Our Employability & Enhancement Panel
A World First in Higher Education
This panel draws on the vast experience of a range of highly respected industry professionals in order to enable students to gain employment in the football and wider sport industry.
Dr Brian Barwick+
Chairman of the Rugby Football League and Super League
Chairman of the National League
Former Chief Executive of The FA
Former Head of BBC Sport and Controller of Sport at ITV
A senior figure across the worlds of sport and media for several decades, Brian’s association with UCFB enables him to offer informed advice on the strategic direction of the industry, ensuring the institution’s degree programmes are relevant to the real world of football, sport and events.
Brian was one of the most influential figures in UK sport for over 20 years during his time at the BBC and ITV. Having joined the BBC in 1979, he was a producer on the Football Focus show and then editor of Match of the Day, becoming Head of Sport in 1995. Three years later he moved to ITV as Controller of Sport and was responsible for taking the Premier League highlights to the channel away from the BBC in 2001, as well as negotiating the right to Champions League football, Rugby World Cups and Formula One.
Brian joined The FA in 2005 as Chief Executive and oversaw the completion of the new Wembley Stadium, which UCFB Wembley now calls home. Having taken up the post of Chairman of the Rugby Football League in 2013, Brian is now also Chairman of football’s National League and a member of the FA Council.
Strategy Consultant, Broadcaster and Author
Former UK Government Director of Communications & Strategy
A highly successful journalist, broadcaster, political aide and author, Alastair is best known for his decade at the heart of the British government as a communications strategist and Tony Blair’s chief spokesman.
A fanatical Burnley Football Club supporter, his unique insight into the business of sport, politics and the media led to him recently authoring a book on what attributes make great leaders across these sectors, titled Winners: and How They Succeed.
Alastair currently splits his time between writing, charitable fundraising and campaigns. He is the Chairman of Fundraising for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
Chief Executive of the Scottish Professional Football League
Former Chief Executive of Norwich City
Former Board Member of The Football Association and The Football League
A leader in British football circles, Neil has sat at the helm of the Scottish Professional Football League since the 2013 merger of the Scottish Football League and Scottish Premier League, where he had been Chief Executive since 2009.
A former solicitor, Neil enjoyed a 12 year career at Norwich City which saw him rise to become its Chief Executive in 2001 and oversee promotion to the Premier League for the 2004/5 season.
Neil plays an active role with UCFB students, delivering his unique ‘Management Games’ seminars that see students tackle crisis scenarios in the football industry in real-time, learning strategic management and decision-making techniques.
Sports Marketing Consultant
Former Senior Vice President, Sports Marketing at Umbro
In an almost 30 year career at sportswear brand Umbro, Martin was involved at the highest level of football, cementing countless relationships with clubs, federations and players. As Senior Vice President, Martin held responsibility for the company’s involvement at all levels of the game, including Umbro’s stellar decades-long relationship with The FA.
Martin is also a former Director of Charlton Athletic Football Club and is a keen Burnley FC fan, having grown up watching his hero Dave Thomas and going on to play in the Burnley Youth team under Frank Casper.
Caretaker Manager of Hull City
Former Assistant Manager of Manchester United
Former England, Manchester United and Burnley Footballer
Having performed at an elite level as footballer, coach and manager, Mike is a highly respected figure in football circles and best known for his vastly successful time under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
As a player he spent most of his 16 year professional career at Burnley, Norwich City and Manchester United, earning an England call-up in 1989.
Immediately moving into football management upon retirement, Mike took up a role at Manchester United’s Centre of Excellence in the summer of 2001 and was promoted to First Team Coach. Appointed Assistant Manager of Manchester United in 2008, Mike enjoyed five seasons of trophy-laden success until Ferguson’s retirement in 2013. He currently works as Assistant Manager at Hull City, playing a vital role in their promotion to the Premier League for the 2016/17 season.
Mike brings to UCFB a wealth of experience to help create a dynamic learning environment for our students, building their knowledge of the industry, career prospects and providing invaluable insight from a coaching perspective.
Kelly Simmons MBE+
Director of Football Participation and Development at The FA
A hugely respected and highly influential figure at English football’s governing body, Kelly joined The FA after graduating from Warwick University in 1990.
Having overseen the delivery of The FA’s National Game Strategy as the Director of the National Game and Women’s Football for four years, Kelly moved to her current role in 2015.
A member of the UEFA Grassroots Panel and FIFA Women’s Committee, Kelly was made an MBE for Services to Football in 2002.
Owner of Adrian Bevington Sport & PR Ltd
Former Managing Director of the England National Teams
Former Director of Communications at The FA
Adrian is one of world football’s most recognisable communications professionals. Highly regarded and respected by global sports media, Adrian has been instrumental in the past five FIFA World Cups, working as the senior English FA executive responsible for all team operations and communications at South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014. He has also been directly involved in the recruitment of England men’s, women’s and U21 managers and head coaches.
