2017 Judges

Phil Alexander, Chief Executive, Crystal Palace

Phil is one of the longest serving CEO’s in the Premier League. He is now in his 22nd year at Crystal Palace where he has seen many highs and lows including two Administrations, five ownership groups and over twenty four managers! He is an FA Councillor and former Football League Board Director.

Phil also has the honour of having played professionally in two different sports having represented Norwich City from 1981 – 83 and as placekicker for the London Monarchs American Football team from 1991-1992 .

He is extremely proud of his first role in football administration as General manager and team manager at Bracknell Town in 1993 where he worked for no salary before progressing to Swindon Town prior to moving to Crystal Palace in 1996.

David Baldwin, Chief Executive, Burnley FC

David joined Burnley Football Club in November 2014 from his previous role as Chief Executive at Bradford City Football Club.

He arrived with the remit of managing the operational and commercial aspects of daily life at Turf Moor.

However, following the departure of CEO Lee Hoos in May, 2015, David was appointed as the new Chief Executive of Burnley Football Club, with primary responsibilities involving player recruitment.

During his tenure, the Clarets have subsequently enjoyed promotion to the Premier League and retained their place in the top flight.

David has also steered major developments, both at the stadium and with the completion of a new £10.6m training complex at the Barnfield Training Centre.

paul_barberPaul Barber, Chief Executive, Brighton & Hove Albion FC

Paul Barber joined the board of Brighton & Hove Albion FC as Chief Executive in June 2012.

Previously, Paul became the first British football executive to lead a team in to Major League Soccer when Vancouver Whitecaps FC entered the league in March 2011. He joined the Vancouver Whitecaps from Tottenham Hotspur FC, where he was the Club’s Executive Director for 5 years.

In addition to 14 years working in professional football, Paul has held senior positions in major international companies such as Barclays Bank PLC, where he was a member of the retail board, Ogilvy & Mather, the US-based advertising and communications group, where he was Chief Executive for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Abbey National PLC, now part of Santander, the Spanish banking group.

richard_bevan-1Richard Bevan, Chief Executive, League Managers Association

Richard was appointed Chief Executive of the League Managers Association in January 2008. Richard is a prominent character in the world of sport and business with a strong track record of devising and achieving strategic visions, implementing long-term business plans and growing sports organisations nationally and internationally across different cultures.

He joined the Professional Cricketers’ Association in 1996 & became Chief Executive in 2001 to 2007, developing the profile and business of the organisation to becoming a major player in world of cricket. Richard was also a founding Director of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations.

Richard has been a Trustee of the Team England Player Partnership since 2002 which provides contractual, financial, commercial representation to all England Cricket players. He also represents the LMA as a member of the Professional Players’ Federation, the umbrella body for all players’ associations.

Richard was also appointed Chairman of The board of The Caribbean Premier Cricket League (CPL) in November 2013. Within two years the CPL has been confirmed as the number one sports event in the Caribbean, second only to the IPL in International T20 Cricket. CPL has an economic impact in the Caribbean of US167m.

duncan-burbidgeDuncan Burbidge, CEO, StreamAMG

Duncan Burbidge is CEO of StreamAMG – the pan-European advanced media group that includes StreamUK.  He co-founded the group in 2001 and has overseen its cash-funded growth to deliver video to more subscribers than any other independent digital media entity.  Today the client list includes the BBC, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Liverpool Football Club, Google and the Football League and over the next three years the group is focussed on expanding its continental Europe sport offering – giving content owners a profitable way to retain their brand values whilst servicing and expanding their fan base.

Mark Catlin, Chief Executive, Portsmouth FC

Mark Catlin assisted fans in the saving of Portsmouth FC whilst in administration during 2012, and following the acquisition of PFC by supporters in 2013, he stayed on to become CEO of the country’s largest Trust owned football club. The clearing of over £7m of debt and continuous annual profits followed, along with promotion as Champions from L2 earlier this season.

Previously CEO of Bury FC where again over his three year tenure promotion to L1 was achieved, along with a clearing of the club’s debts, and a return to profit achieved.

Mark has many year’s experience of building his own successful private businesses, currently owning Spain’s largest independent telecommunications Company.

He is also the current FC Business League 2, and overall CEO of the year award winner.

