Paul Barber (soccer administrator)
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The Football Association
As Commercial Director and latterly as Director of Marketing and Communications for The Football Association (The FA), Barber was credited with the creation of FA Partners, The FA's lucrative commercial sponsorship programme which ran between 2002 and 2006, securing major agreements with McDonald's, Pepsi, Carlsberg, Nationwide Building Society, British Airways, Giorgio Armani, Sainsbury's, and Umbro, while shielding The FA's prime assets, The FA Cup and the England teams, from title sponsors. During this period, Barber also secured The FA Council's agreement to re-name The FA Charity Shield as The FA Community Shield, as part of a plan to connect the grass roots football community to the highest levels of the game, a concept Barber successfully sold to McDonald's. The FA Partners programme also included high profile sponsorship of women's football for the first time courtesy of Nationwide as well as other significant support for grass roots football, an area of the game Barber is believed to be passionate about.
Barber led the development of englandfans, the official supporters' scheme, and negotiations for various long term broadcast media agreements with BSkyB, BBC and ITV ensuring a terrestrial broadcast platform for The FA's major properties and innovative sports coverage from BSkyB together with rights fees worth several hundred million pounds. Following in the footsteps of his close friend and former FA Chief Executive, David Davies, Barber often acted as The FA's calm and diplomatic public and media face and voice during a high profile and at times highly controversial period for The FA which included the last match at the old Wembley Stadium, the appointment of Sven-Göran Eriksson as England coach, Rio Ferdinand's missed drugs test, a threatened England players strike ahead of the crucial European Championship qualifier in Turkey, and the resignation of Chief Executive and key ally, Adam Crozier.
Barber was the architect and commercial brains behind the hugely successful and popular with fans 'England on the Road' programme which saw England's senior team and under 21 internationals taken to different English stadiums, including Old Trafford, Anfield, White Hart Lane, Stadium of Light, St James's Park, St Mary's Stadium, Pride Park, and Villa Park during the period of the new Wembley Stadium's construction. Barber's international football experience also extends to being a senior member of England's travelling party to major tournaments including Euro 2000 (in Holland and Belgium) under Kevin Keegan's management and the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea when England were led by Sven Goran Eriksson. Barber also provided advisory and consultancy support for The FA's two ultimately unsuccessful attempts to stage the World Cup in 2006 and 2018.
Tottenham Hotspur FC
As Executive Director at Tottenham Hotspur FC of The Premier League, Barber is said to have enjoyed a close working relationship with the Club's demanding and renowned tough negotiating Chairman, Daniel Levy. Barber was responsible for the club's day to day operations, marketing, and international development. Barber joined the Club's Board early in 2005 and was tasked with re-shaping and improving the Club's commercial structure and building closer relationships with supporter groups.
During his time at Tottenham Hotspur, Barber secured the North London club's then largest ever shirt sponsorship deal - worth over £34 million over 4 years - with Gibraltar-based online betting firm, Mansion.com, and agreed international partnerships with MLS side San Jose Earthquakes and Hong Kong-based South China FC.
Barber created One Hotspur - the club's current supporter membership and season ticket holder programme - and was credited by many Tottenham fans for the direct link he provided between supporters and the Board making himself approachable and responsive to queries and questions. Barber worked closely with Daniel Levy to bring manager Harry Redknapp to the club in the Autumn of 2008 after a poor start to the 2008/9 Premier League season under Spanish coach Juande Ramos.
Barber resigned from his position as Executive Director and a member of the Board at Tottenham Hotspur early in 2010 to take up an opportunity to become Chief Executive Officer of Vancouver Whitecaps FC and become the first British-born sports executive to lead a franchise in to Major League Soccer, the top tier of soccer in North America. He stayed on the Board at Tottenham Hotspur as a Non-Executive Director until the summer of 2011.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
During his tenure at Vancouver Whitecaps FC♙which is one of the oldest and largest professional soccer clubs in North America, Barber re-launched the Vancouver Whitecaps brand and agreed a number of major sponsorships with telecommunications giant Bell Canada, EA Sports, Budweiser, Kia Motors, BMO Bank of Montreal, Rogers Sportsnet TV, and TEAM 1040 Radio. In all, it was reported that the club signed a total of 25 new commercial agreements in a 24 month period while Barber was Chief Executive Officer and the Vancouver Whitecaps became the first MLS club to have all its League and Cup matches Broadcast live on TV, Radio, Mobile and Online.
