Becky Easton talks about her Masters in Sporting Directorship

Becky is a player and Assistant General Manager at Doncaster Belles Football Club. She has played professionally for more than 25 seasons and won 44 caps for England, but would like to move into the business side of football, and feels this course is helping her to achieve that ambition.

I decided to come on this course as I’m nearing the end of my football-playing career, and I don’t want to be a football coach, which is the normal route out of playing. I want to stay in the game, so researched some courses to see how I could do that. When I read about the Master’s in Sports Directorship here at Manchester Metropolitan University I thought that it ticked all the right boxes for me to improve my skills and knowledge, and meet other people from the sports world as well. I haven’t been disappointed.

The course for the first year was interesting, and the cohort is a great one, such a mix of different people from differing sports. I learnt about so much, including leadership, sports governance, and innovation – all subjects that are useful for me, and I learn so much each time I come into university.

The stand-out aspect of learning, for me, has been taking the theory and immediately being able to make changes at work. This course is not about coming in and listening and taking notes; it’s about learning how to make valuable changes to businesses processes that actually work.

A recent assignment I completed about sports board structure and effectiveness has helped me in my role: we are going through a transitional phase at work with new directors, and my learning has ensured I have been able to assess them and their workload and priorities and make recommendations.

On a personal level the course has helped me to develop my confidence, as I’m not the most talkative person. We take part in lots of debates and arguments. I’ve made some great contacts too from other sports, and I’ve learnt a lot about my sport and other sports.

I’ve also developed better time management skills, as I train during the day so had to find the time to read and study.  It’s still a bit of a rush at assignment deadline though, but the course fits with my lifestyle.

Learning from staff who all have different teaching styles has been good, with the most interesting being the innovation and change module. Our tutors really made us think outside of the box. I learned a lot from them.

I’ve also enjoyed all of the high profile guest speakers, especially John O’Hare who was Police Chief at Greater Manchester Police.  His talk on leadership was inspirational, and all of the guest speakers have been great.

I feel this course is preparing me for my future career. I played football for 27 seasons, and the thought of retiring was a bit of a worry. This course is giving me the skills and knowledge I need when I hang up my boots, and I know I will be well prepared for the business side of football.

My advice for anyone who is coming to the end of their sporting career is to step into education. This course is for you, and there are people on this course who have never studied in a university before, but have all learnt so much.