This time in DUBAI PROFILE NEWS (DPN) we do host a really interesting interview of a promising business talent, Dave Cook (DC) who is working in one of the most historical European football clubs, CELTIC FC, from Scotland. He takes us through the an interesting journey through football success.
DPN: Dave you are operating as the Business Development Manager in one of the greatest football clubs in Europe from Scotland, CELTIC FC. How is your working experience there?
DC: It’s a great privilege to work for Celtic. We have a fantastic tradition and heritage and we look to try to build the commercial program that we have at the club.
DPN: Let us know some things about the history of CELTIC FC.
DC: Celtic was the first British Club to win the European Cup (now Champions League) in 1967. The whole team was born within a 20 mile radius of the stadium! The club has very strong charitable belief’s that have been prominent since the clubs inception in 1887.
DPN: Share with us what is the vision of your football club?
DC: The vision of the club is to maintain a high performance in European football with strong domestic success. It’s important to ensure that we continue to engage with our supporters to maximize the fantastic support they offer us. We are also working hard to extend the reach and interaction with the club in many territories around the world.
DPN: CELTIC FC has launched an International Coaches Convention for February 2012. Take us through this new project.
DC: It’s something really exciting for me and the team here. We have been to so many coaching conventions around the globe and whilst there are some great ones out there, we just felt we could deliver something that offers brilliant value to coaches showing them all how we do things the Celtic Way. No other club will offer a program as in depth as us – showing the coaches how we work with 5 year olds right the way through to players who go in to the first team squad.
DPN: People from the football industry characterize you as one of the most promising talents in the football industry. What are your plans for the future?
DC: I’m not sure about that, I just keep working hard and try to learn from people I work with and also take my successes and build on those and of course analyze my weaknesses and think how I could improve for the next time!
DPN: Before CELTIC FC you worked also in another great club of UK, EVERTON FC. Talk to us also about your experience there.
DC: Everton is in my heart! Much of my family hail from Liverpool so it was an absolute honor to work for the club that I have and continue to support today as a fan! The EPL is such a fantastic league. I was perhaps a little too inexperienced to be at the club during that time but learned so much that is helping now to improve.
DPN: Both in CELITC FC and in EVERTON FC you interacted with a number of great football stars. Who is the one who impressed you most and why?
DC: Tim Cahill was someone who made a great impression on me. Tim is very committed to develop youth football. He is helping many young aspiring Australian athletes to get their big break in European football.
DPN: Some days ago Sir Alex Ferguson completed 25 years as a coach in Manchester United. May you comment this achievement?
DC: Incredible and a feat I do not think we will see repeated in the modern era. People forget it took Fergie 3-4 years to win a trophy at the club – in today’s game he would have probably have been fired before the success kicked in. Whether you like or dislike Manchester United you have to respect his achievements and the style of play of the team.
DPN: You studied an MBA in Football Industries in the University of Liverpool. How your studies added value in your business career up to now?
DC: The MBA was a great program for me as it allowed me to transition my career from a fund management and client service background in to sports where my passion lay. The best part of the MBA was the incredible network that surrounds the course. We got to meet key decision makers in the game on a weekly basis which was fantastic. Now the MBA course has more than 300 graduates and we work as strong network/alumni to help us all in the industry.
DPN: Dave, who is the person from your life that inspires you most and why?
DC: A great inspiration for me was a former colleague at Everton FC called Tosh Farrell. He is an incredible youth football coach with a fantastic personality and outlook on life. He remains a great friend also.
DPN: Football in Middle East is trying to develop the last years and there are a couple of indicators which shows that. The greatest Diego Maradona came as a coach in a football club in U.A.E and Qatar will host the World Cup in 2022. Comment us that.
DC: For me, football is the sport that people in the UAE and Qatar care about most. It’s of course very different to football in Europe as we have the history, heritage but also the advanced leagues with world class talent. But I see a lot of commitment to improve and develop things. I think the game will continue to grow positively. If there is one area that I think needs improved it is on patience! Teams change management and coaching staff far too easily that there is no chance for continuity in many clubs.
DPN: Do you recognize any Arab football player who you do believe has a great future among him?
DC: If I am honest there are no Middle East players that jump out to me – but as I have focus on the commercial side of the business rather than the talent identification that is to be expected. I am sure there will be scouts from across Europe scouring the region for talent.
DPN: What is the future of the football industry, especially during the global recession?
DC: Out with the top 2 or 3 leagues in the world, the football industry is tough. Sponsorship revenue in particular is extremely difficult and will be for the foreseeable in my opinion. With the desire for the main leagues like the EPL and La Liga, I think they will ride out any recession as the TV rights for these leagues continue to grow from strength to strength.
DPN: Sports in general is the bright side of life for many people. Earl Warren, the 14th Chief Justice of the USA said “I always turn to sports pages first, which record people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures”. Do you agree with that?
DC : As a fanatical sports fan and as somebody who sees on a regular basis what football and sport means to many sports fans I can completely understand the love and passion people have for it. It’s a chance to share in collective success and happiness for many. Sport can give an identity also which is really important for many people. A saying I use in many of my sponsorship presentation is “Football creates the greatest affinity of all” – and I am sticking with it!