Home Ground with Julia Hands
As the driving force behind Hand Picked Hotels’ success, Julia Hands’ reputation as a strong and savvy business leader is indisputable. While her passion for the hospitality industry is evident, it may come as a surprise to some that it is matched in equal measure by her love of football. One team in particular brings a twinkle to her eye - her beloved Arsenal.
We sat down with her to learn more about her love of ‘the beautiful game’, both at home in Guernsey and further afield. As a dedicated fan of ‘The Gunners’, like many, Julia can trace her love of football right back to her childhood. “I grew up in North London, my brother chose the team and I followed his lead,” she explains. “As a North London club, Arsenal was a natural choice. I wasn’t a complete football nut, it’s just that my brother’s passion was very infectious.”
Julia has made the pilgrimage to the Emirates Stadium on many occasions to see her team in action. “Being able to see the players on the pitch and how the game is played live is a completely different experience. It’s incredible to witness the intricacies of how the ball is passed between the players, when you can see the whole field not just what the camera shows you. I much prefer supporting Arsenal from the stands and try to do so whenever I can get there.”
Closer to home, Julia is equally supportive of Guernsey FC, as shown through Hand Picked Hotels’ sponsorship that provides vital funds to keep the club afloat. The club needed someone to support them,” Julia explains. “Guernsey FC has an incredible passion and drive to keep going. They are totally committed to the cause and it inspired me to be involved
“Guernsey fans are extremely passionate about the game, it’s something I love to be a part of.”
Without funding they couldn’t exist, as there are huge financial commitments to be able to travel to play away and to receive away teams as well as all the other costs involved,” she continues. “All the players and organisers have day jobs too; I find this incredibly admirable.”
Julia’s regular trips to Footes Lane provide her with the football fix she needs when she can’t get to a Gunners game, and she loves the fact that the fans’ passion is equally matched between her two favourite clubs. “Guernsey fans are extremely passionate about the game; it’s something I love to be a part of. They support the team here as if they were a national club. Any live game is so exciting and real – you are so close to the action and vibe of the crowds.”
Beyond the love of the game, Guernsey FC puts the welfare of all its players and team members at the heart of everything it does. Its new ‘Be Kind’ campaign, is evidence of how they are encouraging people to think about the consequences of their words and actions and consider taking a pledge to ‘do their best, to be kind, always’.
“As a dedicated fan of ‘The Gunners’, like many, Julia can trace her love of football right back to her childhood.”
The campaign has Julia’s full backing. “It is important to me to deliver this simple message – it’s a shame that we have to,” she says. “Being kind costs us nothing. With today’s busy life and stresses, we sometimes forget this, and we shouldn’t.
If people adhered to this message, life could be so much simpler. We must realise more the consequences of our actions of being unkind, as they can be so serious.”
We couldn’t agree more with these sentiments, and with Julia on their side, we think that Guernsey FC is onto an absolute winner.