DENTONIAN Paul Carter is living the dream after landing his first full-time job in football at the age of 58.
The former sales rep, who been heavily involved in local amateur sport for most of his life, has been appointed general manager at Altrincham Football Club.
Paul, who lives in Dane Bank, cut his teeth in football administration as a director and unpaid club secretary at Stalybridge Celtic.
He became Altrincham club secretary, again a voluntary role, in the summer of 2019 after leaving Bower Fold.
But when Altrincham offered him a full-time role at the ambitious National League side, it was an opportunity he could not turn down.
Paul said: “I was looking for a change after spending more than 30 years on the road as a sales rep.
“I mentioned to the club I would love to get involved in football full time and, when the club created the new post, I received a call and, after speaking to them three or four times, I was offered the job.
“It is a massive change of direction to selling machines in the cleaning industry but was too good an opportunity to turn down at a club of its standing in non-league, though its name is not always spelled correctly.
“And the beauty is that I have not come in as the new boy as I have been here 18 months and already have a good relationship with the players and manager.”
In the role of general manager Paul, the football club’s only full-time employee, will oversee all aspects of the Robins’ off-field activities.
Paul added these are exciting times for newly promoted Altrincham who are mid-table in National League.
He said: “There is a 10-year plan to redevelop the stadium with plans and drawings already done.
“The long-term ambition is to become an EFL team for the first time in the club’s history.
“We have been close a few times in the old days when clubs were voted in or out rather than today’s automatic promotion.
“We also hope one day to be in a position where we are able to go full time rather than training two nights each week.
“We know there is a lot of work that needs to be done to get to where we want to be. But I think employing me full time shows it is a sign of the club’s ambition.”
Paul described his football ability as modest as he turned out for the third and fourth teams at Stockport Georgians.
But he found a niche running junior teams and refereeing while he remains an umpire in the Greater Manchester Cricket League.
Paul ran junior football teams from the age of 16 at Denton Boys Club, West End Boys, Reddish Villa and Dukinfield Youth.
He began refereeing aged 16 and continued for 35 years in junior football and as high as the Lancashire and Cheshire League in adults.
Paul also loves cricket and serves on the committee at Denton West where he had a seven-year stint as chairman while he remains an umpire in the GMCL.
He became a board member at Stalybridge Celtic through his close friend Syd White who was a director and CEO at Bower Fold at the time.
When Celtic general manager Michael Beech landed a job at EFL club Barnsley as assistant club secretary, Paul offered to do the job unpaid to save the cash-strapped club money.
Paul believes anybody with ambitions of working full time in football administration would benefit from experience gained in non-league.
He points to Michael Beech, now football secretary at Oldham Athletic, and Richard Cooper who was at Ashton United and is now at Fleetwood Town as prime examples of people who have gone on to achieve greater things.
“I value the time I had at Stalybridge Celtic and it gave me the grounding to be here,” he said.