Maheta began his professional football career in 2001 at Atletico Madrid. In 2004, he signed in England with Brighton and Hove Albion, which was followed by spells at Lincoln City, Oldham Athletic and AFC Wrexham.
This playing experience, combined with Maheta's career as a labour lawyer, gives him a unique perspective on all levels of football and makes him well placed to understand the role of the union.
Fluent in English, Spanish, French, Italian and German, Maheta was twice named one of the best sports lawyers in Spain by international rankings company Chambers and Partners.
During periods at law firm Baker McKenzie and as legal counsel at Atletico Madrid, Maheta worked on representation agreements, contract and transfer negotiations for the games’ global stars, including Toby Alderweireld, Antoine Griezmann and Mesut Özil.
In 2016, Maheta was appointed as CEO of RCD Mallorca following a takeover by former NBA star Steve Nash, and Phoenix Suns’ owner, Robert Sarver.
In July 2021, Maheta formally started in role as Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers' Association.
Patrick Coyle - Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Patrick has almost a decade of experience working in operational, commercial and finance roles at Manchester United, most recently as Chief of Staff to the CEO of Media.
In his time at Manchester United he played a major part in the innovation and growth of the club’s digital channels, overseeing and co-ordinating teams around the delivery of a number of significant strategic business projects.
Before joining Manchester United, Patrick worked at Keoghs LLP within Finance & Business Planning roles.
He studied at the University of Manchester gaining a BSc (Hons) degree in Business Management. Patrick is also a qualified Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA, CGMA).
As PFA COO, Patrick is responsible for providing internal leadership to key departments at the PFA and driving operational efficiency, effective business change and strategic planning activities. As well as looking after governance, change management, operations, technology, safe-guarding, estates and resources and risk management.
Louise Pearson, PFA Office Manager.
Louise is Office Manager for the PFA and has held the position since 1992 when she moved from the Community Programme where she worked in Finance at the Head Office.
Louise oversees the smooth running of the PFA offices in addition to other administrative duties including payroll, staff pensions and benefits, insurances, PFA memorabilia and Health & Safety . Louise is also involved in the organisation of the PFA Annual Awards Dinner.
Carol Hicks, Office Administrator (London).
Carol has worked at the PFA since November 1984, joining the union when it employed just 8 staff! For over 20 years Carol worked as PA to Gordon Taylor, and has seen the PFA grow from strength to strength in that time. She has a vast knowledge of our union, and how it functions at all levels.
Since 2010 Carol has worked in the London offices of the PFA on a part-time basis, and currently holds the position of Office Manager, primarily working on the Delegate Liaison team and on the medical side through the PFA’s Accident Insurance Fund.
Gemma Davies, PA to the Deputy Chief Executive (London).
Gemma joined the PFA in February 2005 after completing a work placement with the organisation in 2004. She initially started out as a Junior Administrator and has progressed to becoming PA to the Deputy Chief Executive in London. Gemma provides admin support for the Equalities, Coaching, General and Education departments and also organises meetings and travel arrangements.
Victoria White, PA to Delegate Liaison, Benevolent Grant Administrator.
Vicky joined the PFA in February 2010. She started out at the front desk in the main Manchester office which is often the first point of contact for both visitors and incoming calls.
Vicky has since progressed to become PA to Delegate Liaison providing administration support on the medical side through the PFA’s Accident Insurance Fund. In addition Vicky also works on the administration of the PFA’s Benevolent Fund, processing members’ applications.
Chris Joslin, IT administrator.
Chris initially worked for PFA Enterprises in the London office, he joined the commercial team in April 2001.
Chris oversaw the launch of Masters Indoor Football events, Chris now heads up the Press Association ‘Football Live’ service, a project which gives job opportunities to approximately 150 former professional players.
Chris now has responsibility for IT and Health and Safety in London.
Dawn Astle is a prominent campaigner for better safety in football after the death of her father, former West Bromwich Albion and England centre forward Jeff Astle at the age of 59 due to the repeated heading of footballs during his playing career.
Dawn and her family set up The Jeff Astle Foundation in 2014 to raise awareness of brain injury in sport, to support former players and their families and to work with governing bodies to deliver research into the links between football, traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative diseases.
The PFA contacted Dawn in November 2020 to help the players’ union improve the service they provide to their members. Plus, to advice on how to more effectively use the organisation’s voice to push the wider industry to tackle the growing issue of Neurodegenerative Disease in football.
Since January 2021, alongside fellow campaigner Rachel Walden, Dawn has been advising the PFA on setting up the new dedicated Brain Health department, providing improved support and advice to former members and their families, and pushing for the creation of an industry fund to provide care for former players living with dementia or other neurodegenerative diseases.
