A Manager who understands the business of Football

Gary Bowyer holding SkyBet trophy
There can be few jobs more pressurised and time-consuming than managing a club in the volatile world of the Football League.

But alongside the small matter of leading Blackpool’s first team through a 46-game league season, Gary Bowyer has also been enjoying a brand-new challenge.
The former Blackburn Rovers boss is approaching the end of the VSI Masters in Sporting Directorship.

“It’s been challenging but incredibly informative,” said Bowyer, who recently led the Tangerines to 12th in League One following promotion under his stewardship in 2016/17.

“I have learned so much from it, both from an academic perspective and from my peers on the course. From rugby union, to rugby league, to women’s football; I’ve encountered such a broad variety of people and the learning opportunities from that have been fantastic.”

Bowyer developed a keen interest in boardroom activity during his tenure at Blackburn where, in addition to managing the team, he worked closely with the owner and managing director.

He believes a qualification such as the VSI MSc in Sporting Directorship is becoming increasingly relevant for sports professionals in a changing environment that is demanding a broader array of skills.

“In my opinion, the European model, where clubs utilise the sporting director far more than we do in this country at the moment, is something that will come into our game more,” said Bowyer, who entered coaching younger than most ex-pros following a career-ending back injury at 25.

“To have a head-start, if you like, in understanding the role and the responsibilities connected to that model helps me in two ways: One, if I continue to be a manager and two, if I decide to move away from coaching and progress upstairs into a more executive role.”

As he approaches his final module and dissertation, Bowyer says he would recommend the course “100 per cent”. And he has already implemented skills gleaned from the Sporting Directorship which has allowed him to usefully reflect on the job he is doing at Bloomfield Road.

“The leadership module was brilliant for me to look at myself in terms of how I lead and how I deal with people,” said the ex-Rotherham player, who thanked Blackpool for the support they have given him to carry out his studies.

“That was a really fascinating insight and the innovation module was another eye-opener for me, in terms of where you see the game going.

“Before I started, I was aware of VSI and their work in sport as well as various notable football figures who had taken the course and that made me take note, but I have to say it has not disappointed in any sense.”

To learn more about the VSI MSc in Sporting Directorship contact:

Tel: 0345 459 9765
Twitter: @MasterSportDir