Oxford boss enrolls on Masters degree

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As was recently proven by Tony Pulis’ departure from Crystal Palace, there are still a number of managers working in the English game that insist on having full control at a football club.

Kevin Keegan walked out on Newcastle under similar circumstances to Pulis back in 2008, while Harry Redknapp has previously insisted he would never work under a sporting director.

The forward-thinking Arsene Wenger is equally adamant, yet more and more clubs now employ a director of football, sporting director or technical director.

While some managers may be wary of the influx of such people, Oxford’s Michael Appleton is not only embracing the movement but has signed up for the first ever Masters degree in Sport Directorship at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The 38-year-old explained to Mark Holmes what inspired him to enrol on the course, how he is fitting it in alongside his duties at the Kassam Stadium, and why he believes the presence of a sporting director can actually help a manager.

“There were lots of reasons for me signing up,” Appleton said. “One is simply that you can never stop learning.

“Also, part of a manager’s role is to have a working relationship with a technical director or chief executive. The course will give me an understanding of their position so that when I talk to them about needing players, equipment or organising a trip I can have an understanding from both sides.

“On top of that, if you know about the business side of a football club it will enable you to make better decisions and more controlled decisions off the field.

“The other reason for doing the course is that sometimes a manager’s career is not as long as you would like, and in the future this might be a role that is suited to me.”

Former Bristol City and Nottingham Forest manager Sean O’Driscoll, Burnley’s head of recruitment Lee Darnbrough, England cricket’s limited overs head coach Ashley Giles and ECB performance director David Parsons are among the other sporting names confirmed for the course, which is due to start on September 16 and runs until June.

“It’s not as intrusive on your day-to-day stuff as you might think,” Appleton said. “In total from now until the summer I only miss four days from the football club and with the staff I’ve got at Oxford, Derek Fazackerley and Mickey Lewis, it’s not massively intrusive on what I’m doing.

“Obviously there stuff that you need to do throughout the course, apart from meeting up a couple of days a month, like dissertations, but I’m used to that from doing my coaching courses, my Pro Licence, my diploma in management et cetera.

“From the club’s point of view, they’re delighted for me to do the course because they know I’m bettering myself.

“It’s a Masters degree so it’s certainly going to be difficult, but sometimes you need to have another focus and switch off from worrying about which team you’re going to pick, who’s in good form, who’s out of form and so on.”

Benefit of sporting director

While sporting directors and the like are still relatively uncommon in the British game, Appleton is in no doubt of the benefit of a club employing someone in the role, having spent 10 years at West Brom.

He said: “They were one of the first clubs to have a head coach and a technical director, and it made me realise how important the role is to take certain pressures off the head coach.

“As a technical director you can create a bubble to wrap around your coach to get him to concentrate on what he’s best at doing, and that’s dealing with players, coaching players and picking the team. That’s what a manager should be doing.

“A technical director can take that strain away from the manager by dealing with issues that might take him hours or days at a time when really he should be concentrating on the performance of the team. He can deal with all those little bits and pieces like dealing with agents and sorting contracts that can be very time consuming as a manager.”

Aside from the obvious benefit of having their load lightened, Appleton believes managers working under a sporting director may also benefit from being judged by someone overseeing the entire football operation at a club as opposed to a chairman or owner that may not look beyond results on the pitch.

“If it’s done properly, there are loads of ways to judge a manager or a head coach,” Appleton said.

“Regrettably the only place you get judged as a manager or coach is on the field with results. That’s not the case at every club, but certainly a lot of them.

“But there is good work being done by a lot of managers and coaches up and down the country behind the scenes and away from what you see on a Saturday – building academies, building a youth structure within a football club, building a DNA and a culture, a style of play and a philosophy.

“All of that is done to make sure there is a proper structure in place that is going to last for 10, 15 or 20 years rather than simply focusing on short-term success.

“If you build a house on quick sand it’s not going to last long, it’s going to fall apart at some point.

“A sporting director can bridge that gap between the manager and the owners or the chairman, and give the chairman or owners an understanding of the work that’s going on apart from what they see on a Saturday or a Tuesday evening.”

