BusinessBusiness RecoveryThe corridors of power …

The corridors of power ...

Fans of Chelsea FC are used to the ways of the club's larger-than-life chairman, Ken Bates. But now they have a bean-counter to contend with.

Bates has recruited a new managing director in the shape of Trevor Birch, previously head of Ernst & Young’s northern corporate restructuring office.

It is rare enough for a partner in a Big Five firm to make the leap into the world of commerce. Even more so when the chosen destination is a football club with a mixed record of success.

With a straight face, Birch describes his brief in his old job as ‘specialising in under-performing companies’.

But while Birch, 44, might have given up the cosiness of a partnership, the move is not as strange as it might seem. He began his career as a professional footballer, playing for Liverpool FC, Shrewsbury Town FC and Chester FC. Realising he was never going to become a star, he enrolled at polytechnic, earned a first class degree, then joined Arthur Young in Liverpool.

Birch ultimately ended up reporting to Alan Bloom, although mercifully avoided being dragged into the Railtrack scrum.

In joining Chelsea, his twin interests – football and business – come together. Bates has assembled an impressive collection of assets, including hotels, nightclubs, restaurants, a health club, a travel agency and a television business. Millions have been poured into redeveloping the Stamford Bridge ground.

The location has struggled to shake off its somewhat forlorn reputation.

Birch’s challenge lies in making the venue work harder – sucking in guests and paying customers – to top up revenues from football matches.

Friends might consider Birch to be slightly unhinged in volunteering to work for Chelsea, but he thinks the rewards of getting back to his football roots make it all worthwhile. With football the way it is, he’ll be hoping he doesn’t wake up one morning to find Alan Bloom grilling him about his balance sheet.

  • Jon Ashworth is business features editor at The Times.

Related Articles

Investment firm acquires Avon Steel Company Limited

Business Recovery Investment firm acquires Avon Steel Company Limited

1w Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Manchester law firm enters into administration

Business Recovery Manchester law firm enters into administration

1w Emma Smith, Managing Editor
KPMG appoints new global head of insolvency

Business Recovery KPMG appoints new global head of insolvency

4w Emma Smith, Managing Editor
EY hired by Carillion to review finances

Accounting Firms EY hired by Carillion to review finances

5m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Using insolvency as a debt recovery tool

Business Recovery Using insolvency as a debt recovery tool

6m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
UK government should support mid-sized businesses to create a ‘new economy’ post-Brexit, says BDO report

Business Recovery UK government should support mid-sized businesses to create a ‘new economy’ post-Brexit, says BDO report

8m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Over 800 jobs saved as Endless LLP acquires Jones Bootmaker

Business Recovery Over 800 jobs saved as Endless LLP acquires Jones Bootmaker

9m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
FRP Advisory expands operation with new office, partner appointments

Accounting Firms FRP Advisory expands operation with new office, partner appointments

10m Emma Smith, Managing Editor