It was an experience like no other for former Football NSW Video Producer Brendan Modini who lived and breathed all the highs and lows for England as the Three Lions’ Video Producer at the recent UEFA Euro 2020 Championships.
The 29-year-old who spent two years developing his skills promoting all things Football NSW and National Premier Leagues leaped to a change of scenery and lifestyle relocating to the U.K. in search of his next move but credited the organisation in playing a pivotal role in nurturing his talents.
“I worked at Football NSW for two years and was very proud of the work I did there particularly in the National Premier Leagues and disability football scene.
“Football NSW along with my football mad Manager who is still there to this day Mark Stavroulakis, helped me realise the amazing storytelling ability that football has. I’m yet to experience any other force that can bring together so many people from so many diverse backgrounds.”
It wasn’t instant, but Modini eventually found his way to the English National Team’s headquarters, St George’s Park as he was offered a full-time Video Producers role chasing around the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Head Coach Gareth Southgate and co in what was an opportunity of a lifetime.
Not bad for a kid from the Hills District who first cut his footballing teeth filming the likes of Panni Nikas, Travis Major and the rest of the NPL NSW Football family.
“I arrived in the UK in September 2019 with absolutely no plans.
“How I ended up in a full England kit still confuses me, but it’s been a magical journey.
“I ended up landing the role as the Video Producer for the English National Team, so I film and produce the video output for the England Men’s team. This can include anything from running around with them at training, post-match interviews, tik toks etc.
“I work alongside a second Video Producer named Zander Brown who has been with the team for a number of years, whose passion for football is unrivalled.”
Modini wasn’t the only Australian flying the flag for the English National Team.
“Bryce Cavanagh who is Head of Performance is also an Aussie expat. Funnily enough we both come from the Hills District, went to the same high school, and worked at the Sydney Swans. There must be something in the water back home.”
It was a long and arduous journey for Modini and the backroom staff as apart from the players doing their thing on the pitch, the countless hours spent promoting, filming, cutting, and editing content was just as important off it.
“The team and backroom staff all met up in Middleborough on the 28th of May for a Pre-Euros camp which included two warm up matches against Austria and Romania. When these were finished, we moved down to St George’s Park for the remainder of the tournament.
“All up the team spent 45 days together in a COVID secure bubble.
“Long days and longer nights but all worth it.”
We all knew how the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament ended for England and its fans bowing out in the big finale against Italy at Wembley, but the signs were evident that this English squad led by Southgate were a team for the future.
“I consider myself very fortunate to be part of this amazing team,” said Modini.
“Gareth, the players and the backroom staff have worked tirelessly for years to reconnect the national team with the country and throughout this tournament you saw those efforts realised.
“Gareth created an amazing culture within the England camp, one where everyone felt included and valued. The entire backroom staff is at the top of their game and worked tirelessly so that the team could achieve on the pitch. The environment is one of intense pressure but also immense reward.
“I will always remember the thousands of fans lining the streets everywhere the team bus went, belting out “Sweet Caroline” on the pitch after beating Denmark and the roller coaster of emotions in that final penalty shoot-out.
“The disappointment of losing a final is very raw within the team at the moment but that will pass, and this tournament will be seen as a promising step forward for an exciting young team. Everyone will have a well-deserved break and then we will all meet up in September for World Cup Qualifiers in Poland and Hungary with all eyes focused on Qatar 2022.”
The amazing scenes we witnessed in Australia as football stadiums across Europe began to welcome fans back following the pandemic that gripped the world was also a sight to see as Modini saw firsthand the rush he got when hearing England’s famous tune of “Football’s Coming Home” live in the flesh.
“You got that right, you haven’t heard “Football’s Coming Home” until you have heard a packed Wembley sing it.
“The fans were definitely the 12th man for all matches.
“The atmosphere they created was legendary, for ninety plus minutes they did not sit down, and they did not stop singing. I still have goosebumps from the England v Germany match.”
Travelling wise, England had the luck of the draw as the majority of their matches were played in London, but it was the Quarter-Final match when they faced the Ukraine in Rome that made the proud Aussie think of home.
“We were very fortunate that besides the quarter final, all of our matches were played in London.
“That created the feeling of a home tournament, and the fans gave us a huge competitive edge over our opponents.
“For the Quarter Final we travelled to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to take on Ukraine in sweltering 31-degree heat – I felt right at home as it reminded me there and then of my home city.”
Asked which players loved the camera the most, Modini mentioned it was the next gen of English footballers involved with the squad that left lasting impressions with their skill, trickery and speed that was a joy to film.
“Jadon Sancho, Declan Rice and Phil Foden always seem to be pulling off some amazing tekkerz as I’m walking by with a camera. The talent here is a joke, it is that good, but they offered so many magic moments that I used for our packages that went out.”
Then there was his take on the nation’s inspirational skipper Harry Kane and the struggle the Three Lions lads had in understanding Modini’s thick ‘Aussie Accent’.
“I’ve never seen anyone kick a ball harder than Harry Kane. He’s a gentleman.
“Despite struggling with my accent at first, all the players are easy to talk to and very down to earth.
“Apart from the humble culture, there is an astute professionalism to each and every one of them which motivates us all to up our game whether you’re a striker or a kit man.”
Modini has settled into life in South London but still misses home and still keeps an eye out on what is happening in our very own National Premier Leagues NSW competitions.
“I live in South London in a suburb called Balham. A lot of Australians and Kiwis have settled here and it’s very easy to find vegemite at the local shops.
“2020 was a challenging year for the whole world and being away from your family and friends throughout that time was a struggle. Have to shout out my amazing partner and UNO for getting me through it.
“I do miss home, but it’s very easy to keep in touch with everyone through social media.
“I still check the NPL NSW Men’s and Women’s tables every week so don’t worry that part of me will forever be instilled.”
Keep flying that Football NSW flag Brendan, you’re doing an amazing job!
-Photos by Eddie Keough