Gordon Taylor OBE, PFA Chief Executive.
Gordon is Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association a position he has held for over 30 years, under his tenure the union continues to go from strength to strength.
A former professional player, Gordon made over 250 appearances for Bolton Wanderers and scored over 50 goals before being transferred to Birmingham City in 1970. He then joined Blackburn Rovers in 1976, spending the 1977 close season playing in the North American Soccer League for the Vancouver Whitecaps. Upon his return he played for Blackburn and finally Bury before retiring in 1980 to work full-time for the PFA.
Gordon’s direct involvement with the PFA started in 1972 when he was appointed to the PFA Management Committee, keeping company with fellow players such as Terry Venables and Bobby Charlton. In 1978 he was appointed Chairman of the PFA succeeding Derek Dougan, before joining the union full time in 1980 after his retirement from professional football. In 1981 Cliff Lloyd OBE handed over the stewardship of the PFA to Gordon and he was duly appointed Secretary/Chief Executive.
During the 1980s Gordon was instrumental in the implementation of the YTS programme into professional football and has been central to the evolution of this scheme that has resulted in the current Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence Programme (ASE) which is delivered to the majority of 16–18 year olds entering football. Gordon also pioneered the 'Football in the Community' initiative, starting with a pilot scheme of 6 clubs the successful model was eventually rolled out to all 92 Football League clubs. He also introduced a new standard contract for all players in 1981 together with a non contributory pension scheme in the same year.
In 1994 Gordon was appointed President of FIFPro (the International Association of Football Players’ Unions), a position he held until he retired in 2005, but he still remains as Honorary President. FIFPro supported Jean Marc Bosman in his successful case for freedom of contract.
Gordon continues to be a pivotal ambassador for anti-racism campaigns within football and has ensured that the PFA remains a major funder and key partner for both the ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ and ‘Kick It Out’ organisations. Gordon was inducted into the ‘Show Racism the Red Card’s Hall of Fame’ in 2004.
Gordon has a degree in economics and honorary degree from Loughborough and De Montfort Universities. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008, recognising his services to Football. In 2011 he received the ‘Lifetime Contribution to North West Football’ award and also the ‘Contribution to League Football Award’.
Gordon continues to represent the PFA in numerous other bodies including the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee of England and Wales and the Professional Players Federation.
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Bobby Barnes, PFA Deputy Chief Executive.
Clubs: West Ham United, Scunthorpe United (loan), Aldershot Town, Swindon Town, AFC Bournemouth, Northampton Town, Peterborough United, Partick Thistle, Kettering Town, Hong Kong Rangers.
Bobby made his debut for West Ham United in September 1980 and over a 15 year career played 350 games, scoring 103 goals for West Ham United, Northampton Town, Aldershot, Swindon Town, Bournemouth, Peterborough United and Partick Thistle before ending his career with 2 years in Hong Kong.
Bobby was a quick skilful winger who won an FA Youth Cup Winners Medal and England Youth International Caps.
After retiring in 1996, he joined the PFA full-time and is now Deputy Chief Executive, with responsibility for the London office. As part of his remit he works across all areas of the PFA including Equalities, Communities and Charity, Commercial, Education, Financial and General Matters.
He represents professional players in all matters including contractual, representation, mediation and disciplinary. He sits on Football Association panels on matters relating to discipline, work permits and transfer tribunals. He also sits as a trustee of the Premier League/PFA Charity Fund.
Bobby represents the PFA as President of Division Europe and a Board member of FIFPro which is the global players’ union representing players from over 50 countries and also sits on the UEFA Strategic Council which is the forum for football decisions on a European level. He is also a member of The UEFA EU Matters Committee.
A French speaker, Bobby is now an honorary member (after two terms serving as a delegate) of the Franco British Council, which is a government funded body which aims to promote understanding and ‘best practise’ between the two countries.
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John Bramhall, PFA Deputy Chief Executive.
John is a former central defender who clocked up over 500 Football League appearances for 6 clubs over a period of 15 years from 1976 to 1991.
He started his Football League career with Tranmere Rovers in July 1976, and went on to make 170 League appearances for the club before being transferred to Bury in 1982, going on to gain promotion with them during the 1984/1985 season. The following season he joined Chester City on loan in November 1985 and played four games during their promotion season from Division 4, and the following season he joined Rochdale.