Positives for Oxford

Appleton’s Oxford have endured a tough start to the season having lost all four of their games in Sky Bet League Two before suffering a heartbreaking defeat to West Brom on penalties in the Capital One Cup in midweek.

Appleton, however, is pleased with the performances of his side so far and is confident results will soon follow – particularly if he manages to bolster his strikeforce before Monday’s transfer deadline.

“The defeat to West Brom was a bit of a shame because we played very well on the night and probably should have won the game, but we were lacking a killer touch in front of goal with the amount of chances we created. We’re not scoring enough goals at the minute.

“As good as we have been with the ball at times and the amount of chances we’ve created it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out we haven’t converted enough of them so we’re looking and expecting to bring in at least one more player before Monday to hopefully convert the chances we are creating.

“I’m not too concerned by the start, though, if I’m being honest. I would like to have had a better start in terms of the points we’ve gained but the way the games have gone have given me a lot of comfort because we’ve dominated pretty much every game we’ve played and created numerous opportunities.

“If you stick to your beliefs and don’t deviate from what you do and what you’re asking of the players, as long as you stay true to yourself and don’t start panicking, eventually you’ll win games of football and things will turn around.

“You’ve got to hold your nerve at times, keep being positive and make sure the players still stay motivated as we have done and we saw on Tuesday night.”

Michael Appleton has enrolled to become a Master in Sport Directorship (MSD) at Manchester Metropolitan University. To secure one of the final few places on the course, which starts this September, visit www.sportingdirectorship.com for more information.

Oxford boss enrolls on Masters degree

admin

As was recently proven by Tony Pulis’ departure from Crystal Palace, there are still a number of managers working in the English game that insist on having full control at a football club.

Kevin Keegan walked out on Newcastle under similar circumstances to Pulis back in 2008, while Harry Redknapp has previously insisted he would never work under a sporting director.

The forward-thinking Arsene Wenger is equally adamant, yet more and more clubs now employ a director of football, sporting director or technical director.

While some managers may be wary of the influx of such people, Oxford’s Michael Appleton is not only embracing the movement but has signed up for the first ever Masters degree in Sport Directorship at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The 38-year-old explained to Mark Holmes what inspired him to enrol on the course, how he is fitting it in alongside his duties at the Kassam Stadium, and why he believes the presence of a sporting director can actually help a manager.

“There were lots of reasons for me signing up,” Appleton said. “One is simply that you can never stop learning.

“Also, part of a manager’s role is to have a working relationship with a technical director or chief executive. The course will give me an understanding of their position so that when I talk to them about needing players, equipment or organising a trip I can have an understanding from both sides.

“On top of that, if you know about the business side of a football club it will enable you to make better decisions and more controlled decisions off the field.

“The other reason for doing the course is that sometimes a manager’s career is not as long as you would like, and in the future this might be a role that is suited to me.”

Former Bristol City and Nottingham Forest manager Sean O’Driscoll, Burnley’s head of recruitment Lee Darnbrough, England cricket’s limited overs head coach Ashley Giles and ECB performance director David Parsons are among the other sporting names confirmed for the course, which is due to start on September 16 and runs until June.

“It’s not as intrusive on your day-to-day stuff as you might think,” Appleton said. “In total from now until the summer I only miss four days from the football club and with the staff I’ve got at Oxford, Derek Fazackerley and Mickey Lewis, it’s not massively intrusive on what I’m doing.

“Obviously there stuff that you need to do throughout the course, apart from meeting up a couple of days a month, like dissertations, but I’m used to that from doing my coaching courses, my Pro Licence, my diploma in management et cetera.

“From the club’s point of view, they’re delighted for me to do the course because they know I’m bettering myself.

“It’s a Masters degree so it’s certainly going to be difficult, but sometimes you need to have another focus and switch off from worrying about which team you’re going to pick, who’s in good form, who’s out of form and so on.”

Benefit of sporting director

While sporting directors and the like are still relatively uncommon in the British game, Appleton is in no doubt of the benefit of a club employing someone in the role, having spent 10 years at West Brom.

He said: “They were one of the first clubs to have a head coach and a technical director, and it made me realise how important the role is to take certain pressures off the head coach.

“As a technical director you can create a bubble to wrap around your coach to get him to concentrate on what he’s best at doing, and that’s dealing with players, coaching players and picking the team. That’s what a manager should be doing.

