It’s a tough old life being a football manager. You’re constantly having to deal with the antics of millionaire athletes (we’re looking at you, Mario), the board is always giving you their ‘full support’ and the only people who understand your job are your rivals.

But to try and bring together some of the sharpest managerial minds in the world, the League Managers Association (LMA) and Castrol, The Official Performance Partner of the LMA, hosted the inaugural European Managers & Coaches Forum this week.

Inviting a group of high profile British managers and overseas Head Coaches for two days, the European Managers & Coaches Forum was devoted to the sharing of insight and information and discussion of the most important issues affecting football and the modern day Manager.

The Castrol LMA European Managers & Coaches Forum, a landmark and pioneering event was supported and facilitated by Sir Alex Ferguson, a long standing LMA Board Member, and Howard Wilkinson, Chairman of the LMA, and took place at St George’s Park, the new state-of-the-art home of training, education and development for football in England from 13 -15 January 2013.

The aim of the Forum was to create an environment where football’s elite could come together as peers and friends to share their knowledge, experience and future vision for the game through discussion and debate. Together, the collective experience of those in attendance amounted to over 15,000 matches.

The key areas discussed were:

•    Survive, Win, Succeed: the would-be Manager’s climb up the down escalator.  Does the quick route to Managerial qualifications work?
•    Video Technology – How far should it extend and how can it be implemented?
•    Simulation & Dissent – Can it be stopped? How?
•    The Future Game – Playing philosophies in light of key trends within the game
•    Financial Fair Play – Can it work?
•    Winter break

The Forum was also supported by Mike Riley, General Manager of the Professional Game Match Official Ltd (PGMOL), the association for referees, Blake Wooster, Business Development Director, Prozone, and Dan Jones, Lead Partner from Deloitte’s Sport Business Group.

In addition, 20 of The FA’s new UEFA Pro License students embarking on their managerial journey joined football’s elite and Castrol senior executives and guests for a valuable pre-dinner speech from Brigadier Ged Salzano MBE, Commander, Core Maritime Training, who fascinated those present with insights into the key aspects of motivation as related to the serving soldier.

Of the Castrol LMA European Managers & Coaches Forum, Sir Alex Ferguson, Manager of Manchester United said:
“As a Board member of the League Managers Association, I am delighted to be involved with the organisation and presentation of the inaugural Castrol LMA European Managers & Coaches Forum.

The work we undertake at the LMA is extremely important. Within our ranks we have an array of gifted managers both past and present with vast experience and a wealth of knowledge to share. We all have a role to play in helping to develop younger managers who are just starting their careers or indeed trying to get their first step on the managerial ladder. In a wider sense, our collective knowledge can be a real asset to the on-going evolvement of football.

I would like to thank all of the Barclays Premier League Managers and overseas Head Coaches for giving up their valuable time to attend this Forum to help shape the positive development of the game. Hopefully the ideas, views and suggestions shared at this Forum will have an extremely positive impact and be of real value to all of football’s stakeholders.”

With so many ‘hot-topics’ in football at the moment like simulation, dissent and financial fair play, it definitely seems like a good idea to have all the top gaffers in the business getting together on neutral ground to talk it out.

The star of the show? We’d have to give that to Mike Riley – as a former referee he’s obviously made of tough stuff going to an event with this crowd!

Howard Wilkinson, Alex Ferguson, Brendan Rogers, Roy Hodgson and the rest of the managers featured in the video were talking at the Castrol/LMA European Manager’s & Head Coaches Forum 2013.

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