After two years spent at Rochdale, John moved again to Halifax Town and finished his league career with 32 league appearances for Scunthorpe United. This took his overall Football League appearance tally to 521, scoring 42 goals in the process.
Having originally joined The Footballers’ Further Education & Vocational Training Society, the then educational arm of the PFA, on his retirement from professional football in 1991 during which period he continued with his education to degree level. He then went on to join the PFA on a full-time basis in 1997.
A current FA licensed agent, and in his position as Deputy Chief Executive represents the PFA on various boards including the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee; FA Stakeholders meetings; Professional Game Match Officials Technical Committee, the body which controls the current referees. He has also been a Premier League Match Delegate for over a decade.
He represents players at all levels on FA charges and club internal disciplinary hearings, and has responsibility for the Delegate Liaison Department.
Former Manchester City and Bury player Darren Wilson has worked for the PFA for over sixteen years in his capacity of Director of Finance and oversees the Finance department. Reporting to Darren is Jenny Wood (Finance Manager), Tracey Parkinson (Finance Assistant) and Matthew Ellison (Finance Assistant).
Darren's professional football career ended when he was just 21 years old after contracting a life-threatening illness which finished his football career. After consulting the PFA's education department he completed a BTEC in Business and Finance, Foundation Course in Accounting and Finance, BA (Honours) in Accounting and Finance and then qualified as a Chartered Accountant.
During his academic studies Darren was Awarded the Special Prize of Achievement in BTEC Business and Finance, an Award Sponsored by Arthur Andersen for the Highest Aggregate Mark in the Foundation Course in Accounting and Finance, an Award Sponsored by KPMG for the Highest Mark in Accounting Theory and Practice whilst completing his BA (Honours) in Accounting and Finance and an Award Sponsored by Ernst and Young for the Highest Mark in the North of England for Taxation during his Chartered Accountancy Qualification.
Darren qualified as a Chartered Accountant at Beever and Struthers Chartered Accountants. Following qualification Darren worked in a number of departments at Beever and Struthers including Corporate Finance, Owner Managed Businesses, Taxation, Management Services and Internal Audit where he obtained rounded valuable financial experience.
Darren joined the PFA in 2002 where he is responsible for the strategic financial management of the PFA. His specific financial expertise has meant that he represents the PFA in a number of formal capacities. Darren is a Trustee of the PFA Charity and was a Trustee of the PFA Centenary Fund, Director and Secretary of PFA Enterprises Ltd, Secretary of PFA Nominees Limited, Part of the Business Continuity Team, Director of League Football Education, FIFPro Financial Committee Member, FIFPro Real Estate Committee and the PFA representative on Kick It Out Finance Committee. Darren also advises the Professional Players' Federation on financial matters.
Darren experienced first-hand the benefits of being a member of the PFA when he consulted the Union for assistance when his football career ended prematurely. The former England youth international says: “The PFA helped me with medical operations, legal advice and educational support which enabled me to put my life back in the right direction. I can’t recommend highly enough the assistance that the PFA offers its members, both those who are experiencing difficult times and those that are planning ahead for life after football.”
Edward Canty, Director of PFA Enterprises Ltd.
Edward is a partner at Centrefield and is widely recognised as an expert in the field of sports law. He has extensive experience in advising clients in relation to all regulatory disputes and disciplinary matters, together with advising on governance and contractual issues. He has specific expertise in football, and provides advice on matters such as player contracts, transfers and related issues; he is also retained by a number of key clients including the Professional Footballers’ Association, individual players, national associations, leagues and clubs and has an unrivalled knowledge of the football industry.
Edward has considerable experience in dealing with media issues such as defamation, image protection and crisis management. He also advises sports clients in high profile criminal matters, and regularly represents clients in cases before the disciplinary bodies of The FA and UEFA, and cases before the Premier League, the Football League, the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber and the FIFA Players’ Status Committee.
Edward is highly regarded within the industry, as reflected by his external sporting appointments. He is a director of PFA Enterprises Limited, the Professional Footballers’ Association company, and is a member of the Panel of Arbitrators at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland (having also been appointed to the specialist football panel).
The Legal 500 highlights Edward as a key contact for football matters and describes him as a solicitor who is “charming and has great judgment.” The Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession notes that Edward has “a fantastic knowledge of all the major areas of sports law.”
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