We all know about the players and managers behind football clubs’ performance on the pitch, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. In the battle for trophies, and on every inch of the pitch, football is a fiercely competitive business, and at a global Club such as Manchester City, hundreds of employees behind the scenes have a part to play in every victory. Meet some of those hidden heroes and learn how they contribute to the overall success of the club.
JOHN SHELMERDINE - FINANCE MANAGER, OPERATIONS
John started working at the Club in 2010 as a finance assistant overseeing the Club’s purchase ledger. Three years and two different roles later, he was promoted to finance manager – operations, with the added responsibilities for expenses and sales.
What career path can lead someone to the finance of football?
You don't need to follow a specific career path, other than accounting, if you want to work in the finance department of a football club. Every member of our team has got here via different routes, and everyone comes from different backgrounds.
What kind of roles make up the finance team that supports the Club?
There is a finance director, financial controllers, financial executives, finance managers (including myself), management accountants, and finance assistants.
How important is financial clout in modern football?
It has a great importance – without top-quality financial controls, the Club would almost grind to a halt.
When most people think of finance in football, their first thought is how much each club has spent in the transfer window, how much a player cost or how much the players earn. What they don't see is that there's much more that the finance department do than just processing payments for transfers and player wages. We support every department, from scouting to performance analysis, partnerships, media, facilities, operations, sales and service.
Every member of the finance team, from the assistants to the director, has their own responsibilities. It’s important work, and we have supported the business in making decisions. Being able to do that is crucial to increase revenues, promote the City brand and attract the best footballers in the world.
SUZANNE HEED - PERSONAL ASSISTANT TO DIRECTOR OF SALES, SERVICE & OPERATIONS
Suzanne joined the Club straight after leaving school and has worked within various departments since, including as a receptionist, hospitality coordinator, and sponsorship administrator. She has been a PA for the last 10 years for several executives and directors, and currently provides PA support to the director of sales, service & operations.
How busy can it get being a PA?
Very, and the role can be extremely challenging at times. You need to be able to pre-empt your directors’ needs and always try to be one step ahead!
How do you coordinate so many commitments for the Club’s executives?
Being super-organised is very important. Before I leave the office each day, I prepare a to-do list for myself of any outstanding items that I will need to cover the next day (remembering to leave space for the inevitable unexpected extra tasks that come my way). I keep an ear to the ground and listen to what is happening around me to ensure that I can pick up on what my director will need and what he wants doing.
How much responsibility do you have as a PA?
It is my responsibility to guarantee that my director can confidently rely on me to keep things running professionally, efficiently and smoothly in the background. My job is to make sure that he can focus on the bigger issues that his role demands.