Oldham expert creates ground-breaking football finance education programme

Date published: 21 July 2022

A brand-new football finance education programme – the first of its kind in higher education – has been created by locally-based entrepreneur, Neill Wood.

Neill, from Oldham, was formerly the financial controller of City Football Group, where he was responsible for the group’s financial accounting, tax, risk management, payroll, the external reporting for Manchester City Football Club, as well as strategic finance projects for the club and wider group. 

The new online education programme will be launched in August by Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, where Neill studied Sports Science and Maths as an undergraduate.

In recognition of his achievement in developing the course and his expertise in the field, built over a 15-year career in finance, Loughborough University has awarded Neill the honorary title of Visiting Fellow in Sport and Football Finance.

After graduating from Loughborough University in 2006, Neill joined the graduate programme with EY (Ernst & Young) where he qualified as a chartered accountant in 2010.

Upon qualifying, Neill described his dream job as the financial controller of Manchester United or Manchester City, combining his passion for sport and Manchester with his new-found knowledge in finance.

Having been told he would never achieve either goal unless he knew someone at either club, Neill then set out his strategy to build relevant experience in finance and accounting which would position himself, at the right time, to secure his dream job in sport.

He spent seven years consulting with EY, including secondments with RBS, Thomas Cook and Microsoft, initially based in Dublin and then at its head office in Seattle, where he led the global rollout of new accounting software.

In 2015, Neill was recruited by City Football Group to lead the global conversion to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), before gaining promotion to the role he once described as his dream.

The football finance course has been designed to provide delegates with a broad understanding of football finance using first-hand industry experience.

Starting with the basic principles of financial accounting and progressing to the more complex areas, the course allows individuals to build a foundation of practical knowledge of football finance, culminating in a review of UEFA Financial Fair Play.

The programme has been designed with flexibility in mind for the learner, allowing content to be consumed on demand.

Delegates from a broad spectrum of experience, including finance and non-finance specialists, current or former players, agents, or whole football clubs are encouraged to apply.

Professor Mark King, Associate Dean for Enterprise in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, said: "It has been an honour and pleasure to work with alumnus and Visiting Fellow in Sport & Football Finance, Neill Wood on this unique, on-demand digital football finance programme. 

"This programme aligns with our strategy to reach out worldwide to deliver high quality sport related content on a digital platform.”

Neill, who is currently the managing director of George Moss and Sons Ltd, owners of Moss Industrial Estate in Leigh, added: “I am delighted and honoured to be collaborating with the best sporting educational establishment in the world to bring innovative learning opportunities to ambitious sports professionals using the exciting medium of sport.

"Loughborough University was transformational for me personally and professionally and the experience I gained at the University provided the foundations for me to pursue a career combining my passion for sport with a talent for finance.

“Finance is a life-skill I feel privileged to have learned throughout my career.

"Now it's time for me to continue my life-long passion for learning, by teaching others, whilst sharing my experience and giving something back to the University which helped me to achieve my sporting dreams, beyond the pitch."

For more information on the programme and to register interest, click here

The course will be launched at the beginning of August, 2022.

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