Client news | September 6th, 2021
A personal message to our athletes and their families.
As the new Chief Executive of Integral Sports Management, the most important thing I have to do is to ensure that we offer the best quality service to our clients. Without you, and your family, there is no Integral.
I give you my personal guarantee that we will fight tooth and nail to give you the kind of career, financial rewards and personal care in things like planning for life after football that you should expect, given your hard work and sacrifices, and do it in an ethical way.
During my time as a director of Oldham Athletic I saw the full spectrum of situations that players encounter, from coming through the academy to the final stages of a career. There were those that got great moves away and ended up in the Premier League (such as James Tarkowski and Dale Stephens), and those that saw their careers end in the worst ways, from injury or the disappointment of not being good enough. In these cases we worked hard to get them placed into environments where they could still be part of football, whether in coaching, sports science or other roles.
I was always very interested in the Academy side and spent a lot of time with Academy managers Tony Philliskirk and Mick Priest on filthy pitches where the rain generally seemed to blow-in sideways, even in August! We had a wide range of players, and always recruited strongly in the Congolese community in Manchester (we took Glen Belezika literally from parks football and he made his debut the day after he signed professionally away to Sheffield Wednesday) and also in Northern Ireland where we found great lads like Carl Winchester, now at Sunderland.
I also enjoyed dealing with the senior pros such as Sean Gregan and Shefki Kuqi, who had the knowledge and experience that comes from longevity in the brutally survivalist environment that is professional football, and had great stories to tell. I still speak regularly to Shefki who is one of the most switched-on individuals you could meet, with an incredible life story of having been a migrant from Kosovo to the Champions League and 62 caps for Finland.
There was a good group of guys who went on to become managers or coaches, such as Jim Goodwin at St Mirren, Zander Diamond at Syngenta and Danny Whitaker at Macclesfield. I think Jim, Zander and ‘Casper’ will go on to manage at higher levels.
At Oldham we were always aware that quite a few of the players we signed were experienced League One professionals, and had been at many clubs. The Directors always used to make a special effort with the families of these players, mindful that they had put up with many years of relocation for very moderate financial reward compared to the game’s highest earners. The same also used to apply if we had taken a player from Scotland or Ireland.
Anyway, the message is that as a firm we are committed to you, the athlete, at whatever stage of your development. If you are already a client, thank you and we will never take your business for granted.
If you are not , and would like to speak to us about representation, whether as an established athlete or as a younger player or a relation of, we would be delighted to hear from you.