Founder & CEO
Best pitch presenter you’ve ever seen:
Des Lynam: coolness personified.
Best sports industry achievement / moment in career
Numerous at FIFA, from negotiating record-breaking sports broadcast contracts to rubbing shoulders with football royalty. One particular period that stands out for me is the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 2014. Immersing myself in the country, the people, the passion. Immense.
Best sports industry company (that isn’t yours)
Many companies do great work in specific areas e.g. Sky Sports & BT Sports are market leaders in sports broadcasting, but there isn’t one that stands out as I think there are inherent flaws in the construct of the sports industry which I think will lead
to quite significant changes in the near future e.g. in areas such as sports
consumption, diversity, transparency etc., and the best sports industry companies will be the most agile ones.
Best young industry talent
The two most notable for me are:
Anna Chanduvi (below) who works in Sports Media Partnerships at Facebook and was considered a Sports Industry Next Gen Leader in 2019. Not just a rising star, is already there!; and
Zuleikha Chikh who is a student of Sports Business Management at the University of Central Lancashire as well as a member of the “Game Changer” programme at Kick It Out. Despite being young in years, she has the maturity, intelligence and passion
to take the sports industry to another level, in whichever field she decides to work in.
Best sporting event attended
Despite attending numerous World Cup and Champions League finals, I found the extent of corporate activation makes the whole experience suffocating and far removed from the enjoyment of attending a football match. The Women’s World Cup
final in 2011 in Frankfurt had an incredible atmosphere and was a great viewing experience. For me personally, as a Liverpool fan, the Liverpool v Dortmund Europa League 4-3 at Anfield, with the injury-time winner by Lovren, takes the title for the
constantly evolving drama & joy!
Best sporting event on TV
Away from the spectacle and in terms of pure sporting endeavour/emotion: the Olympics and Paralympics.
Best brand ambassador
I’m a sucker for anything Liverpool players try to sell to me!
Best industry event or conference
BT Sports Awards and Sportel
Best film containing a scene depicting the sports business
Rollerball or Rocky. Don’t @ me.
Best book recommendation
Anything by Professor Yuval Noah Harari. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind blew my mind!
Best bar or pub
My excessive drinking days are well and truly in the past! For nostalgia reasons I will say the Blue Lion on Grays Inn Road which was where we spent most of Friday afternoon, evening and Saturday early morning (late licence!) each week!
For food I will say Gymkhana on Albemarle Street and for atmosphere (and the food!) I will say Brigadiers on Bloomberg Arcade, especially if you can reserve one of
the private rooms.
Best holiday resort
I’ll have to say Bali where we went on honeymoon or the wife will kill me!
Best box set
Curb Your Enthusiasm: my stomach still hasn’t fully recovered from the fits of
Best influence on your career
Brendan Rodgers, I thought he was everybody’s mentor no?
Best dinner companions (min 4, max 6)
Jürgen Klopp (naturally)
Professor Harari (as referenced above)
Me, I guess...
A Michelin-starred chef to cook the food.
Whoever is supplying the best booze.
Best job in the sports biz
The one that doesn’t feel like a job.
Best professional regret
That I didn’t call out FIFA corruption earlier and more constructively.
Best skill you most covet
Being able to kick a ball like Messi!
Best trait you admire in others
Best overrated virtue
Maybe less a virtue but more an unconscious assumption: that being white & male in the sports industry is the ‘norm’.
For everyone who works in the industry to recognise that sports is a fantastic
environment to work in, to understand that maintaining good relationships is the most important thing, whatever your sector or position, and that sports careers should be attainable to as many people as possible, from all walks of life.