The Inaugural Sporting Director Summit on April 29th 2015 at The Etihad Stadium in Manchester

Delegates debated how the traditional football structure no longer worked, as the game had grown enormously in recent years. Managers now had so many responsibilities the job was “a bit of everything and a lot of nothing”, and clubs needed a coach who coached, reporting to the Sporting Director.

“Football needs a new model that can combine the best of sport and the best of business,” Kevin Roberts added. “This Sporting Director initiative to give people knowledge, skills and the right attitude for the role can be of terrific benefit to the game.”

Delegates agreed that, no matter what the sport, it was crucial that each club or organisation clearly defined the role within their management structure and that everyone involved bought into it.

Brian Marwood, Adrian Bevington and Frank Arnesen at The Sporting Director Summit April 2015

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At this year’s Summit Les Reed, whose success as Executive Director at Southampton is regarded by many as the blueprint for a Sporting Director role, said clubs should not wait for a crisis to incorporate it into the management structure. He added: “You can bumble along happily but if you want to take the next step and go to the next level, I believe this is the way forward.”