The ArenA through the eyes of a Steward: Jeffrey
At every match, event and concert, the ArenA is filled with stewards and hosts. Without them, all of these special days could not take place. One of our stewards is Jeffrey, assistent of sector E, and he is beginning his fourth year as a steward at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. The 'Amsterdammer' has, next to his parttime job of being a steward, an office job at a sales and business development company.
I enjoy working with people, being hospitable and giving people a good time.
For Jeffrey, being a steward is a parttime job to his office work. After a visit to Ajax.nl, he found out that Triple A – a collaboration of the Johan Cruijff ArenA and Ajax – was looking for new stewards. He applied to the job, went through the application process at Randstad and after a training of 15 hours, Jeffrey could work in the stadium. 'A lot of it is learning by doing. The basic training where you get taught about the stadium, what it's like to be a steward, that is just the beginning. On match days it's always different and you just have to do it. You get placed at different positions, an entry to a section, an emergency exit, at the entrance to scan and check tickets. It can be very diverse during a shift. You work with a great team and all the coworkers are really helpful and will always be open to explaining things to you; all to make sure we can give the visitors a nice afternoon, evening or day.'
For Jeffrey, a day at the ArenA always starts at a different time, depending on when the match or the event starts. Jeffrey gives a briefing to all the stewards and hosts with his team. After this, everyone gets in position and the ticket check at the mainentrance will start as well as several receptions in halls in sector E. When all the guests have entered the stadium, Jeffrey and his team keep control on how the rest of the day goes. 'We keep an eye on everything. How the supporters react, how the match is going, and more. Ten minutes before rest we go back to the halls to make sure the right people enter again.'
The stewards of the ArenA help in creating memorable and safe experiences at all home matches of Ajax and the Dutch national team. During a European match, such as Ajax against Union Berlin, Jeffrey notices that the atmosphere is different in the stadium than during an Eredvisie match. 'The European match has a bit more pressure, the atmosphere is more intense. There's something at stake. You notice that in the stadium and in the moments leading up to it. My coworkers at my office job will talk about the match. It's the topic of conversation. Those talks are really fun.'
During European matches, there's something more than just tension that comes looking around the corner. 'At a European match we've got different accreditations for the press, the visiting team, the supervisors, and more. We need to pay extra attention that everyone has the right accreditation, because the UEFA also sends out her own match accreditation for invited guests. We're extra alert when this happens, because there have been people without tickets to the match who try to come in with 'wrong accreditation'. This last situation happened during the match of Ajax against Union Berlin. 'We addressed the person and got extra colleague to further take care of the situation.'
We're a part of something bigger.
Besides the matches of Ajax and the Dutch national team, Jeffrey and his team are also present during concerts and business events in the ArenA. Jeffrey was working during the performances of the Rolling Stones, Ed Sheerand, De Toppers and more. 'We've got a summer coming up with a calendar filled with events from Bruce Springsteen, Harry Styles, the Weeknd, Beyoncé, Metallica and Coldplay. We're a part of something bigger, and without the stewards and hosts it's really difficult to organise events like this.' During business events, the stewards and hosts can also not be missed. 'We make sure everything happens the way it's supposed to and we're the support towards the organisation that is having their event, to be there for their guests and employees all day.'
Jeffrey thinks being service oriented is one of the best elements about the job. 'Together with our team we want to express the fact that we're there for the visitors, to help them and give them the chance to experience a good event or match. In time you'll get known by regular vistors. They feel seen, appreciated, and sometimes want to share their story with you. They'll tell us 'Thanks, man!' and 'See you next time!'
We're open towards each other.
The diverse team of employees is one of the reasons the team works so well together, according to Jeffrey. 'Our team exists of a great group of people, from different ages and diverse backgrounds. This way we're a good resemblance of society, and I believe that's why it's working so well. We're open to each other.' Jeffrey also believes there's multiple reasons why people become a stewards. 'You don't need to be a fan of football. You can do it for the stadium, or because the work itself interests you, the connection with people. You kind of grow into the world.'
Jeffrey names the variety between football, concerts and business events as one of the pros of having a parttime job of being a steward. 'It's a really fun parttime job. In all the work that I've done, the connecting with people, helping them, giving great service and an amazing experience, that's what I've enjoyed the most. And all of that is possible to do here. Having a fun team makes it even better. And the job being in the most beautiful stadium and at a club that I'm a fan of, those are all pros.'
After three good years at the Johan Cruijff ArenA, Jeffrey is not at all planning on stopping with the job. He even hopes to grow to a higher function. 'I definitely want to become head steward one day, ideally on the sector I work at now.' He also has another hope for the future. 'I hope we keep this energy within the team and that we can help create beautiful events this summer, and add new fun coworkers to our team. Because the job really is great. Sometimes people wonder if you can see the match while you're working, and a few times you might get the chance for a moment, but ultimately, you are there to support the running of the event.'
Looking for something extra?
Did Jeffrey's story interest you? Follow the button below to the website of Randstad to apply to the function of steward or host! For questions, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: you are required to speak fluent Dutch to become a steward or host.