Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Karen Brady: The first woman of football

Karen Brady is the managing director of Birmingham City football club. This is a position she has held since 1993. She was 23 then. And no, just in case you were wondering, she wasn't related to anyone who owned the club.

For someone who didn't go to University, so that she could start earning young and learn the ways of professional life, she defintely has achieved enough to show that her 'education' taught her what her 'studies' may not have. She was into advertising when she managed to sell ads worth over 2 million pounds to a single client. The client, John Sullivan hired her and made her a director at his firm. Karen was 20 then.

Then Birmingham FC went for sale and Karen persuaded Sullivan to buy the club and let her run it. From a club in administration, Birmingham was turned to a profit making enterprise in no time and has enjoyed some years in the Premiership in Ms. Brady's 15 year spell in charge. She has faced some controversies as well, being arrested for suspected financial irregularities not so long ago, but no charges were pressed and no further questioning has happened. She has faced the ire of fans, and in her interviews shows an appreciation of the special relationships (and hence say in policy) that fans of a club have.

Now faced with a market where clubs need billions and not millions to compete, she is ready to move on once the future of the club is secured in the hands of a magnate looking to play "My Club is Bigger". All the best to her!

Stories abound about her toughness in a male dominated world and how she has dealt with the challenges. A player once commented that he could see her tits and she replied by telling him that he would not be able to see it from Crewe and got him transferred. Don't think too many players would be getting cute with her anymore.

It's difficult not to admire her. For breaking into a male bastion. For doing a bloody good job of it. For doing it at an age at which B-School tagged 'bright young people' like me are management trainees. For not eating out of a silver spoon.

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