Rachel has been advising the PFA since January 2021 along with Dawn Astle in relation to supporting former players living with a neurodegenerative illness such as Dementia, Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone Disease.
Rachel is the daughter of Rod Taylor, former Portsmouth, Gillingham and Bournemouth wing half, who passed away with dementia in 2018 and was later found to have been suffering with Chronic Traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Rachel has been a long term supporter of Dawn Astle, daughter of Jeff Astle and they have worked together jointly through The Jeff Astle Foundation raising awareness of traumatic brain injury in contact sports and supporting families.
Previously Rachel has worked as an Executive Assistant at IBM, the Civil Service as well as serving in the Royal Navy.
Football career began at Manchester United FC as an apprentice then professional player. Returned as an executive manager and coach during the Sir Alex Ferguson era for 22 years with responsibilities for many areas.
Professional football has been my working life throughout before working in a centre for adults with specialised needs including dementia and autism. Personal experience of caring for family members with high level dementia and associated illnesses.
Alejandro Cardenas brings impressive skills and experience to the role of Business School Director, having previously collaborated with LaLiga to develop the Executive Education Program for Players and Athletes, and then with LaLiga Business School to develop the first edition of the full-time Sport MBA. In these roles he worked with a wide range of international footballers.
Cardenas has more than 15 years’ experience in the management of some of the world’s most renowned Business and Law Schools and has collaborated with institutions such as Harvard, MIT Professional Education and the LSE on the development of training programmes. He has also worked with a range of major international brands.
He holds a degree in Business Administration and Management, and an Executive MBA. He is currently completing a PhD at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Jim Hicks, Head of Coaching.
A former professional footballer at Fulham, Exeter City, Oxford United and Washington Stars Soccer Team in the US, Jim Hicks has been Head of Coaching at the Professional Footballers’ Association since 2006.
With an MSc in Sports Coaching, a US Soccer Federation A Licence and an FA Pro Licence as well as numerous other coaching qualifications and a wealth of experience, Jim has been involved in Coach Education since the early 1980’s.
A true student of the game Jim is one of the most highly regarded Coach Educators in the country, he delivers the L2 CCF, UEFA B, A Licence, GTT and FA Youth Awards Modules 1-2 in London and regionally across the country.
Jim also represents the PFA on the Elite Player and Coach Development panel.
Julian Hayes, Coaching Office Manager.
After an early career in Research and Development, Julian Hayes joined the Community Programme in Professional Football in 1992. By 1997 Julian was working for the PFA Coaching Department helping manage the national programme of L2 CCF and UEFA B courses for scholars and members, and servicing the needs of the key stakeholders at the Football Association, Premier League, Football League and 1st4Sport Qualifications.
After gaining a degree in Sports Journalism in 2010 Julian has contributed to the PFA in-house media output.
Stephanie Lunn, Coaching Administrator.
After 11 years as an Administrative Assistant at the Community Programme in Professional Football, Stephanie Lunn joined the PFA Education and Community Department, dealing with grant applications, updating statistics, collating and editing information and articles for the in-house magazine and website.
Since 2010 Stephanie has worked for the PFA Coaching Department administrating the delivery of L2 CCF, UEFA B and Youth Award Module 1-2 qualifications.
Neil Bailey, PFA Regional Coach Educator (North West).
He played professionally for Burnley, Newport County, Stockport County and Blackpool before joining Stockport as a Youth Team Coach.
His career then took him to Blackpool, Manchester United as Youth Team Coach and onto Sunderland where he worked with the first team.
He has worked with the England U19 Team in UEFA Finals.
Neil Bailey joined the PFA as a Regional Coach Educator in the North West in 2010 and can deliver the L2 CCF, UEFA B, A Licence and Youth Awards Module 1-2.
Andy Barlow, PFA Regional Coach Educator (Yorkshire).
Andy Barlow commenced work as a Regional Coach for the PFA in February 2000 following a 15 year playing career which took him from Oldham Athletic to Bradford City, Blackpool to Rochdale.
He played in all 4 divisions including (both the old Division One and the Premier League) and appeared in a League Cup Final.
He has had a varied coaching background from grass roots to college teams, Professional Academy to First Team level to underpin his delivery of the L2 CCF, UEFA B, A Licence and GTT as the PFA Regional Coach Educator in Yorkshire.
Andy also represents the PFA on the Elite Coaches Panel.
Brian Borrows, Regional Coach Educator (East Midlands)
A seasoned defender, he played in 706 games in a career which took him from Everton to Bolton Wanderers, Coventry City, Bristol City, Swindon Town and also an England B International.
