Aged 17 and getting paid to watch football all day
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Aged 17 and getting paid to watch football all day

By Manish Pandey

Newsbeat reporter

image copyrightAshwin Raman/Getty Images

What might you have been doing with your life when you were 17? Thinking about university or a job perhaps?

It probably wasn’t working for a football club.

For Ashwin Raman, it’s been a dream come true since starting a role as a scout and analyst at Scottish club Dundee United.

“I’m still pinching myself. And I still can’t quite believe it,” the 17-year-old tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

Ashwin’s been at the club since 2019, during which they’ve seen a promotion and are currently sixth in the Scottish Premiership.

And it’s not been a regular 9 to 5 for him either.

While lots of us have been getting used to working remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic, Ashwin’s somewhat of a pro, working from home the entire time – 5,111 miles (8,225 km) away in Bangalore, India.

image copyrightAshwin Raman

image captionAway from Dundee United, Ashwin has been a long-time supporter of Chelsea

It was after reading football books that Ashwin was “hooked” and felt inspired to “go into the blogosphere”.

“On my 13th birthday I started a blog and wrote what were some horrible pieces looking back,” he laughs.

But the more football analysis he put out there, the bigger his Twitter following became – and then he received a special message in 2019.

“Stevie Grieve, the chief scout at Dundee United popped into my DMs and asked if I wanted a role at the club.”

For Ashwin, it was a chance to do what he was already doing – but having “an actual effect on a football club”.

Data, videos and fun

Spending hours on a laptop going through data and analysing videos probably isn’t “living the dream” for most people, but it is for Ashwin.

“Here I am getting paid to work for a football club and having an impact.”

Most of his time is spent looking for new players the club can sign.

“I get told what type of player we want, go through the database and see who performs well for the profile of player we want.”

“And if we have a shot at signing him, I’ll spend hours watching him and report back if he’s worth it.”

image copyrightAshwin Raman

image captionAshwin says he only uses data as a guide, rather than to decide everything

It might not be the way most people his age spend the day, but he admits he loves it.

“Apart from that, I assess our own performance in relation to the rest of the league. Not just in terms of quality but also to see whether we’re playing the way we set out to.”

He says the big advantage with data is that it gives you “the answers to allocate resources better and be more efficient”.

An unhealthy sleep schedule

It’s worth remembering there’s a pretty big time difference between the UK and India.

But Ashwin’s “unhealthy sleep schedule” and years of watching European football means he practically lives on UK time.

He’s thankful that work is flexible – he’s still a student after all.

“I have exams right now so I haven’t been doing much work.”

As you might expect, football makes up a large part of Ashwin’s downtime too, because at the end of the day – he’s a fan at heart and doesn’t “always need to watch analytically”.

“I’m always thinking ‘oh come on you can shoot from there’ which is probably the opposite of what the best option is.”

And though he’s not at the level of his favourite player Eden Hazard, Ashwin “loves playing football”.

“I might be the worst player on the pitch every single time.”

But off the pitch, Ashwin is staying in the moment and seeing where he ends up.

“The absolute dream would be to reach the highest level possible.”

“But I’m going to enjoy what I’m doing now and see where it takes me,” he adds.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.

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