THE SATURDAY FEATURE: Managing the Step from Player to Boss

Article excerpt

Andrew Hardwick and his co-director on the Football Certificate Programme at Warwick University, Dr Sue Bridgewater, have been given a clear brief by their soccer paymasters - to save managers from the sack.

Thirty-four managers lost their jobs last season and the League Managers Association are determined to reduce that worrying statistic in future.

They have joined forces with other organisations like the Football League and the Football Association to fund the course at Warwick University.

Hardwick and Bridgewater teach the year-long programme out of the university's business school, and together they offer their star-studded pupils new skills to help them succeed in the cut-throat world of football management.

Hardwick, a Leeds United fan, said: 'We were approached by the League Managers Association and the Professional Footballers Association, who were concerned at the number of people who were going into management and losing their jobs very quickly. It was quite clear they were not prepared to go from playing into managing.'

Consequently, Warwick University, who already ran applied management courses for engineers and physicians, devised a suitable course for football managers to learn the finance, marketing and operational aspects involved in running a football club.

The footballers do most of the course using long-distance learning methods via an intranet, but there are also 15 days of intensive learning on campus at the beginning and end of the course.

Hardwick said: 'Certainly a knowledge of football is vital to managers but we are hoping to encourage an increased level of confidence both in working with players and with the non-playing side, particularly the non-management of football. …