|Tom Glick- President & CEO, Derby County Football Club|
|Profile of the week|
Friday, 13 January 2012 10:29
Tom Glick joined Derby County in January 2008 as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining, he served as Chief Marketing Officer for the New Jersey Nets (2006-2008). Prior to that was a two-year stint at the National Basketball Association (2004-2006), working in their league headquarters in New York City, as Vice President, Marketing & Team Business Development.
From 1999-2004, Tom served as Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing of the Sacramento River Cats of the Pacific Coast League, a Triple-A baseball league. The River Cats led all of Minor League Baseball in attendance during his five seasons, drawing more than 800,000 fans each season, and became the Minor League’s top seller of merchandise.
Tom was also the General Manager of two other Minor League Baseball teams, including the record setting Lansing Lugnuts (1996-1999) who were the first Single-A or Double-A team to draw more than 500,000 fans in a season, a feat they went on to repeat in four consecutive seasons.
He is a two-time winner of Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award.
Actually, I didn’t follow it very closely. I think the reason is that I’ve tended to be completely immersed in whatever sport and whatever club I’m working in. So right now, I have a fairly one-track mind on English football. However, I did play until I was sixteen and the English matches would occasionally come on the public broadcasting stations. That was in the 70s when Derby was having a particularly strong run of form and won the two league championships. So from my roots, I loved and played the game, but had really lost touch until we made the decision to join Derby County.
It’s a brilliant sport. I’ve always enjoyed working in sport and have always enjoyed running clubs, but I can’t remember having as much fun as I have this past four years. It’s a privilege to be employed in a sport as dominant, as popular and as important to peoples’ lives and the social fabric of the country as football is in the UK. Specifically, it’s a privilege to be in charge at Derby County knowing how important is to people in Derbyshire and the East Midlands. It’s a proper challenge, because with that level of importance to people’s lives comes expectation.
I’m sure you were aware of the many foreign owners involved in English football. Did you feel you had to do anything special to be an "accepted foreigner"?
The only way to run a club properly is to be hands-on. We answered up front with why we are here and were very honest with the fans. We said: “we’re at Derby because it’s a great club and couldn’t image a better place to be.” Beyond that, we’ve really paid close attention to the history and the tradition. We’ve done a number of things that were perhaps on the shelf with other ownership groups or other boards in terms of memorialising Steve Bloomer, Brian Clough, Peter Taylor and Lionel Pickering. We also did a number of things to re-engage with the former players and to bring them back into the fold.
Customer service has been essential to us in terms of how we treat and engage with the supporters. We have a number of customer service initiatives under the banner of ‘Fans First’ that would speak to both season ticket holders and non-season ticket holders. We’ve also made great strides to connect to the local business community, the regional business community, the city council, the county council and to be an active participant. We’ve have one of the top performing community relation teams of football clubs in the UK and we’ve made sure that that group has everything it needs to continue to make the difference.
When we bought the club in late January, more than half of the Premiership season had gone and the club had seven points so we knew that the club would be going down. Although, we probably thought it would be a bit easier than it was proven to be to get back up.
While it’s been expensive, and the owners have invested quite a bit of working capital within the club, we’ve been able to learn a lot about what it takes to win, develop youth properly, buy and sell players better, and to put a squad together. We’ve made a consistent commitment to our manager, Nigel Clough, who’s been here for three years and we’re now starting to see the benefits of that continuity for him and his coaching staff.
You have to hold your nerve sometimes when you’re convinced that while it maybe a difficult decision, sticking with the plan is the right thing to do. Also, we’re a bit closer to it and can see the work that’s going on behind the scenes that others sometimes can’t see. Overall, we knew that there would always be good and bad times but as long as you’re consistently making progress, making a massive change in terms of the person who’s leading that football side forward has the potential to set you back a long way. We’ve been convinced throughout that we have the right guy, the right people on the case and having that consistent support for him puts us in a position to now start to gather some momentum.