Cliff Crown FCA, Chairman, Brentford FC

Cliff Crown FCA has been Chairman of Brentford for the past four seasons and on the Football Club’s Board of Directors for five years. He is also a year in to a three-year term on the EFL Board as one of 3 representatives from the Championship and he is also a  Director of Danish Superliga side FC Midtjylland.

Cliff is a chartered accountant with more than 35 years’ experience in advising commercial owner managed businesses. He acts as Chief Financial Officer and business adviser to a number of companies in which Brentford FC owner Matthew Benham has a financial interest. Cliff is also a long-standing football fan and is seen at most Brentford games up and down the country as well as many others as part of his role on the EFL Board.

Steve Curwood, Chief Executive, Fleetwood Town FC

CEO of Fleetwood Town for over 9 years having overseen their remarkable rise to EFL League One from the lower reaches of the football pyramid. Has delivered major infrastructure developments at the stadium and with the creation of state of the art training and community complex home also to the club’s brand new Category 3 academy.

Considered to be highly innovative and with a reputation for driving constant progress across all multi disciplinary football and business areas of the club.

A serving member of the FA Council and an alternate Director of the EFL where he is also a member of the Commercial Committee.

A member of the ’92 club’

Trustee of Fleetwood Town’s Community Trust.

Grassroots volunteer at Kirkham Juniors Football Club.

EFL1 CEO of the year 15/16.

Neil_DoncastorNeil Doncaster, Chief Executive, Scottish Premier League

Neil Doncaster has been involved in football for the last 16 years. A solicitor by training, he came into the game when providing legal advice in relation to Bristol City and Bolton Wanderers. In 1997 he joined Norwich City as Company Secretary and, at the age of 31, became their Chief Executive. In his twelve years at City, the Club re-built its reputation with supporters, with season ticket numbers trebling over the period to 20,000 and the Club receiving a number of awards for community, business development and innovation.

While with Norwich, Neil was elected to the Board of the Football League and subsequently to that of the Football Association. In 2009 Neil left Norwich City to become the Chief Executive of the Scottish Premier League.

He now lives in Glasgow and is currently leading the League’s efforts to restructure the whole of the game in Scotland.

Karl Evans,  Chief Executive, Bury FC

Karl became Chief Executive of Bury Football Club in January 2017 following a 2-year consultancy engagement with the Class of 92 working on a business plan for Salford City FC and assisting with the planning and development of their Moor Lane ground. In addition, he consulted Liverpool FC for 6 months on the impact of their Main Stand development on the operation and gave advice on the internal structure requirements for Executive customers.

Previously Karl had a successful 26-year career with Manchester United FC, commencing as the Accounts Manager moving on to being Chief Accountant following the Clubs flotation on the London Stock Exchange and after a stint as General Manager of Ticketing, he was promoted to Director of Venue with full responsibility for: Ticketing, Catering, Hospitality Sales, Events, Museum, Call Centre, Customer Experience and Stadium Security.

Peter Fairchild, Partner, Smith & Williamson

Peter is a partner in the Private Client Tax Services department where he deals with tax planning and compliance for professional sportspeople and acts for several Premiership footballers, in many cases acting as the client’s closest and most trusted advisor. He works alongside sports agents and specialist sports lawyers to provide an all-round service.

Peter runs an education and life-skills programme, which is endorsed by the Premier League, for under-18 and under-21 Premiership and Championship footballers, focusing on the importance of saving for life after football.

He also advises entrepreneurs and non-UK domiciled individuals on residence and remittance matters, and is experienced in HMRC tax investigation and enquiry work.

Aaron GourleyAaron Gourley, Editor, fcbusiness magazine

he newly appointed Editor of fcbusiness magazine, Aaron has worked on the publication for over 6 years, the last 3 years as Deputy Editor under the guidance of Jen O’Neill, gaining vast experience of the publishing world. During that time he has interviewed some of football’s leading figures and written extensively about the business of football and its many functions. A personal highlight during that time was interviewing UEFA’s Head of Marketing, Guy Laurent-Epstein in Paris at the launch of EURO 2016.  Aaron is often called up to speak on both local and national radio and television  about football club’s business activities and has attended many sports business conferences.