A former Assistant Academy Manager at Coventry City and Derby County, Brian Borrows has been heavily involved in player development and coach education for the last 12 years, and can deliver the L2 CCF, UEFA B and A Licence Courses.
Brian joined the PFA as their Regional Coach Educator in the East Midlands in 2009.
Mike Cook, PFA Regional Coach Educator (South West).
He started his playing career at Coventry City and was a member it’s FA Youth Cup winning side before moving onto Cambridge United in 1990.
In 1992 his career was cut short by an overuse spinal injury so he moved into a coaching career starting at Cambridge United before moving to Cheltenham Town Community Programme.
He has delivered coaching programmes for the PFA and FA before joining the PFA Coaching Staff in 2010.
Mike delivers L2 CCF and UEFA B Courses as the PFA Regional Coach Educator in the South West.
Mark Jules joined Bradford City as an apprentice in 1988 where he stayed for 3 years before moving onto play for Scarborough, Chesterfield and Halifax Town. He spent most of his career at Chesterfield where the highlight was the epic 3-3 draw against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford in the 1997 FA Cup Semi-Final.
He spent 12 years at Chesterfield Football Club as Centre of Excellence Manager and Head of Coach Development.
Mark currently holds the FA 'A' Licence and is working towards his L2 CCF Tutor Status.
Geoff Lomax, Regional Coach Educator (North West).
Geoff Lomax joined Manchester City as an apprentice in 1980 and stayed for five years before moving onto Wolverhampton Wanderers.
His playing career then took him to Carlisle United and Rochdale before injury finished his career.
Geoff has coached teams from U8’s to U18’s at Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers and Rochdale and has been a qualified Coach Educator since 2003, and joined the PFA Coaching Department in 2007.
Geoff Lomax delivers the L2 CCF, UEFA B and Youth Award Modules 1-2 for the PFA in the North West.
Louise Newstead, PFA Regional Coach Educator (South East).
Louise is a former England women’s international with 39 caps, she was a member of the England squad for the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup Finals.
She played 540 games for Millwall Lionesses winning both the Premier League Cup and the FA Cup with the club. She went on to become coach, development officer, secretary and chairperson at Millwall.
Louise also spent time playing professionally for HJK in Finland.
Iain Sankey, Regional Coach Educator (West Midlands).
Former England Schoolboy International who also represented England at Youth level before signing for Ipswich Town. He then played for Walsall before finishing his career at Telford United where he played in two FA Trophy Finals.
He has been Centre of Excellence Manager at Shrewsbury Town and was employed as the Football League Development Officer for Telford and Wrekin Borough Council.
Iain has been a PFA Coach Educator for the West Midlands since 2011 and has been qualified to deliver L2 CCF and UEFA B Courses since 2002.
Former striker Stephen Torpey began his career at Millwall going on to play for several other clubs including Bradford City, Swansea City and Bristol City.
In 2000 he moved to Scunthorpe United as their then record transfer signing. He broke the ten-goal barrier in each of his first five seasons at Scunthorpe and represented the club over 250 times.
Stephen went on to become the Assistant Manager at York City, twice managing the team as a caretaker.
George Berry, Commercial Director (North).
George is a former professional footballer who began his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers as an apprentice in April 1974, signing his first professional contract on his 18th birthday. During his spell at Wolves he won the Fans' Player of the Year Award in 1979 and was part of the 1980 League Cup winning team beating reigning European champions Nottingham Forest 1-0 in the Final.
George left Molinuex in 1982 joining Midland rivals Stoke City, he went on to make 237 league appearances at the Potters and was honoured to be voted Stoke City's all-time cult hero by the fans ahead of legends Dennis Smith and Mark Stein.
George went on to play with Peterborough United (scoring a last day equaliser securing the club promotion to the old Third Division). He subsequently had spells at Preston North End and Aldershot before joining Stafford Rangers in the Conference League. George also has five international caps having represented Wales, making his debut against West Germany in 1979.
As a player George was a PFA Delegate and a member of the Management Committee. After retirement George worked for four years working as the Commercial Executive at Stafford Rangers, before joining the PFA full time in the Association’s commercial department.
George is currently Head of Manchester’s Commercial office.
Colin Hill, Commercial Director (South).
Colin is a former Professional Footballer who had 18 years in the game with Arsenal , SC Maritimo (Portugal), Colchester United, Sheffield United, Leicester City, Trelleborg FC (Sweden), Northampton Town & Northern Ireland (28 caps) during the 1980s and 1990s.
After retiring Colin spent 10 years working in the Commercial and Hospitality sector for Leicester City FC, The Q Group and most recently the THA Group, where he helped to set up and successfully run their hospitality department for five years building up a network of hospitality clients that included Jewson, St Gobain, Royal Bank of Scotland, Honda & BT.
