The confidence to be “more than a footballer”

Osher WilliamsThe confidence to be “more than a footballer”

Low self-confidence is not something we associate with modern footballers. But for many retiring players considering their career options, a lack of experience and self-belief can stop them entering the boardroom.

One man who has complete faith in former players to make this difficult transition is Oshor Williams, the Assistant Director of Education for the Professional Footballers’ Association. He believes that with the right mix of training and hands-on experience, ex-pros can achieve anything.

The VSI MSc in Sporting Directorship offers just that and the PFA is keen to see more former players study to become football club executives.

“A lot of players I work with are already involved in the business world, they already have a grasp of the skills and competences required,” said Williams.

“What they need is the confidence to take these skills and apply them to every-day situations, to hear from the kind of guest speakers on the course with real world experience of being a director.”

As the role of director of football becomes more prominent, Williams believes former players have a lot to offer the English game.

“Look at what they do in other countries”, he said, citing the example of Franz Beckenbauer among others.

“They take players who understand the game and have played it to the highest level and give them executive roles. If you look at Bayern Munich and the German national team it shows that it can be successful.”

Unsurprisingly, Williams is also quick to dispel any misconceptions about professional footballers.

“A lot of players are highly intelligent, but not necessarily academically developed. To play football at elite level, requires the ability to process information quickly, assess the situation and make the right decision under pressure and that is something our members can bring to a directorship role.

“We have had players who have moved into law, physiotherapy, journalism and the medical professions and been very successful. Once they know what their next challenge is they are very driven, goal orientated and very disciplined.”

The PFA dedicates a great deal of time and resources into helping players prepare for life after the final whistle. While sporting directorship is not a perfect fit for everyone, Williams believes studying for an MSc with VSI is ideal for those with boardroom ambitions.

“If they give it 100% not only will they get a terrific qualification but they will also enjoy a fantastic experience. It’s not just about the tutors and the speakers, but also their peers from different sports who they can learn from.

“They come away with an executive level qualification and the confidence to say ‘I am more than a footballer’.”
To learn more about the VSI MSc in Sporting Directorship contact:
0345 459 9765