Strauss call is like music to Hoggard’s ears
Published 8 September 2017
As England prepare to head Down Under to renew their bitter rivalry with Australia, one of their heroes from the greatest-ever Ashes series is also packing his bags.
Whilst Joe Root’s side will be flying some 10,500 miles though, Matthew Hoggard’s journey will be rather shorter … from the family’s home in his adopted county of Leicestershire to Manchester’s media quarter in Salford.
At the age of 40, Hoggard has become the latest former sports star to sign on for Visionary Sport Investment’s innovative MSc in Sporting Directorship, run in partnership with the Centre for Sports Business.
The two-year course covers executive leadership and Management with subjects as branding, business studies, finance, marketing and neuroscience – via on-campus tuition from elite-level guest lecturers, self-study, to equip its graduates for high-profile executive positions in sport.
Hoggard heard about a vacancy from former England team-mate Andrew Strauss, and having researched the course and considered its potential for a new career direction, didn’t hesitate.
“Cricket is still a relatively small sporting community, so I’m really looking forward to meeting my peers from different sports,” he says. “I spoke to Ashley Giles and David Parsons, who graduated last year, and they had only good things to say about the course.” VSI cofounder Tony Faulkner is delighted to welcome Hoggard onto the course. “Matthew’s international experience in sport will provide great insight for the other students but what stood out most was the eclectic interests his has outside of sport. Our MSc is about diversity, bringing together an elite bunch of students from differing
professions but with clear aspirations, this way we create a rich and challenging environment to improve”
Academia holds no fears for Hoggard, who studied biology, chemistry and maths at A-level when seemingly heading for a university education to achieve his teenage dream of becoming a vet.
Instead, of course, he was plucked from club cricket in his native Yorkshire to star for both county and country; first during England’s remarkable unbeaten run during 2004, and then in the thrilling 2005 Ashes series.
He notched sixteen wickets, helped England to their first Ashes victory for 18 years, and set the tone at both Old Trafford and Edgbaston with first-ball victims, on the way to an impressive 248 Test wickets and the accolade of being dubbed England’s best Test bowler by BBC Sport research.
Now Hoggard is preparing to learn about figures of a very different kind, but certainly isn’t fazed by the challenge.
“Dad was a maths teacher, one sister is a GP and the other is a supply manager, and we’ve always found numbers and statistics easy,” he admits.
“Even when you play a sport at international level though, you don’t learn much about the business of the game and that’s one aspect I really want to understand. I’m not going on the course with pre-conceived ideas, so I’ll choose a topic for my thesis once I’ve got deeper into my studies.”
Harshly jettisoned by England, after one lacklustre game in New Zealand – when returning from an injury lay-off – he remains the same effervescent and immediately likeable character which all cricket lovers recall with affection.
“Of all the course modules, neuroscience stands out. I love the mental side of sport, what makes people tick and how they perform,” says Hoggard. “I am entirely open-minded about where the course might lead, but I do like the idea of going into a struggling team or business and helping to turn it round.
“I’ve seen how people from one sport have successfully crossed over into others; Rob Andrew becoming chief executive at Sussex, for example, and and Pat Howard taking a senior management role at Cricket Australia, both after spending many years in rugby union.
“I’m not thinking this course could lead to a particular job, although I would love to be involved in sport in the future. I just want to learn as much as I can, meet people from other sports, with different experiences and skill-sets and see where it might lead.”
To learn more about the VSI MSc in Sports Directorship contact:
Tel: 0845 45 99 765