THE late Bill Shankly’s statue sits proudly outside the Kop at Liverpool FC.
In different circumstances, the last player the great man ever signed might have had his own fitting monument – only this time 253 miles away on the south coast!
Trevor Birch never made the first team with the Merseyside giants, settling for spells with Shrewsbury Town and Chester City. And yet he is a man revered in the naval town of Portsmouth for famously helping the town’s financially-stricken football club from oblivion in 2012 as its administrator.
Pompey survived at the time and chairman Iain McInnes joked that the club should pay tribute to Trevor: ‘We owe so much to that man it’s not true,’ he said. ‘We should erect some kind of statue!’
Of course, unsung heroes rarely receive the acclaim they deserve, although Trevor appears to be someone quite happy to go about his business without fanfare.
He is another esteemed speaker at Naked Leader’s (NL) annual Leadership Conference in October and delegates are sure to be moved by a person who very much buys into the Naked Leader ethos.
The Conference is themed around Business as a Force for Good and Trevor will be sharing just what football can teach us around that subject, from his own unique perspective.
Football could actually be viewed as a shining example to follow post Brexit, given the game never has any ‘normal times’ and by its very nature, is turbulent, unpredictable, and provokes enough passion in people to rival the most vehement feelings in a remain/leave campaign!
Modest-speaking and eloquent, Trevor’s first introduction to NL founder David Taylor inevitably came through football.
As David says with passion: ‘Wow! We only have the saviour of Portsmouth Football Club speaking at our Conference and this is the only event Trevor is speaking at in 2016.’
Trevor adds: ‘The Naked Leader ethos makes a lot of sense. David has asked me to speak around the positive influence of football, of football being a force for good rather than for evil.
‘I will aim to express how football can be a powerful influence and it’s a really positive message so I’m looking forward to it.’
Has Trevor got any tips for leadership or for people making their way in the business world?
He says simply: ‘I look at the advisory side of things and see what works in business.
‘Leadership takes many forms and there is not a particular style that suits all, it’s a strange phenomenon in that sense. What works for one may not work for another.
‘I believe that motivation and the ability to enthuse people is the key and empowering people to give the best they can.
‘Also getting the best out of people who you work alongside, building value in the business through the team having a strategic plan. They have to believe in it, for it to work.
‘People are what matters in a business and they can change its fortunes although it can take time for a business owner to alter their mindset and culture.’
Trevor, a partner for four years at BDO LLP – a worldwide firm providing audit, tax and financial advice – until 12 months ago and now an independent, has an endless list of achievements as self-styled ‘restructuring expert’ which includes, as chief executive of Chelsea FC, helping Roman Abramovich take over the club in 2003. He famously said he was able to broker a deal with the Russian Oligarch in 10 minutes flat.
He will enjoy delivering his message about the power of football and the joy the game can bring.
Thanks to Trevor’s astute business brain, clubs like Portsmouth can continue to look forward to the good times and those Pompey Chimes can still be heard.
Soon it will be Naked Leader delegates chance to learn Trevor’s secrets.