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Updated: Jun 6, 2022

Credit: Manchester City FC

There is no league in world football that could have produced the drama of the last day of this season’s Premier League. There is little between Liverpool and Manchester City and they are the two best teams in the world. City deserve their success and I only hope Liverpool now go on to win the Champions League. A big shout out to my local team Bromley for winning the FA Trophy on the same day. Four of the players in the Bromley team were with me at Ebbsfleet Utd and they are all honest lads who deserve this success.

Effective recruitment is the key to success at any level of football. Most players that are out of contract this summer or who are looking for a move sort their future out in the January transfer window. At a minimum and in an ideal world no player wants to go on holiday in May or June with their future unresolved.

Over the past two years and in my role as Chairman and CEO of Integral Sports Management (ISM), I and my key football staff were aware of the requirements of every club in the top five divisions of English football. ISM has been trading for two years now in what has been a difficult environment in sport due to COVID and lockdowns but it now has 61 clients and does things the right way. The appointment of Pete Fitzboydon as the new CEO means I can now retire from my role there knowing it is in good hands and well set for a bright future.

Agents get a bad name in some quarters but they are an essential ingredient to good recruitment and building relationships with agents is essential for all clubs. They are there to represent the interests of their players first and foremost but also to marry them up with the right club for them be that geographically or for progression.

As I found back in 2011, working in a recruitment team to put together an entirely new squad of players was one of the most difficult challenges I have ever faced, particularly as the budget set was some £2million below rival club, which meant negotiating with players, agents and clubs required patience and keeping a strong stance. Insisting players and their wives or girlfriends attended meetings was key and some players whose agents declined the offers made had their minds changed at these meetings. It is important to treat players and their families with respect and getting to know them is essential, as most hate being treated as commodities.

We live in an era dominated by text, WhatsApp messages and emails but the importance of face to face contact should never be underestimated.

Updated: Jun 6, 2022

Twitter @MichaelBeale

Liverpool and Manchester City have dominated the Premier League this season and with just three games to go it is anyone’s guess who will end up as champions. Liverpool could still win the quadruple of Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup which would be unprecedented in the modern game especially when you consider the fixture schedule that involves. In my opinion they are the best two club sides in world football and for as long as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola remain in charge this dominance will continue. Klopp has already extended his contract until 2026 and I expect Guardiola to do the same very soon. Both display the qualities you want from a manager – top class coaching, tactical awareness, a defined style of play, good organisation, solid discipline, respect and motivational skills. When you look at Manchester Utd who dominated the Premier League for so many years, they have lost their way in terms of these attributes and I don’t see the qualities needed in their management and playing staff and it is little wonder that the results on the pitch are so poor.

There have been two occasions in my career when I was able to positively influence the manager I wanted – Chris Powell at Charlton and Daryl McMahon at Ebbsfleet – and both delivered success on the pitch until they were beset by negative and disruptive ownership issues. Both displayed the attributes referenced above and both produced exciting attacking teams that were a pleasure to watch. It was no surprise that attendances at the two clubs reflected that.

If I was involved in recruiting a manager now, I would be looking in the direction of Michael Beale who I first came across in his youth team days at Charlton. I did tell him when he moved from Rangers to Aston Villa that he needed to return home to The Valley one day!! Steven Gerrard would certainly not want to lose him, but it is a fact that at some point most coaches want to manage their own team, but the circumstances need to be right.

The most important thing you can give a manager is time. Constant change is the enemy of success and managers need to know that they are working in a supportive environment that thinks long term not short term, that they can bring in the players they want as part of a co-ordinated recruitment strategy that fits their defined style of play and tactics and that they have the coaching and support team they want. I base this on what I have observed during the 4 promotions and 2 championship successes I have been involved in. Also don’t underestimate how important the right culture is in a club. Just ask any of the Charlton players who played in the Premier League years or won promotion in 2012.

Updated: Jun 6, 2022

Instragam @TarranMac95

Tarran Mackenzie is the reigning British Superbikes Champion but the sport he loves and the riders who compete in it receive limited exposure in the media despite the fact some 25,000 spectators attended the second round of the 2022 competition at Oulton Park in Cheshire at the weekend.

Tarran comes from a family steeped in the sport. His dad Niall was a three-time British Superbikes Champion, and his elder brother Taylor is the team manager for Vision Track Honda Moto 3 which is a new team in Moto 3. Spookily I share the same birthday with Taylor.

Tarran first got on a motorised bike when he was just three years old. At 26, he now proudly races as Number One in the Yamaha Team.

I was at Oulton Park on 1st May to catch up with Tarran and Niall. It was fascinating meeting up in the spacious Yamaha hospitality centre which is hugely impressive for a temporary facility constructed in two days.

Making our way from there to the pit lane area demonstrated to me just how popular Tarran is. Every few yards he was stopped for a selfie, or an autograph and he greeted every fan with a smile and a chat which showed what a classy individual he is. Other sports take note!

Once we made it to the pit lane there was an incredible buzz about the place and the number of laptops and stats being run through them was daunting. The bike that Tarran rides seemed quite complex to me, but I learnt a lot about the importance of keeping the tyres at a certain temperature, the weighting of the bike, the various power controls and the crucial need to follow racing lines.

Tarran is probably the lightest rider in the Superbikes and 2022 has not been kind to him so far. During practice in Spain in he dislocated his shoulder and broke an ankle and then once recovered he then returned to practice in the UK and broke the other ankle. He was desperate to race at the weekend and could probably have raced on adrenaline alone, but the medical team put paid to his participation, and he will not race again until the next event at Donington Park.

Because he couldn’t race Eurosport wasted no time in getting him on their programme. His engaging personality makes him a natural TV pundit and he doesn’t disappoint.

Having missed the first two rounds of this year’s competition, he has some catching up to do but you only need to spend a short time in his company to know he is a committed and driven competitor. I for one wouldn’t bet against a follow up success later this year.

Last year he got a lovely congratulatory message from Nicola Sturgeon and as a big Leicester City fan and living in Leicestershire maybe this year Boris Johnson could join in and perhaps even the BBC could cast an eye on his achievements when they send out the invites for the 2022 Sports Personality of the Year. After all, all our British champions deserve recognition in an event that celebrates sporting achievement.

You can follow Tarran Mackenzie on Instagram @TarranMac95

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