Aston Villa Director of Football Steve Round graduates with an MSD in Sports Directorship

Aston Villa Director of Football Steve Round is today celebrating his successful graduation from the world’s first Masters’ Degree in Sporting Directorship.

The course, founded by Visionary Sport Investment and taught by Manchester Metropolitan University was launched nearly three years ago and the former England, Everton and Manchester United Assistant Manager was among the first to sign up.

He wanted to elevate himself from the training ground to a strategic leadership position within a major club and recognised that his wealth of coaching experience may alone not be enough to land the high profile job that he knew was well within his capabilities.

VSI co-founder Tony Faulkner had conducted extensive research as to how football could most efficiently manage financial growth on an extra ordinary scale.

Club owners and Directors confirmed his belief in the need for the appointment of a Director of Football but were challenged as to where they could recruit appropriately qualified individuals.

Faulkner revealed: “I produced content for five modules that would be the foundation for a vocational Masters level program that would deliver individuals capable of working at Board level in a football club with responsibility all sporting operations.

“This individual would be the custodian of the club’s medium and long-term strategy and would be responsible for giving the first team coach the best chance to prosper.

“In the past English football Managers have been fearful of a Director of Football but my re-search showed that Managers were failing because of an unrealistic work-load.

“VSI approached MMU with the project and the Business school warmly welcomed the ground breaking opportunity to work in partnership with sport industry professionals.

“It is a real thrill for us all at VSI to see Steve picking up his award and I am confident he will go from success to success in his career.”

Faulkner’s views are certainly echoed by Aston Villa CEO Keith Wyness who this summer paid tribute to Round’s impact at Villa Park. “Steve has come in and we have done a complete root and branch overhaul of the club; sports science, recruitment, academy, everything on the football side,” he revealed.

On appointing Round he said: “Steve’s recent studies for a Masters qualification showed his dedication and desire to develop this role.”

VSI and MMU have worked in partnership on two further cohorts of high profile industry professionals and VSI has become the first port of call for sport’s leading recruitment agents.

Faulkner said: “This is a vocational program delivering real jobs in an industry desperate for a high quality professionals. I take calls every week asking about the talent pool now available. They recognise that this is a space owned by VSI and our knowledge is invaluable to them.

“The level of industry interest is best evidence by the VSI Sporting Director’s summit being held this year in Manchester’s space age Media City. Over 150 delegates will attend and it is the perfect showcase for the next generation of Sporting Directors.”

For information on the VSI Sporting Directors Course and Summit contact
0845 45 99 765