Is Your Football Club being run through the Manager-led-model

Tony Webster
Is your football club being run according to the traditional manager-led model –drifting through a never-ending cycling of change, but no change in the end results and delivering the same poor outcomes?
You might not be aware, but there is an alternative. And business expert Tony Webster wants to share it with you.
The vastly experienced consultant, who is halfway through VSI’s MSc in Sporting Directorship, is ready to bring his 25 years of experience at boardroom level to professional football.
He is convinced a different model, one based upon an all-encompassing winning club culture, can achieve long-term, sustainable performance on and off the field.
“If you get your foundations right, then you can build togetherness, team spirit, and a ‘stronger together’ mentality,” said Webster, founder of WayFinder and a non-executive director of two high-performing businesses.
“All of your stakeholders have got to live and breathe the behaviours which drive the club culture. But you also need outstanding leadership from the very top to have the vision to make that happen, to stick to it, and to deliver it over a long period of time.
“That vison of the leader is the part that interests me. I can see that bigger picture very clearly and I would like to bring that to the business of football.”
The VSI course has given Webster the opportunity to closely assess an elite level football organisation and is providing him with one-to-one sessions with executives at the top of the game.
He is also learning alongside an eclectic mix of sportspersons from various sports backgrounds.
Having already been involved in brokering the near-takeover of a top English club, Webster says the course is providing the type of real life experience and exposure he needs to secure a role in a sport he has much to offer.
“Too many clubs are stuck in a cycle of: bring in a manager, invest in players, achieve the same results, and then sack the manager 18 months later. This process is then repeated, just with a different manager! It’s a real puzzle as to why they keep doing that?” said Webster, an Institute of Directors Ambassador in Yorkshire and the North East, and authorised advisor for the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.
“They invest everything in the manager, but should be investing in the organisation. There is an alternative – build the club first, not the team. That’s the way to approach it to achieve better performance across the whole organisation both on and off the pitch.
“That’s in terms of attendance, fan engagement, sponsorship, performance on the field – you name it. It’s about getting all of the stakeholders and staff pulling in the same direction with motivation, pride and wanting to deliver together. One purpose, one focus and working in one culture.
“In my job, I can quickly identify and highlight the problem that a chief exec or owner might be having. And that problem for a football club chairman or chief exec is they’re running the traditional, manager-driven model we see in British football. Doing what they’ve always done and getting what they always got! They are still stuck in that model and are still getting the same results – but there is a different way.”
To Learn more about the VSI MSc in Sporting Directorship contact:
Tel: 0345 459 9765
Twitter: @MasterSportDir