“A technical director can take that strain away from the manager by dealing with issues that might take him hours or days at a time when really he should be concentrating on the performance of the team. He can deal with all those little bits and pieces like dealing with agents and sorting contracts that can be very time consuming as a manager.”

Aside from the obvious benefit of having their load lightened, Appleton believes managers working under a sporting director may also benefit from being judged by someone overseeing the entire football operation at a club as opposed to a chairman or owner that may not look beyond results on the pitch.

“If it’s done properly, there are loads of ways to judge a manager or a head coach,” Appleton said.

“Regrettably the only place you get judged as a manager or coach is on the field with results. That’s not the case at every club, but certainly a lot of them.

“But there is good work being done by a lot of managers and coaches up and down the country behind the scenes and away from what you see on a Saturday – building academies, building a youth structure within a football club, building a DNA and a culture, a style of play and a philosophy.

“All of that is done to make sure there is a proper structure in place that is going to last for 10, 15 or 20 years rather than simply focusing on short-term success.

“If you build a house on quick sand it’s not going to last long, it’s going to fall apart at some point.

“A sporting director can bridge that gap between the manager and the owners or the chairman, and give the chairman or owners an understanding of the work that’s going on apart from what they see on a Saturday or a Tuesday evening.”

Positives for Oxford

Appleton’s Oxford have endured a tough start to the season having lost all four of their games in Sky Bet League Two before suffering a heartbreaking defeat to West Brom on penalties in the Capital One Cup in midweek.

Appleton, however, is pleased with the performances of his side so far and is confident results will soon follow – particularly if he manages to bolster his strikeforce before Monday’s transfer deadline.

“The defeat to West Brom was a bit of a shame because we played very well on the night and probably should have won the game, but we were lacking a killer touch in front of goal with the amount of chances we created. We’re not scoring enough goals at the minute.

“As good as we have been with the ball at times and the amount of chances we’ve created it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out we haven’t converted enough of them so we’re looking and expecting to bring in at least one more player before Monday to hopefully convert the chances we are creating.

“I’m not too concerned by the start, though, if I’m being honest. I would like to have had a better start in terms of the points we’ve gained but the way the games have gone have given me a lot of comfort because we’ve dominated pretty much every game we’ve played and created numerous opportunities.

“If you stick to your beliefs and don’t deviate from what you do and what you’re asking of the players, as long as you stay true to yourself and don’t start panicking, eventually you’ll win games of football and things will turn around.

“You’ve got to hold your nerve at times, keep being positive and make sure the players still stay motivated as we have done and we saw on Tuesday night.”

Michael Appleton has enrolled to become a Master in Sport Directorship (MSD) at Manchester Metropolitan University. To secure one of the final few places on the course, which starts this September, visit www.sportingdirectorship.com for more information.

Oxford boss enrolls on Masters degree

admin

As was recently proven by Tony Pulis’ departure from Crystal Palace, there are still a number of managers working in the English game that insist on having full control at a football club.

Kevin Keegan walked out on Newcastle under similar circumstances to Pulis back in 2008, while Harry Redknapp has previously insisted he would never work under a sporting director.

The forward-thinking Arsene Wenger is equally adamant, yet more and more clubs now employ a director of football, sporting director or technical director.

While some managers may be wary of the influx of such people, Oxford’s Michael Appleton is not only embracing the movement but has signed up for the first ever Masters degree in Sport Directorship at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The 38-year-old explained to Mark Holmes what inspired him to enrol on the course, how he is fitting it in alongside his duties at the Kassam Stadium, and why he believes the presence of a sporting director can actually help a manager.

“There were lots of reasons for me signing up,” Appleton said. “One is simply that you can never stop learning.

“Also, part of a manager’s role is to have a working relationship with a technical director or chief executive. The course will give me an understanding of their position so that when I talk to them about needing players, equipment or organising a trip I can have an understanding from both sides.

“On top of that, if you know about the business side of a football club it will enable you to make better decisions and more controlled decisions off the field.

“The other reason for doing the course is that sometimes a manager’s career is not as long as you would like, and in the future this might be a role that is suited to me.”