Russ Green, Chief Executive, Rochdale AFC

Recently appointed Chief Executive at Rochdale AFC following his various roles at Hartlepool United.

Russ Green began work at Hartlepool United in 2002, initially drafted in as the Club’s Commercial Manager before taking on the Chief Executive role in 2005. Russ has an extensive background in the retail sector, having taken control of the family business Jack Green Sports which operated various well-known outlets in the Yorkshire region. His first taste of the football industry came at Scarborough where his innovative approach to business saw the coastal club become the first to sell sponsorship of their ground which was re-named The McCain Stadium. In 2011/12, Russ oversaw Hartlepool’s innovative and extremely successful Season Ticket campaign ‘Are You Coming To Pools?’ which saw the club increase Season Ticket holders from 2,000 to nearly 6,000. Last year he was named Chief Executive of the Year at the FC Business Awards.

Simon Hunter, Head of Venue & Brand, Chelsea FC

Simon Hunter is Head of Venue and Development at Chelsea Football Club. Simon plays a pivotal role in the continual development of commercial operations across the matchday and non-matchday business areas at Chelsea FC, delivering an unrivalled experience for all stadium guests and fans.

Simon oversees a world-class matchday hospitality offering at Chelsea Football Club, over 60 multi-functional meetings and events spaces, Frankie’s Sports Bar & Diner, the Chelsea Health Club & Spa and the unique underground music venue, Under the Bridge. Responsibilities also include the management of the Millennium & Copthorne on-site hotels management contract and the joint venture with the Levy Compass Group, an award winning organisation who support every business area to deliver culinary excellence.

His current focus is to ensure that Stamford Bridge continues to be recognised as one of the world’s leading multi-purpose sporting venues.


Euan Inglis, Commercial Director Queens Park Rangers FC

Euan has been Commercial Director at Queens Park Rangers FC since 2011. Prior to taking up his role at QPR, Euan was Managing Director of athlete representation agency GMI for ten years. GMI represented a number of high profile sports clients from the world of Golf, Rugby, Snooker and Cricket, which included a golf major winner, snooker world champion and several England rugby players. Euan spent the early part of his career as a professional golfer, and is still a member of the Professional Golfers association.


Jonathan Jackson, Chief Executive, Wigan Atheltic Football Club

Life- long Wigan Athletic supporter, Jonathan was appointed Chief Executive of the football club in 2010. During his tenure the club enjoyed three years in the Premier League before suffering relegation in May 2013 , four days after beating Manchester City in the FA Cup Final. Since then he has experienced a Europa League campaign, an FA Cup semi-final, two relegations, and a promotion. Despite the financial challenges of promotion and relegation, the club have posted consistently strong financial results and significantly reduced debt levels in the past seven years.

As a trustee of the Wigan Athletic Community Trust, he has helped to transform the club’s award-winning charity to become one of the leading Community Trusts outside of the Premier League.

A qualified accountant, Jonathan worked as a Finance Director in the Health and Fitness industry before being appointed CEO at Wigan.

Steve Kavanagh, Chief Executive, Millwall Football Club

Steve Kavanagh is in his first full season as chief executive of Millwall Football Club having joined The Lions in October 2016.

A qualified chartered accountant, Kavanagh began his career in football at Charlton Athletic back in 2002, firstly as a finance director before taking over as CEO. He remained at The Valley for over 10 years before departing and taking up the same position at Southend United in October 2012, helping the Roots Hall club secure promotion to League One in the process.

Kavanagh is working hard to help Millwall consolidate their position as a healthy and successful Championship club on and off the pitch following victory over Bradford City in the League One Play-Off Final back in May 2017.

Richard Kenyon, Director of Marketing and Communications, Everton FC

Richard Kenyon was appointed Director of Marketing and Communications at Everton Football Club in 2014.
He arrived from Kenyon Fraser which, initially as Managing Director, and then as Chief Executive, he built into a leading marketing and communications agency in the North West region and one of the fastest-growing in the UK.

A lifelong Evertonian, he has responsibility for marketing, insight, corporate communications, events, fan engagement and fan services and PR and media functions.

Richard’s passion for sports has shaped his career, with previous roles including Director of Development (UK and Europe) for Major League Soccer (Camps and Training) as well as providing consultancy services for Aintree Racecourse and the Jockey Club (Grand National) and three years working with the R&A on golf’s Open Championship, the oldest of golf’s four major championships.