Kimberley joined the PFA in 2021 and is originally from Amsterdam (The Netherlands) where she has played volleyball professionally.
Kim has studied International Business Administration in Amsterdam and did her Master Sport Business and Management at the University of Liverpool.
She has worked at several professional football clubs such as AFC Ajax, Everton and Liverpool in different roles such as Project Management, Marketing, Administration, and Hospitality.
Kimberley oversees the day-to-day operations for PFA’s commercial partnerships, business development as well as working closely together with the communications team on the several PFA Awards projects.
Claire Burrows, Administrator.
Claire Burrows has been working as a Secretary in the PFA Enterprises Commercial Department since 2007, supporting Christian Smith (Commercial Director) and the other Commercial Executives. She is the first point of contact for Business Partnership enquiries and Players requests regarding Commercial offers.
Ben Wright - Director of External Affairs
Ben joined the PFA in 2022 having worked with a range of global brands and leading sports organisations in senior in-house and consultancy roles. He previously served as the Head of Communications at the professional cycling team, Team Sky (now known as INEOS Grenadiers).
With an academic and professional background in politics and policy, Ben works with teams right across the PFA with responsibility for overseeing the union’s strategic communications and managing our stakeholder engagement.
Ben Simpson, Head of Digital Communications.
As a former scholar and young professional player at Port Vale FC, with the assistance of PFA, Ben studied for A-Levels whilst at the club and having missed out on a permanent career within professional football, pursued further education at university. After a brief spell working in London, he took the opportunity to join the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) in 2006.
Ben is responsible for the management and on-going development of the PFA’s digital infrastructure which includes: The PFA’s player database, digital communication with the 50,000 strong membership, the PFA's social media output and the Association’s website.
Holly Gartside, Digital Comms Assistant
Holly studied for an undergraduate degree in Sports Management at Loughborough University and following this, completed a postgraduate Masters degree in Broadcast Journalism at The University of Sheffield.
Before joining The PFA Holly worked within sports media for ITV Sport as a post-match reporter and has freelance experience at Sky Sports New, MUTV and LFCTV.
Dave Palmer, Community Liaison Executive (South).
Dave was a young professional at Wrexham Football Club during the late 1970s.
He then moved into a role as Football Development Manager working in partnership with a number of local authorities, The FA and Sport England. In 1991 he took up a position as the South East Regional Director for the National Football in the Community Programme working closely with Chief Executives at Premier League and Football League Clubs.
Dave subsequently joined the PFA as a Community Liaison Executive for the South which involves working with various personnel at 36 Football League clubs, advising on and monitoring player engagement within the local community. He also represents the PFA on various committees and acts as our key point of contact for a number of our national charity partners.
Terry has joined the PFA as Community Equalities Executive and brings a wealth of experience from his time working within the Youth Justice System and also Connexions Service which included advice and guidance to those at risk of disaffection and involvement in community diversity programmes.
As a player Terry played made over 350 league appearances playing for Northampton Town, Fulham, Slough Town and Nuneaton Borough.
Terry works closely with football clubs and community departments to ensure players are supported and represented for social responsibility projects and programmes which is a key part of PFA work.
He is also driving forward data collation to ensure the statistical information that we have can be used to effect positive change. He supports the diversity and inclusion programme that the PFA are driving forward and considers the work that the union does in this regard key.
He will also support the Senior Player Diversity Programme and encourage and support players to speak out against discrimination in the workplace. “I am passionate about equality and eager to ensure players can utilise the support of their union in all aspects of their playing career both on and off the pitch.”
Shane Birtles, Education Advisor.
Shane is a former Apprentice Footballer with Huddersfield Town FC and joined the PFA in 2012 as a Finance Officer on the Union Learning Fund project. Shane gained a BA in Sports Management from The University of Northern Denmark and is now undertaking the ACCA Qualification. He is also a qualified Talented Athlete Lifestyle Support Advisor and holds a Level 2 Certificate in Counselling.
His role now involves providing information, advice and guidance to help current and former players make decisions on learning, training and work to prepare for life after professional football. Shane also works closely with the community department and provides administrative support.
Pat Lally, Director of Education.
Pat is a former Professional Footballer with Millwall, York City, Swansea City and Doncaster Rovers making his first team debut for Millwall in 1969. Pat also had two years at Burton Albion before retiring from the game in 1985.
While playing part time for Burton Albion he applied for the position of Assistant Education Officer at the PFA. Having been appointed to the role he was instrumental in introducing the YTS programme into professional Football in 1983 and has been involved in the development of the Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence Programme (ASE) that is currently deliverd to the majority of 16-18 year olds entering football.