Currently a consultant to clubs, associations, owners and sports rights companies and a former member of the UEFA Media Committee, Adrian brings extensive UK and international football knowledge to UCFB, with expertise in football strategy, media and communications.
Ruth Farwell CBE+
Former Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire New University
With an extensive background in academia spanning four decades, Ruth Farwell is the chair of higher education representative body GuildHE, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Open College Network, South East Region, and a board member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association. Ruth serves on a number of committees including HEFCE’s Teaching, Quality and the Student Experience Committee, the Quality in Higher Education Group, and Universities UK’s Student Experience Policy Committee and Health and Social Care Policy Committee.
Having been appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for Services to Higher Education, Ruth was also appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire in the same year.
Managing Director of Nolan Enterprises
Former Group Human Resources Director at The FA and Wembley Stadium
Paul is the Managing Director at Nolan Partners, one of Europe’s leading executive search firms dedicated to the global sport and related industries. Paul leads its sports practice (with a client base of 15 different sports) conducting all Board level, Chief Executive and Managing Director mandates. Paul has also conducted significant work in the betting and gaming industry.
A vastly experienced talent specialist, Paul spent six years as the Group Human Resources Director for The FA and Wembley Stadium, working closely with the Board, Chairman and Chief Executives to build leadership teams and handling every senior executive and non-executive appointment.
Broadcaster at BBC Sport & BT Sport
Former Everton, England and Team GB footballer
Regarded as the leading goalkeeper in the country during her playing career and earning 81 England caps along the way, Rachel was an England regular and one of the country’s most decorated players over two decades.
Selected in 2012 to be a part of Team GB at the London Olympics, she has enjoyed a successful transition into sports broadcasting following her retirement.
With her experience in the world of sport and as a qualified teacher, Rachel is able to provide a comprehensive and holistic insight of the industry to students during their time at UCFB.
Tutorial Coordinator at UCFB
Former Burnley, Watford, QPR and Leeds United Footballer
Former Chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association
An imposing central defender who enjoyed a highly successful 16 year career in professional football, Clarke was dubbed “Britain’s Brainiest Footballer” on a TV game show and was a respected Chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association.
Following a career that included Man of the Match honours as Burnley gained promotion to the Premier League in 2009’s Championship Playoff Final, he has maintained an active role as an ambassador for anti-racism charity Kick It Out and a diverse media career.
A passionate speaker on issues surrounding mental health in sport, Clarke’s expertise is of immense value to UCFB students and staff.
Investment Director at Abbots Moss Holdings
Former Chief Executive Officer of Warrington Wolves Rugby League Club
With a successful career across the retail and food sectors under his belt, Andy took over as Chief Executive Officer of Warrington Wolves in 2000 and led it to an unprecedented period of success over 15 years.
Recognised for his entrepreneurial mentality, Andy’s achievements at the helm of Warrington included the introduction of a new stadium, an era of record commercial deals and global recognition through the hosting of World Cup matches. Andy oversaw significant on-field success with Wolves, including three Challenge Cup victories and two Super League Grand Final appearances.
Investment Director at Abbots Moss Holdings since 2015, he is also a Non-Executive Director at Sofology.
Doncaster Rovers Belles & England Footballer
Broadcaster at BBC Sport, BT Sport & ESPN
Widely accepted as one of England’s greatest female footballers with 93 England caps to her name, Sue currently plies her trade for Doncaster Rovers Belles in the FA Women’s Super League.
Previously voted International Player of the Year, she has successfully embarked upon a media career in recent years and is a regular TV football pundit for women’s football.
In her multi-faceted involvement with UCFB, Sue provides students with insight into the workings of football on and off the pitch, mentors female students pursuing a career in the industry, providing particular expertise in broadcasting and media.
International Sports Management Consultant
Deepak Trivedi has helped to transform sports organisations both in the UK and overseas.
His impressive professional career has allowed him to consult with some of the most recognisable sporting institutions in the world, including the US Open, NBA, International Tennis Hall of Fame and the NFL.
Deepak was recently acknowledged in Dale Caldwell’s contemporary leadership book Intelligent Influence: The Four Steps of Highly Successful Leaders and Organisations, and has been widely acknowledged for his transformational leadership on how organisations view volunteer engagement in the sports sector, including work at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
He currently represents the diversity and inclusion task force for the USTA and the US Open. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors for tennis in New York and is the Vice Chair for the New York Open, an event he co-founded four years ago. Deepak has taught executive education and University programmes in Sports management and leadership in New York, Paris, Singapore, London and Miami.
He was honoured for his contributions to sport in California earlier this year.