Matisse: Hi Zac! Thanks for joining us at All Things Chelsea for this interview. Firstly, I’ve gotta start on your career within the sport before we head onto Chelsea. What a rise it’s been so far, starting with Football Daily on YouTube. Standing at 1.7million subscribers, what’s it been like being part of such huge success, and how did you join?
Zac: I appreciate the kind words. It’s been fun, I’ve now been making videos with the team for nearly 4 years! I joined when I was 18 in 2016 and FD has been at the forefront of my adult life.
I think sometimes we forget just how big 1.7million subscribers is because we’re always on the go. But we’ve managed to do some amazing things, from interviewing footballers, to even one of the boys hosting a show on Sky Sports every week! I’ve been lucky in ways too, especially as we’ve managed to build a team with some of the greatest people I’ve ever met and create friendships with every single one of them! As for how I joined, I was fortunate enough to get work experience there and worked very hard to try and get offered a job and we’re still trying to create the best football content on as many platforms as possible!
Matisse: Football Daily have made incredible breakthroughs in working with Sky. Firstly congrats on the success and secondly how do the two compare in terms of presenting and socially?
Zac: To be honest, they’re similar in ways and completely different in others. Whether you’re presenting to a camera in a loft or in a multimillion pound studio, it’s still the same, even if that means you’re reading from an autocue or having a debate. The real differences I guess are the platforms they go on, when things are on TV, there’s a lot more professionalism to it, that’s not to say YouTube/Social doesn’t have that. But with TV there’s a crew of 15+ people, whereas for social it’s a lot less. It’s cool to think that we can both successfully and adapt to whatever situation we’re in.
Matisse: Before we move onto another career venture, was Football Daily your first job in football? Or is there another back story?
Zac: Yeah, as I mentioned earlier, I joined when I was 18 and I had always wanted to make YouTube videos ever since I was young and was determined to make that a part of my career. So I felt it would be more important for me to get into the industry than going to university or something. Luckily I was also an avid football fan and it was the perfect match. It was different back then too, there were only 6 of us creating close to 14 videos in a 5 day week so it was nonstop work, but it was always enjoyable, stressful too, but in perspective it’s probably one of the best jobs in the world!
Matisse: You’ve also enjoyed great success in doing talk shows/in game commentary with Chelsea TV! What’s it been like to work with the club you support?
Zac: It’s still hard to believe at times! It’s as close as I can get to signing for the club without actually being a professional footballer! Because of the way the industry is there’s not much time to reflect but I think when I’m older (I’m only 22 now) and look back it’ll really hit me. Currently I just want to make the best content possible for the club and the fans. But it has been quite surreal at times. Interviewing my favourite players, having good chats with them casually and even just being round Cobham every other week and just seeing Lampard walk out to training, it’s crazy and long may it continue! But I also have to say thank you to the Chelsea staff too for giving me the opportunity.
Matisse: A quite incredible job you have, it must be surreal at times, especially at the training ground like you’ve mentioned. Also, was Football Media always something you wanted to get involved with? Are you living ‘The dream’ so to speak haha.
Zac: YouTube and football were the main things in my life, so yeah maybe I am living my dream. It’s weird because my aim was to do what I’m doing now and so I’m constantly trying to look at how I can improve and what the next steps are for me. I never want to feel like I’ve wasted time or opportunities as you may never get them again, even though I am quite young in this industry, I think part of me needs to learn to be patient too. But yeah, even though I may have not fully thought about working in Football Media when I was younger, I’m definitely glad I’m working in it now!
Matisse: During COVID19 things have certainly changed drastically work wise, How have you adjusted to the new environment, especially when most videos you’ve been in seem to be in studios but now you have to work from home?
Zac: It’s been odd for sure! I kind of feel more YouTubey then I’ve ever felt as I’m making videos from my bedroom. I’m sometimes worried my neighbours are going to complain about the noise sometimes when we’re filming, but it’s been as smooth as it could have possibly been! During quite uncertain times at the start we handled the situation really well and were working from home instantly, the team especially! We’ve had to change shows in ways and even made news ones, so personally in terms of work, we’ve adjusted really well! I just hope we can get back to our ‘normal’ lives as soon as possible. (I miss the boys)
Matisse: Moving onto Chelsea this season, it’s been great to see the youth come through and do so well. who would be your standout performer?
Zac: That’s really hard to answer, so many of them have played well. I think as Chelsea fans we knew they were definitely capable of it, so it was more of a shock to other teams fans. But it’s hard to pick one, Mason’s work rate throughout the season and versatility has been fantastic, the Everton game was unbelievable. Reece James at times has arguably been the best player on the pitch when he’s started, defensively and offensively great, and he’s only 20! More recently Billy Gilmour has made me believe he’s going to be controlling that midfield for the next decade and I can’t wait. But if I had to pick one, it’s got to be Tammy! He’s been exceptional at handling the responsibility of being Chelsea’s number 9, which isn’t easy! 13 goals in your first full season at the club, having also suffered injuries is pretty good! And personally the passion he shows on the pitch is second to none, I feel there’s a chance over the next few years that we may see leadership qualities arise out of him. There are also things to improve, with all of them, but the talent they’ve already got and are showing, it’s going to be a great decade at the bridge, if not longer with the likes on Callum, Tino and co.
Also shout out Fik, he’s had a really solid season so far too!
Matisse: I’m certainly tirelessly reminding everyone Tomori myself, had a brilliant start to the season and has so much potential from what I’ve seen. There’s been of course many incredible moments this season, unfortunately halted by circumstances out of our control. As a hypothetical, if you could choose between a FA Cup win and Top 4 qualification what would it be? Bearing in mind our classic kit haha.
Zac: This is hard! For me, personally, top 4 qualification, the FA Cup is a great tournament and I love it! But playing in the Champions League and going up against Europe’s best sides is special, not many teams get to do it. Matching up against the likes of Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo to try and prove you’re the best team in Europe, nothing beats it, these Tuesday and Wednesday nights are so special.
Matisse: It’s always a tough one to decide not much beats a game under the lights at Stamford Bridge, envisioning the team winning the cup with the historic kit has me torn, genuinely couldn’t answer it myself. Lastly, would you say you have a 5 year plan within Football media or goals you’d like to hit next?
Zac: Ah if I had set plan I really would tell you, but to be honest, I don’t know! If you’d have told me a year ago that I’d be presenting for Chelsea, I’d have said you’re lying. I have rough goals, like I want to do more presenting, whether that’s YouTube or TV, even the possibility of hosting a TV show is something I definitely think about. Even possibly stretching out to outside of football and doing some of that stuff. I also constantly thinking about setting up my own YouTube channel. In this industry, a lot of things can happen out of the blue, but I’ll continue to push myself and hopefully try to achieve them goals.
Matisse: You’ve done so much at such a young age so credit to you, and I’ll be exciting to see your career progress further. Thanks again for coming on, and thanks to everyone reading! Hope you’ve enjoyed the interview and stay tuned with blog for the next one. A certain podcast host you may be familiar with…