Pat is now Director of Education and a Senior Executive for the Professional Footballers Association (PFA). His role involves providing Information, Guidance and Advice to current and former members of the PFA to ensure that they prepare for Life After Football.
He represents the PFA on number of committees, including Premier League Education, League Football Education and the Professional Players Federation Education forum whilst also providing support for the other areas of work undertaken by the union.
Oshor Williams, Assistant Director of Education.
Oshor is a former Professional Footballer whose clubs include Southampton, Stockport County, Port Vale and Preston North End. After retiring through injury in 1989 he assumed the role of Community Development Officer with Preston North End during which time the club won national awards for the work undertaken by Oshor and his team. After enjoying a brief spell in coaching and management he returned to full time study gaining a BA Honours in Politics and History from University of Salford and went on to teach in the Further Education Sector before joining the PFA in 1996.
As PFA Assistant Director of Education, his role is to ensure that both current and former members have access to education, training and personal development opportunities in preparation for life after football. Oshor is also active within the wider Trade Union movement serving as a member of the Executive Committee of the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU). In 2019 he became the first BME President of the GFTU in its 120 year history.
Jason is the Equalities Education Executive for the PFA and is a key member of the team.
During his playing career, Jason amassed over 650 appearances and played for 18 clubs including: Nottingham Forest, Charlton Athletic, Peterborough United, Southend United, Watford and Notts County.
His remit at the PFA is to ensure players are aware of the services of the union and in particular of the opportunities and importance of education both during and after a players career.
The Equalities remit is to ensure that black, Asian and players from minority ethnic backgrounds are accessing our courses and to provide a pathway to future opportunities in the game from coaching and managing to administrative and Board level.
As a former player Jason understands the importance of the transitional process that every player goes through and wants to help players experiencing this difficult stage: “As someone who has been through the system and played at a high level I can let players know the reality of the situation when they come out of the bubble that is professional football”.
Jason will also support any player wishing to report discriminatory incidents and ensure the procedures are relayed back to a player on a personal level.
Paul Raven, Education Executive.
With an MBA (distinction) in leadership, two post graduate diplomas, an Open University degree, relevant further qualifications in talented athlete lifestyle support (TALS), governance, counselling, mental health awareness and an accredited psychometric practitioner, Paul is a strong advocate for lifelong learning and continual professional development.
Paul enjoyed a long professional playing career including eleven years at West Bromwich Albion where his service was recognised and rewarded with a testimonial season. He also served Doncaster Rovers, Grimsby Town, Rotherham United and Carlisle United.
Commercial roles in the sportswear industry followed football before returning to the PFA to support the education department and utilise football, education, commercial experience and expertise.
Paul has a long association with the union as a member, delegate and six years with the Executive Management Committee. He is an original member of the FA’s independent judicial panel and Chairperson for the Professional Players’ Federation (PPF) education committee.
Tom is a former professional footballer for clubs including Manchester City, Swansea City and The New Saints fc (Wales). In addition, he has represented The Republic of Ireland from the u17’s up to the u21’s. He has gained a BSc honours degree in Professional Sports Writing & Broadcasting, as well as his UEFA B Licence. Currently he’s completing a Masters in Football Business and the UEFA A Licence coaching course.
In June 2022 Tom joined the education team as an administrator . His role is to provide support in processing grants and bursaries , as well as offering general assistance.
Simone Pound, Head of Equalities.
Simone joined the PFA in 2000 when Fulham Ladies became the first Professional women’s team and members of the Professional Footballers Association.
Simone had a background in magazine publishing working on sponsorship and promotional campaigns for brands including Nike, Umbro and Adidas. Starting in the Commercial Department of the PFA Simone sourced sponsorship deals for young players from the British School of Motoring, EA Sports and Match Magazine.
Now Head of Equality and Diversity for the PFA, a role which includes liaising with all departments of the PFA including Coaching, Education and Community to ensure cohesive policies are integral throughout the Association.
Simone also works externally with our anti-discrimination campaigns and other key football stakeholders including the FA and Premier League and has been instrumental in developing the Diversity Awareness Programme which was cited by Ofsted as Outstanding. Simone has also worked to develop an Anti-Bullying Workshop at Football Academies which is delivered to young players, their coaches and their parents.
Simone represents the PFA on a number of Boards and Committee’s including the FA Women’s Committee, General Federation of Trade Unions Executive Committee and is a Trustee and Chair of Finance and Staffing for the Kick It Out campaign.
Fabrice Muamba, Player Services Executive
Fabrice is based in the Manchester office works alongside Simon Barker and Ritchie Humphreys.
