Life and business at the top of the beautiful game

Life and business at the top of the beautiful game

EPISODE 100 with Ipswich Town Football Club legend David Sheepshanks CBE: Life and business at the top of the beautiful game

This is the one hundredth podcast for Mark, after starting Impromptu Business Chat back in May 2020, and to celebrate this milestone, we needed a very special guest, and they don’t get much better than local legend (and Tractor Boy!) David Sheepshanks CBE.

David was Chairman of Ipswich Town Football Club (soccer to our US listeners) during their success in the 90s, including their infamous win over Manchester United, but was also there to witness the fall into relegation out of the Premier League. He chats to Becky and life-long Ipswich Town Football Club fan, Mark, about how he brought a fresh approach of leadership to the club back in the late 80s, which involved revolutionising the approach to staffing, training and even who was playing on the pitch! They chat about how running a football club successfully meant taking a business-like approach; it wasn’t just about putting a ball in the net anymore.

David reminisces about his determination to win back the heart and minds of fans, and the initiatives they brought in to refresh the club and increase footfall to the stands during a dark period performance-wise.

He reflects on their community work and emphasis on youth training and development, some of which was revolutionary at the time, and how he focused on culture change, and improved morale and a sense of comradery throughout all levels at the club, breaking barriers and focusing in on a ‘customer is king’ approach across the board.

David also discusses his time in the FA (Football Association) and his work on St George’s Park, a new and visionary football centre, created to host a new generation of coaches who could grow with the changing world of football.

This episode is not to be missed, not just for football fans, but for those seeking to learn what it really takes to win at any top level. “Buildings don’t win tournaments; environments and people do.”

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Show notes:


The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

Good to Great – Jim Collins

Turn the Ship Around – David Marquet

Matthew Syed – Rebel Ideas

Radical Candor – Kim Scott


Podcast Sir Michael Barber: Accomplishment


YouTube Clip ‘ Greatness’ David Marquet

© Larking Gowen LLP

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