skip to content | Accessibility Information

England cricketer signs up for Sporting Director degree

Published: 20th August 2014

A COLLECTION of high-profile sporting professionals have joined Manchester Metropolitan University’s new degree in Sport Directorship.

Former England spinner and Ashes hero Ashley Giles leads the list of sporting stars, as he gears up to swap cricket for the classroom.

It is the first course of its kind in the UK and is designed for people involved in the sport industry looking to take the next step to manage and run elite organisations as a sport director.

MMU, in partnership with Visionary Sports Investment (VSI), launched the master’s degree to provide candidates with excellence in leadership, personal development, innovation and governance.

Sporting pedigree

Ashley Giles, a former England cricket coach and player, said: “This course is the first of its kind and I’m thrilled to be involved. The Master's degree in Sport Directorship (MSD) will give me a greater understanding of a role I’m already passionate about and provide me with a broader set of skills and competencies to be an effective sporting director.

“I’ve been involved in cricket at every level over the last 20 years and I’m excited to begin this next phase of my career.”

From the world of football, ex-Nottingham Forest manager Sean O’Driscoll, current Oxford United manager Michael Appleton and Lee Darnborough, who is head of recruitment for Premier League new boys Burnley, will all become the first set of students enrolled on the course. And English Cricket Board performance director David Parsons and will also be joining the inaugural year.

The course is on a part-time basis with most candidates studying alongside their full-time jobs. There are five units in total studied over two years, with each unit being taught at MMU’s £75m Business School in three, two-day blocks of teaching.

Growing role

Tony Faulkner, director at VSI, said: “The sporting director is already a recognised and successful part of sports organisations abroad, and the MSD will help formalise the role in the United Kingdom. Many domestic clubs, across a myriad of sports, are now beginning to appreciate the importance of this role.”

The course was launched by VSI director and former Everton and Manchester City manager Joe Royle. For more information, log on to