Fabrice began his career in 2002 at Arsenal’s Youth Academy. Following a loan spell with Birmingham City, he made the move permanent in 2007 making over 70 appearances.
In 2008 Fabrice joined Bolton Wanderers, going on to make 130 appearances for the club.
In March 2012, Fabrice suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur. He announced his retirement from professional football in August 2012.
Muamba studied for a BA in Sports Journalism at Staffordshire University, graduating with honours from the PFA supported course.
Riz Rehman is a former professional footballer who played for Brentford FC. After leaving the game, Riz gained a First-Class degree in Sports Science from Kingston University and embarked on his coaching qualifications with the PFA, currently holding a UEFA B License.
Riz is also qualified to work in the post-16 sector and is trained in Talented Athlete Lifestyle Support. He is part of the Education Department at the PFA and works on the Unionlearn 'Achievement Through Sport' project that extends the learning, training and educational provision for its members.
Furthermore, Riz works closely with several football clubs and their community trusts supporting the acquisition of skills for employment and education at all levels, while promoting inclusion, equality and community cohesion with a targeted approach to those learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Riz is currently Chair of the Surrey FA’s ‘Inclusion Advisory Group’ (since 2019), a director at the Zesh Rehman Foundation (2011-present), and on the Advisory Group for the Premier Leagues flagship ‘Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme’ (2015-present).
Fern Whelan, Women’s Football EDI Executive.
Fern enjoyed a playing career, as a defender, spanning over 15 years. She represented England at all age groups including senior level and played domestically for Everton, Notts County and Brighton & Hove Albion FC. Fern’s achievements include FA Young Player of the Year, FA Cup & League Cup winner and Women’s Champions League ¼ finalist.
Fern has joined the PFA following her retirement in 2020. She will be an integral part of the Women’s Football and Equalities teams working closely with the Head of Women’s Football and the Director of EDI. She will work alongside all PFA departments drawing from her own personal experiences as a player, chartered physiotherapist and media personality.
Fern will ensure that players are aware of the services that the union offers and will have a specific role in liaising with the female professional players on a regular basis. She is passionate about continuing to support the rapid growth of the women’s professional game in England. Fern is committed to ensuring that role models from the WSL and Lionesses are from diverse backgrounds and believes strongly that this starts at grassroots level, guaranteeing that every player, no matter their background, has equal access and opportunities to thrive.
As a former and recently retired player, Fern is also keen to ensure that players are continually preparing for life after football and exploring other personal interests throughout their careers as people and not just footballers. “I have benefited massively from the help of the PFA during my career and have utilised their support for education, mental wellbeing and injury care, this was vital in ensuring my transition out of the game was a smooth one.”
Philip Baylis – Commercial Executive.
Having joined Crewe Alexandra as a 9 Year old, Phil progressed through the Youth and Reserve Teams until being released at the age of 20 after having completed his Scholarship.
After being released by Crewe, Phil joined the PFA on a full time basis working in the Education Department and continued to play in non-league football. He then progressed into the IT Department before moving to his current role as an Executive in the Commercial Department.
Since joining the PFA in 2001, Phil has worked full-time but he also studied part time at university. This culminated in Phil attaining a Degree in BA (Hons) Business Studies followed by a Masters Degree in MSc Finance and Business. Continuing his studies in the finance stream, Phil also undertook the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification, which he completed to become a Chartered Management Accountant in March 2013.
As Commercial Executive, Phil works with a number of commercial partners with particular focus on the sportswear partnership between the PFA and Pro-Direct Soccer. This also involves liaising with players and teams at all levels of the game from Professional, Semi-Professional, College, School and Sunday teams to Junior football teams. Phil was also involved in helping to facilitate the Junior Kit Scheme which, as a joint initiative with the Premier League, provided kits to less privileged children and teams across the country.
Tracey Parkinson, Finance Assistant.
After studying at Fielding Park and South Trafford Colleges, Tracey began her career 26 years ago working for the Football in the Community Scheme as a secretary carrying out various duties such as shorthand, typing, filing, answering the phone and reception work.
Tracey then joined the PFA seven years ago as an administration assistant. For the first four years Tracey had shared responsibilities working equally between two departments, the Coaching Department and Finance Department.
During her time with the Coaching Department, she carried out various secretarial duties alongside Julian Hayes, the Office Manager of the Coaching Department.
Whilst in the Finance Department, Tracey helped out with filing and general inputting of invoices for Jenny Baron, the Trainee Accountant and Darren Wilson, the Director of Finance.
In 2009, when a full time position became available in the Finance Department due to increased volume of work, Tracey decided that she wanted to develop her career further in finance and joined the team on a full time basis.
