News | Monday, 22nd July 2019

Football and rugby legends graduate from Master of Sport Directorship

16 sport professionals graduate from the pioneering programme

The graduates became the second cohort to graduate from the MSD
The graduates became the second cohort to graduate from the MSD

Football and rugby professionals are among the latest cohort to graduate from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Masters of Sport Directorship (MSD).

This year’s high-profile new graduates include Bradford City manager Gary Bowyer, England and Manchester City Women’s goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and rugby stars Phil Winstanley, Director of Premiership Rugby, and Jon Daniels, General Manager of Scarlets Rugby.

Taking place in Manchester on 19 July, the MSD degree ceremony saw the sports stars line up in gowns and mortar boards with hundreds of other new Manchester Metropolitan graduates to receive their degrees. 

The ceremony also marked the achievements and life of Rob Rowan, a football scout and former technical director at Brentford FC, who was an MSD student. Rob’s family collected a posthumous award after he sadly died in November last year.

MSD graduates
MSD graduates (left to right) Steve Harper, Karen Bardsley and Scott Sellars

Ex-Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper was among the 16 sport professionals graduating.

Harper said: “The course has been tough and challenging but I’ve loved every minute. I enrolled because I don’t think there are enough people in boardrooms with experience of playing the game. In the sporting director role it’s important to understand players. You are responsible for recruitment and also need an awareness of departments like sports science and the academy.”

The highly acclaimed MSD course prepares sport professionals for the role of sporting director and other senior management positions within sports organisations.

Alumni from the post-graduate course include the Director of England Men’s Cricket Ashley Giles and former Aston Villa Director of Football Steve Round.

Mark Batey, Head of the MSD at Manchester Metropolitan, said: “The sporting director role has become integral to the success of professional clubs and a huge range of sports organisations. Manchester Metropolitan’s unique MSD is the go-to qualification in the field and has transformed many of our students’ careers.

“It is amazing to see another group of professional sports people graduate, ready to guide their organisations through times of great opportunity and change. They will bring the skills of high-performance leadership, governance and commercial management, along with practical insights for harnessing creativity and innovation that are so essential to successful sports organisations.”

The two-year, part-time masters course is designed to develop the commercial skill sets and personal attributes required to succeed as a top flight sporting director.

The course features masterclasses from world-renowned speakers and engaging sessions that blend expert insight with practical tools. Working alongside fellow sporting directors, students cover leadership, managing high-performing organisations, creativity and innovation, sporting governance and compliance.

Find out more about the MSD course at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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