Kevin Wiliams FA Cup ()Kevin Wiliams FA Cup () © Copyright

Coolest jobs in sport: FA Cup engraver

Kevin Williams is a man with a steady hand and a love of metal. Which is handy really, because the 61-year-old master silversmith at Thomas Lyte engraves the winning team’s name on to the FA Cup – live at Wembley.

Metal boy

As a boy in secondary school, I remember walking into a metalwork class and it felt like I’d found my home. My metalwork teacher recognised an artistic side in me early on, and he encouraged that.

First break

For my first apprenticeship I was paid £7 a week. But it wasn’t about the money; I’d got into the trade I wanted to be in.

Trophies

Last year we were very rugby orientated – we made the two new European Cups and the new Six Nations trophy, and we looked after the Webb Ellis[World] Cup.

Getting the FA Cup

Before making the new FA Cup (the current one is two years old), I’d been looking after the trophy for 17 years. The metal had become very thin. On the new one, we’ve copied the exact profile of the 1911 version. There’s a slight difference, but unless you are a bit of an anorak like myself, you wouldn’t notice.

Day of the final

To get the whole name of the winning team would be impossible on the day – we only get a 15-20 minute window. You get the date and the first few letters in, but then you’ve got the crowd waiting for the presentation so it gets whisked away by the Queen’s Guards and we finish it later. You’d never get West Ham United on there in less than half an hour, but I’ll take the challenge if they can win it!

Spelling mistakes

We’ve never made one, but every now and then you do see them. There are ways that we can correct old errors in the workshop – we’ve done that recently on a trophy but I won’t tell you which one.

Damage

You do get moments when it’s been dropped and it needs a repair because it’s going out on tour. Only Arsenal have won the new cup we made, and in its first year Arsène Wenger picked it up and the lid fell off. Before it hit the floor, I had loads of texts saying “they’ve dropped the lid!” It is hard to hand over something that is so close to you. You feel protective. The team that’s just won it are all excited and no one’s looking at the cup as something that’s got to be treated with cotton gloves.

Lasting legacy

I hope I’m leaving something permanent behind when I vacate this planet. A psychologist might tell me that’s personal insecurity, but I think it’s that desire to make something beautiful and lasting.

Job Spec

Hours

Normal working week, but you may have to put in the extra hours when a big commission comes in with a tight deadline.

Salary

Expect a starting salary of £20k for a qualified silversmith, rising to around £40k for an experienced master silversmith.

Benefits

The chance to attend a lot of the events you are designing trophies for, and the satisfaction derived from crafting something with your own two hands.

Responsibilities

Making new trophies, spotting signs of damage or wear and tear for restoration, and adding new winners’ names.

Skills

A practical mind that can see how something comes together. You don’t have to be the best artist, but an eye for art is important. And patience. Nowadays we can design something, change it or delete it at the touch of a button – that’s not true in this trade.

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