Tracey is involved in many aspects of the Finance Team’s daily responsibilities, including Reconciliation of Supplier Statements and Preparation of the Bi-Monthly Payment Run, Liaising with External Third Party Suppliers, Compiling Bespoke Reports for the Director of Finance, Management of Cash Expenditure, Processing, Maintaining and Filing of all Purchase Invoices, Management of Credit Card Expenditure and Inputting Bank Transactions onto Sage and Liaising with the Bank over Queries.
James King – General Counsel
James joined Magic Circle law firm Linklaters LLP in 2008 and qualified into the Employment & Incentives team in 2010 having completed his training.
With a deep passion for football, James moved to Mishcon de Reya LLP in 2011 to help establish the Sports Group. He continued his employment law focus at Mishcon, acting for a wide range of clients: players, agents, managers, coaching staff and clubs, both in the UK and internationally, in the men’s and women’s game. During his time at Mishcon, James was promoted to Managing Associate and obtained a Post Graduate Certificate in Sports Law from De Montfort University, a course run in partnership with the British Association for Sport and the Law (BASL). He provided pro bono advice to Women In Football and was seconded to Cardiff City Football Club as Legal Counsel for their 2013/14 Season campaign in the Premier League.
In 2016, James joined Arsenal Football Club as a Commercial Lawyer. In the first two years of his time at the London club, he supported Partnerships, Business Development, Retail, Marketing, Premium Sales, Ticketing and Community. He then moved over to join the Football Operations side of the club where he worked on all footballing matters at London Colney and Hale End for four years. In 2020, James was made Senior Legal Counsel and subsequently headed the Football Operations legal unit, working with the Men’s First Team, Men’s Academy, Women’s First Team and Women’s Academy. He was also a club representative on The FA’s Legal & Governance group for Women’s football.
In May 2022, James started in his role as General Counsel of the Professional Footballers' Association.
Nick Cusack – Director of Football Legal Affairs
Nick joined Leicester City in 1987 after leaving university and graduating in politics. He was a professional footballer for 15 years making 535 league appearances and scoring 90 goals, playing for Leicester City, Peterborough United, Motherwell, Darlington, Oxford United, Wycombe Wanderers (loan), Fulham and Swansea City.
Nick was a member of Motherwell’s 1990 Scottish Cup winning squad. He also captained Swansea City to the Division 3 championship in 2000 and as Vice Captain played in every game but one in Fulham’s promotion season 1996/1997.
Nick served as a PFA Delegate, was a member of the PFA Management Committee and became PFA Chairman during his playing career. Nick also had a brief spell as player manager at Swansea City and after his retirement in 2002 he joined the PFA as a full-time Executive.
Nick became a qualified financial adviser and initially worked in the PFA’s Financial Management Department before moving across to the PFA Delegate Liaison Department in 2007.
Nick holds the position of Deputy in London and has responsibility for the PFA’s political work as well as having extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with clubs in Administration.
Nick is the PFA lead in dealings with the Premier League and also specialises in representing players at FA Disciplinary Hearings as well as internal disciplinary meetings at clubs. Nick sits as a panel member on Compensation Tribunals and Work Permit Hearings and is a member of the Premier League Medical Care Committee. Nick is also a member of the TUC General Council following recent elections at Conference.
In addition to his Degree in Politics, Nick has a Degree in Law and has recently completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Studies (LPC) gaining a Distinction. Nick also holds the Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies (DMS). He is an FA Licensed Players’ Agent and also holds the UEFA ‘A’ License Coaching Badge.
Simon Barker, Director of Player Services.
Simon embarked on a career as a professional footballer in 1981 at Blackburn Rovers where he appeared in 213 league and cup matches and scored 41 goals. During this period with the club he earned a winners medal in the Full Members Cup Final, and was capped four times when playing for England U-21’s and in 1988 was transferred for a then club record fee of £400,000 to First Division, Queens Park Rangers.
Simon played with distinction at QPR for 10 years in the top flight of professional football and after appearing in 376 league and cup matches and scoring 41 goals he stands eleventh in the club’s list of record appearance holders. He earned a well deserved testimonial in his final year with the club before joining Port Vale in 1998 for a short spell, appearing 35 times and scoring 2 goals..
Simon retired from professional football through injury in 1999 at the ripe old age of 35. His professional career spanned 19 years, and he appeared in a total of 624 competitive matches and scored 84 goals.
Simon had performed the PFA Delegate role at all his professional clubs and was a member of the PFA’s Management Committee for 5 years. It therefore seemed a logical progression to join the PFA on a full time basis and this he did in 2000 after retiring from playing.
