“Fabulous food, a great venue and a fascinating speaker;” some of the feedback from our Annual Manchester Board Dinner.

Published: 13 March 2014

On Wednesday 5th March, Berwick Partners, Odgers Berndtson and PwC hosted the great and the good of the North West business community at Manchester’s Midland Hotel. Dinner comprised of a mouth-watering five course tasting menu created by the Michelin starred Chef Simon Rogan.

Our guest speaker was David Gill, who until mid-2013 had been the Chief Executive of Manchester United Football Club. He started his presentation with a three minute video showing the successes of the last 15 seasons, his time with the club.

David reflected on how a “small business on a Salford industrial estate two miles out of town” had grown to become one of the most recognised brands in the world and the positive impact the football club continues to have on our North West economy.

Enlightening the audience about the football and commercial success of the past two decades David drew attention to the sheer scale of change the “industry” has gone through. Broadcasting income increased from £12m to £100m; employee numbers increased from 457 to 800, Sponsorship/Commercial revenue increased from £42m to £153m with partnerships across 161 countries and salary costs increased from £23m to £180m (although never more than 50% of turnover).

Manchester United is now a brand recognised by over 650 million people globally and undoubtedly plays a huge part in helping the North West economy, however as always with such a passionate sport it was the football stories that most captured the audience’s attention.

The relationship David enjoyed with Sir Alex Ferguson was clearly a key ingredient in the United success story. David reflected how Sir Alex would “change” when speaking with the press and wished the world away from the football club could see “the warmth of the real Alex Ferguson”. Topically, David also addressed the recent Rooney salary contract and whilst saying the figures reported were incorrect acknowledged “the Rooney’s would not struggle to find somewhere nice for a holiday this year”!

David’s passion for the game was clear for all to see and as a member of the UEFA Executive Committee it was good for the business leaders of the North West to see his experience and values have not been lost to the “beautiful game”.

Paul Williams is a Consultant in the Berwick Partners and Odgers Berndtson Manchester Office

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