WHEN you think of a football club, how many of you think about volunteers?

Yes, the players, managers and backroom staff all come straight to mind but the people behind the scenes are arguably the most important.

Now, as we continue this new series, we shine a light on the priceless work undertaken by Weymouth Football Club's loyal band of volunteers.

We also hope to give you a little glimpse into their personalities.

READ MORE: Weymouth's unsung heroes - Claire Pavey

This week, it's the turn of statistics guru and lifelong Weymouth fan Duncan Gardner.

NW: Can you explain more about your role at Weymouth?

DG: I provide stats on forthcoming games, player milestones and sequences to the club to add a layer of detail (and hopefully interest) to the club's previews and matchday postings. The stats and musings are used on social media, the club website and in the matchday programme.

NW: Statistics aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so what drives you to keep the record books at the Terras, some of them from the 19th century?

DG: I started looking at Weymouth stats more than 20 years ago and back then I think it was a desire to confirm or deny feelings about whether certain teams were “bogey teams” or not. I distinctly remember an upcoming game at the time against Stafford Rangers and thinking how we always lost to them but then questioning myself as to whether that was true or not and deciding to find out! We have lost ten of our last 13 against them incidentally so I wasn’t wrong on that occasion. More recently it’s become more of a “legacy” drive I suppose. I have access now to all the lineups, results and matchday cuttings, when available, going back to game one in 1890. I enjoy fixing little errors and inaccuracies. Players featuring in the same line-up twice is most common, and adding layers of detail to the spreadsheets such as goal times and penalties etc. Eventually the plan will be to upload and refresh what we have published on the club website to make it available for all.

NW: How long have you volunteered for the Terras?

DG: This is my fourth season writing in the matchday programme and providing stats on a regular basis but I did the odd thing here and there before that.

NW: Is it an enjoyable role for you?

DG: Extremely enjoyable. Horses for courses but having a play around in a spreadsheet related to stats on the football club I love is like a free mindfulness session for me. Plus, I sadly must admit I get an adrenaline buzz when players, current and former, interact to anything of mine posted on social media. Players in the football league are bombarded with stats on their personal attributes and milestones but it’s still often a novelty for players at this level, although even that is changing.

NW: Compiling statistics can be time-consuming process, how many hours a week do you spend on the job?

DG: Not answering that one in the unlikely event of my wife or boss reads this! But let’s just say it’s what I consider to be “proportionate”.

NW: Stats are an increasingly important and popular part of football, for instance we see the ‘expected goals’ pop up everywhere now but which type of stat is your favourite and which do you despise?

DG: For me stats have to be something you can understand, something you can relate to and trust. Wins, draws and losses are undebatable whereas “expected goals” calculations are open to scrutiny as so much of the calculation is hypothetical. I do like pre-assists which I keep for my records but doesn’t seem to catch on, which is a shame. After all, the player striking the ball to score is just the final action of many other key movements. As for the wealth of other player stats some companies provide these days, I think the deeper you get into personal data, the further you get away from the truth in some ways that football is a team game.

NW: Why do you think volunteering is important for the club?

DG: This club has been here for 133 years and all fans want it to be around for another 133 years and through volunteering we can all help to keep the cogs oiled and turning for this generation and those in the future.

NW: How long have you been a Weymouth supporter?

DG: I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t. I’m not entirely sure when my dad first took me to games but probably when I was six or seven. I caught the bug and never looked back.

NW: How far up the table do you see Weymouth finishing this season?

DG: I honestly believe we are capable of going on a good run at some point this season and if we do then who knows how high we could finish with a bit of application and confidence. I’m not going to use the word “luck” though, that is not a statistical term!