Vancouver Whitecaps also accomplished two complex stadium moves in less than 12 months between November 2010 and October 2011. The club completed its 2010 season in the small community stadium Swangard (capacity 5,000), before moving to the temporary Empire Field (capacity 27,000) in March 2011, and then on to the newly refurbished 2010 Winter Olympic Games venue, BC Place with a 55,000 capacity, spectacular retractable roof and largest centrally hung videoboard in north America in October 2011. Whitecaps boasted more than 15,500 season ticket holders in its first season in the MLS, one of the league's highest season ticket tallies. However, the club was unable to replicate its commercial success on the field of play and struggled throughout its first MLS season leading to the early dismissal of popular Icelandic coach Teitur Thordarson.
Following Vancouver Whitecaps' announcement of his decision to return to the UK in the spring of 2012, the London-born Barber was linked to various new roles in English football at Premier League clubs, including a return to Tottenham Hotspur, before surprising some industry observers by accepting the opportunity to join one of the country's most ambitious and progressive clubs, Brighton & Hove Albion of The Football League Championship.
Brighton & Hove Albion FC
On 28 May 2012, it was announced that Barber would be returning to the United Kingdom after more than two years in North America to take up a new role as Chief Executive of Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. on 18 June 2012. Barber joined Brighton & Hove Albion from Vancouver Whitecaps FC where he was Chief Executive Officer.
Barber's role at Brighton has seen him gain first hand experience of The Football League's Championship level for the first time in his career, as well as working in one of the football world's best new venues, the American Express Community Stadium, opened in the summer of 2011. Brighton's ambitious plans include the development of a new training centre and academy facility due to be completed at a cost of over £30 million early in 2014.
On 13 March 2013, Barber announced Brighton & Hove Albion's most valuable ever sponsorship deal when he confirmed in a press conference at Brighton's stadium that American Express had signed a multi-year agreement to be the Club's shirt sponsor for its men's, women's and youth teams. The deal, believed to be worth several millions of pounds to the Championship club, extends American Express's relationship with Albion which started with the US financial services giant's stadium naming rights agreement in 2010.
The American Express deal cemented Brighton & Hove Albion's status as one of the most progressive and dynamic football clubs in the country. American Express has its brand new European headquarters in the city where it employs over 4,000 staff.
In Barber's first season, Brighton recorded their highest league finish for more than 30 years and reached the Championship play-offs with crowds topping 30,000. However, a highly successful season was soured by the acrimonious departure of Uruguayan Manager, Gus Poyet, dismissed by the club for gross misconduct. On 19 July 2013, Brighton confirmed the appointment of former Barcelona star, Oscar Garcia Junyent, as head coach.
On 7 November 2013, Paul Barber was named overall CEO of the Year at the annual Football Business Awards. Barber also received the award for Football League Championship CEO of the Year at the same event at Chelsea FC's Stamford Bridge stadium in London.
Wider business career
Recognized as one of English football's most experienced executives, Barber has spent more than fourteen years in football administration at all levels of the game including time working for The FA at the 2000 European Championships and the 2002 World Cup, Tottenham Hotspur in The Premier League and UEFA Cup, Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Major League Soccer, and Brighton & Hove Albion in The Football League Championship. But, prior to his career working in professional football, Barber also gained wide commercial experience with a number of blue chip multi-national organisations. He held a variety of senior executive and Board level positions in several large British companies including Barclays Bank, Inchcape, Abbey National, Royal & SunAlliance, as well as the US advertising and communications group Ogilvy & Mather, where he was Chief Executive Officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Barber has also spent time serving as a Non-Executive Director for Rose Bowl plc, parent company of Hampshire County Cricket Club, Tottenham Hotspur FC (following his departure for Vancouver), and for Nolan Partners Ltd, a UK-based Sports Executive Search & Recruitment firm, established by The Football Association's former Human Resources Director, Paul Nolan.
Paul Barber is 46 years old. He was born, raised and educated in north London, England. A lifelong Tottenham Hotspur fan, Barber is married with 3 children including a son, currently studying at university in North America, and two younger daughters.
- Gourley, Aaron (30 May 2012). "Brighton Appoint Former Tottenham Director Paul Barber". F.C. Business. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "Football Business Award Winners Announced". www.footballbusinessawards.com (London). 7 November 2013.