Baiteze Manager: Billy Hession
In this new interview, Billy Hession, manager of the Sunday league YouTube phenomenon Baiteze Football Club opens up about the pressures of being the manager of a team in the public eye.
Here, the ex-Southend and Gillingham coach reveals how his previous experiences have shaped him into being a man able to handle the perceived pressures of being the manager of a popular Sunday league club.
Baiteze released their first video on May 25th, 2017 and if you fast forward three years later, they can marvel at the creation of one of the most popular Sunday league teams ever. Being considered as one of the pioneers of making grassroots football mainstream, is an accomplishment that cannot be understated.
Even with all the exuberance, enthusiasm and joy that is filled within the Baiteze camp that viewers are able to see through their weekly videos, every great team has a coach whose tactics and man management skills allow the players to deliver.
Billy Hession, newly appointed manager has been with the team for most of its existence and having started as a player and then as an assistant manager. Billy now finds himself in the eye line of the 49,000 subscribers Baiteze currently possess.
“The person that praises you one week, is the same person that criticises you another,” Billy tells Daniel on a Zoom call. He goes on to add “There is pressure to it, do I feel the pressure myself?” he asks himself, “No, I would not say so, it sort of wipes off me….I live and die by the sword as I have put myself out there to be scrutinised.”
His journey towards being the Baiteze manager could not have been possible without his previous experiences. Being a coach at Southend and Gillingham under the stewardship of a number of experienced, high level coaches have moulded him into the manager he aspires to be. The most notable coach is former Premier League manager Phil Brown.
Billy ascertains that the key difference between Baiteze and academies he has worked at is winning being above development. In grassroots football, winning is prioritised and that is ‘sword’ he will be judged upon.
“Men’s football is ruthless, it is about the win as opposed to development, win at all costs playing the way you want to play” he adds “At the end of the day, you need to win leagues, you need to win titles and you need to win cups.”
This mindset is what Billy aims to instil in his players, the realisation that Baiteze is everyone’s cup final and that teams will often raise their game against them so they must be prepared for these scenarios. This acceptance of the stature of the club is what I believe can keep Baiteze at the top for years to come.
“We don’t indulge in winning the one-off games, we are here to win leagues and keep that consistency” was Billy’s response to the question of the Baiteze mindset. A very interesting response, as we the viewers tend to see the enjoyable side to the channel, the fun they have as a team and the good football they play as they possess great players, however we fail sometimes to realise that these players have tremendously strong mindsets and Billy has definitely done a great job at maintaining their high standards.
This popularity comes with a number of opportunities for collaborations and sponsorships such as working with New Balance, Wing Stop and Liverpool Football Club, however Billy says, “I cannot be happy as I want more”.
One could argue that taking a moment to commend their achievements would not be seen as over the top, however Billy has a mentality of wanting “to be the best” he maintains this for himself and his players which regardless of the ‘clout’ they receive they are still seeking to be the best on the football pitch.
Again, he talks about his mentality in relation to the other successful YouTube teams such as SE Dons, Lambeth All Stars, Rising Ballers to name a few.
“I am not in competition with anyone else, no disrespect to them but I don’t care what they are doing….All twitter back and forths I think is embarrassing and I just focus on Baiteze, as if we simply focus on ourselves we will beat any of those teams.”
This is a glimpse of the confidence Billy possesses in himself as a manager and, in his team, the understanding that it does not matter what others do as long as we are concentrating on ourselves “as we let our content do the talking for us” he says.
One thing is certain, Baiteze are able to be as successful as they are because they exude confidence. This stems certainly from each individual player being confident in his own ability, but credit must be given to Billy Hession who also shares and preaches that confidence to his team on a daily basis.
It is that same confidence they are prepared to die by during the challenging times and live by during the good times, a quality that will keep them at the top for years to come.
Full interview can be found on YouTube Eyes On The Ball TV
Follow them on YouTube here: https://bit.ly/2UmumiZ
Written by Daniel Bamiji