind me up. But watch this space as I will get my own back on them!
“But I know the lads love me to death and they have respect for you. Doing my job allows them to focus on the job of getting us promoted.
“I do everything I can to help the cause and if getting my job right is worth three to six extra points a season then things are going the right way.
“My philosophy on the role overall is to stay out of the way and make sure everything is prepared and focus on the job in hand.”