In his role as Director of Players Services at the PFA, Simon manages contractual, regulation and disciplinary issues between players, clubs and governing bodies, and educates and assists members on issues that affect their careers such as anti-doping, betting, discipline, agents, pensions, insurance and retraining.
He is also a Trustee of the Professional Footballers’ Pension Scheme and National Football Museum in addition he is a Director of the Professional Players Federation and Sports Dispute Resolution Panel.
Paul Allen, Player Services Executive
Paul made his debut for West Ham United just 32 days after his 17th birthday. His appearance for West Ham against Arsenal in the1980 FA Cup Final made him the youngest player to appear in the final at Wembley Stadium. Paul made 152 league appearances for the east London club and whilst at the Hammers he went on to collect a Second Division title medal and helped re-establish them as a top flight side.
In June 1985 he secured a move to White Hart Lane with Tottenham paying a £400,000 transfer fee for his services. He appeared in a further two FA Cup finals for Tottenham Hotspur, on the losing side in 1987 but victorious in 1991. Over an eight year period with Spurs, he played 297 league games and scored 23 goals. He was voted player of the year for the 1992-93 season (his final full season at White Hart Lane).
In the 1993/1994 campaign a half a million pound deal took him to fellow Premier League club Southampton, making 43 appearances for the club. Before his retirement Paul played for Stoke City, Bristol City and finally Millwall.
After hanging up his boots, Paul joined the PFA as a full time Executive in 2001 initially working on the PA Sport Football live project, The Masters of Britain seven-a-side Football series, and the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens Tournament all co-ordinated from the commercial offices in London.
Paul currently works in the Player Services Department and co-ordinates with delegates at the clubs ensuring that members are aware of the support, guidance and unique benefits that the PFA can provide. In addition he also represents the Premier league on the Professional Game Match Officials project as a Match Delegate.
Ritchie Humphreys, Player Services Executive
A former PFA Chairman and Sheffield Wednesday, Cambridge United, Hartlepool United and Chesterfield player, provides direct support for players seeking advice with all aspects of their career.
Ritchie is based in the Manchester office alongside Simon Barker and Fabrice Muamba.
Ritchie began his career with Premier League side Sheffield Wednesday in 1996. He left the club in 2001 and joined Cambridge United for a short period, after which he joined Hartlepool United.
In 12 seasons with Hartlepool he made a club record 544 appearances, and picked up numerous club awards. He was named on the PFA Team of the Year twice.
He left Hartlepool in July 2013, and moved to Chesterfield where he helped the club to the League Two title in 2013–14. He retired from football in 2017.
Scott McGleish, Player Services Executive
Scott is based in the London office works alongside Paul Allen.
Scott began his career in 1993 at Edgeware Town. He went on to play for a number of clubs including Leyton Orient, Colchester United and Northampton Town.
Dr. Michael Bennett, Director of Player Wellbeing.
Michael is a former professional footballer having played for Charlton, Wimbledon, Brentford, Millwall, Brighton and England under 20’s.
After retiring from the game, Michael qualified as a psychotherapist and counsellor. He applied his skills and experience working with schools and local communities to provide counselling and mentoring support for young people with behavioural issues.
Michael set up Unique Sports Counselling and worked with professionals from across the sporting world. He has worked tirelessly to elevate the profile of mental health and wellbeing in football and the wider sports arena.
On joining the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) Michael initially worked as an Education Officer, raising the awareness of current and former players to the importance of education and vocational training; encouraging and supporting them to embrace learning opportunities.
Recognising that players had very limited access to emotional/wellbeing support. Michael was appointed to the position of Director of Player Welfare in 2011 and heads up the department that offers mental health/wellbeing and emotional support to current and former professional footballers.
He devised and implemented the PFA’s Welfare strategy which includes:
Michael has been at the forefront of highlighting issues relating to professional footballers’ often obscured mental health issues. He is widely recognised as an ambassador and expert in this area.
He is currently a panel member for a number of Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Strategy Groups.
Michael is currently studying for his PHD in Mental Health within Football.
George Bowyer, Independent Registration Service Advisor.
George is a former Apprentice Footballer with Rochdale Football Club, captaining both the Youth and Reserves teams. In his first year as an apprentice he made his competitive senior debut in the last game of the season in 2008. In his second year at Rochdale, George was nominated for the apprentice of the year award and was shortlisted in the final three.
After being released by Rochdale, George worked at Stockport County in the Community, coaching at local schools and continuing his football career in non league. George is currently playing for Bamber Bridge in the Evostick North.
George arrived at the PFA in 2011, working on the Junior Kit Scheme. An initiative with the PFA and Premier League providing kits for unprivileged areas across the country.
George is now involved in advising academy players , trialist's and parents with regards to the Premier League and Football League Youth Development Rules.