In 2012, Richard was elected as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and has since achieved Chartered Fellow status. Earlier this year he was appointed Chair of the North West Regional Board.

He is a regular speaker at marketing and sports seminars across the UK and internationally.

alistair_mackintoshAlistair Mackintosh, Chief Executive, Fulham FC

Alistair Mackintosh joined Fulham Football Club as Chief Executive in the summer of 2008.  He was previously Chief Executive at Manchester City Football Club and over a ten year period saw the Club travel from the Second Division back to the Premier League and from its Maine Road home to the City of Manchester Stadium.

Having trained as a Chartered Accountant with PWC, Alistair spent a number of years working for Sony before entering the football business.  He has also held Board positions at a radio station, a museum, a leisure centre group and a charity.


Richard Masters, Managing Director, The Premier League

Richard Masters has been working in the UK sports marketing industry for over 20 years.

He joined the Premier League as Director of Sales and Marketing in 2006 and took on a new role as Managing Director in August 2015. Richard’s responsibilities include commercial sales, partnership management, digital services, marketing and promotion of the Premier League brand including the Premier League’s pre-season international tournaments, as well also other general management functions such as BI, finance, IT and HR.

Prior to joining the Premier League Richard was Commercial Director at The Football League for five years and before that he worked for the England and Wales Cricket Board as Marketing Manager for six years.

Kevin Miles, Chief Executive, Football Supporters’ Federation

Kevin Miles has been chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Federation since 2013, having been International Director of the FSF and their predecessor organisation the Football Supporters’ Association since 1998. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of Football Supporters Europe.

Kevin follows Newcastle United home and away, and has previously worked as football journalist for the Sunday Telegraph and radio broadcaster with BBC Radio 5 Live.

Kevin is a founder member and former chairman of the education charity Show Racism the Red Card, and serves as a member of the professional game advisory group for football’s diversity and anti-discrimination campaign Kick It Out.

Andrew Moss, Chairman, Sport and Recreation Alliance

Andrew was appointed chair of the Sport and Recreation Alliance on 1 January 2016.

Currently also chairman of Parker Fitzgerald and Rhino Rugby, Andrew has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in financial services.

Andrew spent five years as Group CEO of Aviva, where he previously worked as Group Finance Director. Before that he spent four years as Director of Finance, Risk Management and Operations at Lloyd’s, the world’s specialist insurance market. He has also occupied senior positions at HSBC and Citibank.

The Alliance published its new 5-year strategy, The Heart of an Active Nation, in March 2017 and Andrew welcomes the chance to drive forward the Alliance’s mission of creating a vibrant sport and recreation sector which is fit for the future.

Lisa Pearce MBA, Chief Executive, London Football Association

Lisa Pearce is the CEO of London FA and has a track record of over ten years experience in strategic management in sports across the public, private and third sectors.

In her previous role of Head of Region for the Lawn Tennis Association in London and the South East at the governing body of sport for British tennis, Lisa has had a mirror responsibility to that she currently holds at the London FA – the running of the game (including cup competitions), the profile of the association, and participation at all levels of the game.

Notably, Lisa had also taken on the role of Davis Cup Legacy Business Lead for British Tennis, leading a cross-functional team of over 20 LTA staff and 48 county coordinators to recruit 1000 coaches, who will provide free tennis to 10,000 new young people this summer.  During 2015, monthly tennis participation in London had increased by 22,000.

Prior to the Lawn Tennis Association, Lisa was a Director of Sports and Enterprise for the Westway Trust (2013-2014); Director of Sport and Physical Activity for the Sports Aberdeen Charitable Trust (2012-13), and Managing Partner at an independent business incubator/change agency (2012).  While at Reading Borough Council (2003-2012) she held a number of strategic sports roles, including Culture & Sports Services Manager (2009-2012) and Sport Service Manager (2006-2009).

Perry-KeithKeith Perry, Group Sport Managing Editor, Telegraph Media Group

Keith Perry is a Fleet Street veteran of more than 30 years’ experience. He is a former Daily Telegraph sports editor who now works across the Telegraph group as Managing Director, Sport and runs the Telegraph sponsorship and partnership business.