Former Bristol City and Nottingham Forest manager Sean O’Driscoll, Burnley’s head of recruitment Lee Darnbrough, England cricket’s limited overs head coach Ashley Giles and ECB performance director David Parsons are among the other sporting names confirmed for the course, which is due to start on September 16 and runs until June.

“It’s not as intrusive on your day-to-day stuff as you might think,” Appleton said. “In total from now until the summer I only miss four days from the football club and with the staff I’ve got at Oxford, Derek Fazackerley and Mickey Lewis, it’s not massively intrusive on what I’m doing.

“Obviously there stuff that you need to do throughout the course, apart from meeting up a couple of days a month, like dissertations, but I’m used to that from doing my coaching courses, my Pro Licence, my diploma in management et cetera.

“From the club’s point of view, they’re delighted for me to do the course because they know I’m bettering myself.

“It’s a Masters degree so it’s certainly going to be difficult, but sometimes you need to have another focus and switch off from worrying about which team you’re going to pick, who’s in good form, who’s out of form and so on.”

Benefit of sporting director

While sporting directors and the like are still relatively uncommon in the British game, Appleton is in no doubt of the benefit of a club employing someone in the role, having spent 10 years at West Brom.

He said: “They were one of the first clubs to have a head coach and a technical director, and it made me realise how important the role is to take certain pressures off the head coach.

“As a technical director you can create a bubble to wrap around your coach to get him to concentrate on what he’s best at doing, and that’s dealing with players, coaching players and picking the team. That’s what a manager should be doing.

“A technical director can take that strain away from the manager by dealing with issues that might take him hours or days at a time when really he should be concentrating on the performance of the team. He can deal with all those little bits and pieces like dealing with agents and sorting contracts that can be very time consuming as a manager.”

Aside from the obvious benefit of having their load lightened, Appleton believes managers working under a sporting director may also benefit from being judged by someone overseeing the entire football operation at a club as opposed to a chairman or owner that may not look beyond results on the pitch.

“If it’s done properly, there are loads of ways to judge a manager or a head coach,” Appleton said.

“Regrettably the only place you get judged as a manager or coach is on the field with results. That’s not the case at every club, but certainly a lot of them.

“But there is good work being done by a lot of managers and coaches up and down the country behind the scenes and away from what you see on a Saturday – building academies, building a youth structure within a football club, building a DNA and a culture, a style of play and a philosophy.

“All of that is done to make sure there is a proper structure in place that is going to last for 10, 15 or 20 years rather than simply focusing on short-term success.

“If you build a house on quick sand it’s not going to last long, it’s going to fall apart at some point.

“A sporting director can bridge that gap between the manager and the owners or the chairman, and give the chairman or owners an understanding of the work that’s going on apart from what they see on a Saturday or a Tuesday evening.”

Positives for Oxford

Appleton’s Oxford have endured a tough start to the season having lost all four of their games in Sky Bet League Two before suffering a heartbreaking defeat to West Brom on penalties in the Capital One Cup in midweek.

Appleton, however, is pleased with the performances of his side so far and is confident results will soon follow – particularly if he manages to bolster his strikeforce before Monday’s transfer deadline.

“The defeat to West Brom was a bit of a shame because we played very well on the night and probably should have won the game, but we were lacking a killer touch in front of goal with the amount of chances we created. We’re not scoring enough goals at the minute.

“As good as we have been with the ball at times and the amount of chances we’ve created it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out we haven’t converted enough of them so we’re looking and expecting to bring in at least one more player before Monday to hopefully convert the chances we are creating.

“I’m not too concerned by the start, though, if I’m being honest. I would like to have had a better start in terms of the points we’ve gained but the way the games have gone have given me a lot of comfort because we’ve dominated pretty much every game we’ve played and created numerous opportunities.

“If you stick to your beliefs and don’t deviate from what you do and what you’re asking of the players, as long as you stay true to yourself and don’t start panicking, eventually you’ll win games of football and things will turn around.

“You’ve got to hold your nerve at times, keep being positive and make sure the players still stay motivated as we have done and we saw on Tuesday night.”

Michael Appleton has enrolled to become a Master in Sport Directorship (MSD) at Manchester Metropolitan University. To secure one of the final few places on the course, which starts this September, visit www.sportingdirectorship.com for more information.