21st December 2014
UCFB Guest Lecturer Profile: Alistair Mackintosh, CEO of Fulham FC
Since taking over as the CEO of Fulham FC in 2008, Alistair Mackintosh has garnered a string of accolades and plaudits.
In just his first season at the club, Alistair helped guide Fulham to a record finish in the Premier League (seventh), which also qualified the club for the following season’s UEFA Europa League. Not only did Fulham qualify for this tournament, but went on to finish runners up, after managing a 4-1 rout of Italian giants Juventus to snatch the two-leg round-16 match 5 – 4. Were it not for the final being a single match played away to Atletico Madrid, Fulham may have been able to take their scorching home form (at ‘Fortress Fulham’) all the way to the title. The final score after extra time was 2 – 1.
Although much of the praise for these record-breaking results can fall at the door of players, coaches and back room staff, Alistair Mackintosh certainly had his part to play. As a successful and renowned chartered accountant, the CEO applied strong financial nous to the equally results-driven world of football.
On this subject, one of Alistair’s most famous quotes was made during his tenure as CEO at Manchester City: “It’s about being within a responsibly run business, of which accountancy is at the forefront.” This was in relation to his regime of managing wages against turnover, meaning that more can be spent the higher a team finishes in the league.
Alistair is not scared of rolling out revolutionary new practices, either. One such scheme that was dubbed “extremely clever” saw Manchester City FC pay a lease to the local council (which owns the Etihad Stadium) based on the number of above-average attendees for each game. Effectively, this 250-year agreement means the club has a leasehold that’s “as good as” a freehold.
That said, Alistair is also unwilling to gamble on business practices he deems irresponsible or unsustainable. A prominent example is his shunning of the Leeds FC approach of investing in long contracts for top talent at top prices, with one eye on constant European football. It was this view which brought about an end to manager Kevin Keegan’s attempts at spending big on players. Similarly, Alistair opted to increase spend on the club’s academy and youth systems, with a view to nurture the next generation of footballing superstars, rather than buy them. It was upon these foundations that many believe the recent Premier League titles were built.
Though recent seasons haven’t been quite so successful on the field for Fulham FC, Alistair Mackintosh remains a key part of the board’s plans to make the club financially stable, sustainable and independent.