Ben Robinson, Chief Executive, Burton Albion FC

Ben Robinson is the Chairman and owner of Burton Albion FC.  He has been the Chairman of the Club for over 30 years.

Under Ben’s stewardship he has heled guide the club from the second tier in non-league football to the Championship – enjoying four promotions (three as Champions).

Ben has always paced great emphasis on supporting the local community with the formation of the Burton Albion Community Trust which was established in 2010 and for the past two seasons the Trust was voted Midlands Community Club of the Year by the E.F.L.

Ben masterminded the Club’s move to the new Pirelli Stadium in 2005 which was completed at a total cost of £7.4m.


Tony Scholes, Chief Executive, Stoke City Football Club

Tony Scholes joined Stoke City as their Chief Executive in September 2004 and during his tenure has been an influential figure in progress which now sees the Club looking forward to a 10th successive season in the Premier League.

As well as being responsible for formulating the Club’s strategy with the Club’s Owners and the operational delivery of those plans across all areas, he plays the lead role in the negotiation of all player transfers and contracts.

A former Director of the Football League and member of the FA Council, Tony previously spent six years as the Chief Executive of Preston North End before leaving that post in 2002 to set up a sports lottery business prior to his appointment at the Britannia Stadium.

After graduating from Nottingham University, obtaining a degree in industrial economics, he began his career with KPMG, where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant.

Bob Symns, Chief Executive, Peterborough United FC

Bob Symns joined the board of Peterborough United FC as Chief Executive in May 2004.

He joined PUFC when Barry Fry originally bought the football club and asked him to ‘run the business’ whilst Barry managed the football team … the adventure had begun.

Having been initially trained as a classical apprentice chef at the Travellers Club in London’s Pall Mall, he went on to become the UK Group Catering & Leisure Executive Manager for the Pearl Assurance before forming his own contract catering companies GBS Catering Limited and GBS Associates Limited. When the business was sold in 2004 (with PUFC being a client) Mr Fry asked the question.

Bob was named Sky Bet League 1 Chief Executive Officer of the Year 2015 at the FC Business Awards and sits on the EFL Commercial Committee.

Jonathan Symonds, Managing Director, Ipswich Town Football Club

Jonathan sits on the board of Ipswich town football club and the Friends of Ipswich Town, the charity that supports football in the community. He is also the chief operating office at Active ticketing plc. Previously, he was Managing Director at Ipswich Town FC, has held Senior positions at Marcus Evans Group (as Chief Information Officer for the group).

Having studied in Information systems management, Jonathan headed up UK support for Apple Computers and before starting his own events company Slammer Entertainments.



Paul-ThorogoodPaul Thorogood, Chief Executive Officer, Football Foundation

Before joining the Football Foundation as CEO in 2006, Paul enjoyed a very successful career in the RAF where he saw active service in support of operations in the Falkland Islands, Afghanistan and both Gulf Wars, mostly in the operational logistics role.  The Football Foundation is funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, who provide £62 million per year towards the development of community football facilities across the country. Up until recently, Paul was on the Global Board of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) and remains as a trustee on the CIPS Foundation. He is a lay member on the House of Commons Committee on Standards and is a former Director of the Sports and Recreation Alliance. He has an MA from Kings College London and a post graduate diploma in Engineering Business Management from the University of Warwick.

Julian Winter, Chief Executive, Huddersfield Town Football Club

Julian was appointed as Chief Executive of Huddersfield Town in March 2016.

He started his career as a footballer, playing for Huddersfield Town, Scunthorpe Utd and Sheffield United before hanging up his boots and graduating from Sheffield Hallam University with a First-Class BA (Hons) degree in Leisure and Recreation Management.

With a real passion for the game, Julian decided to use his wealth of knowledge and experience to pursue a career in the business side of the Football industry, initially working as the Community Director at Watford FC.

Julian went on to become the Chief Executive at Watford, Notts County and had two spells at Sheffield United, where he was instrumental in leading the Club to be more economically sustainable. This helped in securing a new investor, creating a joint venture partnership for the Club.

Julian is now responsible for leading Huddersfield Town’s strategic operations following a successful 2016/17 season which saw the Club promoted to the Premier League.

Also confirmed

Aidan Mullally, Head of Business Development, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club