Sports lawyer Ben is youngest Championship boss


PROUD: New CEO Ben Mansford

A law graduate has become the youngest boss in Championship football after taking the helm at Barnsley aged just 33.

Ben Mansford took up the reins of the club, nicknamed the Tykes, last month from his job as a director of a global sports marketing and management media group.

He studied at De Montfort University’s Legal Practice course – including a sports law module – in 2001/2 and has been able to make his passion for football into a stellar career.

After DMU he went to work for Walker Morris, a law firm in Leeds, and then the global company Wasserman Media Group where he was first a sports agent, managing contracts for footballers, then a director.

One high-profile deal he was involved in was negotiating the transfer of midfielder Fabien Delph from Leeds United to Aston Villa for £8million.

Ben, who is from Cottingham in Hull, says he has got great satisfaction from helping football players develop in their career and has seen boys as young as 15 years of age go on to achieve their full potential and make transfers into high profile clubs.

He is still in touch with course tutor Andy Gray and owes much thanks to him, he says, for his success. He said: “The course at DMU was one of few offering such a specialist course for sports law: that is why I chose DMU after my law degree.

“The other academic institutions only seem to be catching up with this type of course now. Ultimately, the course is vocational and has been so relevant for my choice of practice”.

Andy Gray, who in addition to teaching sports law at DMU heads up the in-house legal team at British Swimming, said “Ben was always passionate about sport and the law and pursuing a career in the sports industry.

“His achievements are truly outstanding. DMU offers sports law to students at undergraduate level, and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Sports Law & Practice as well as the Legal Practice Course and Ben is one of our alumni stars.”

Ben said that since starting at Barnsley, he has worked to retain two good players, a result for the entire team.

He said: “Things are going well at Barnsley. This is a different challenge to being a solicitor and agent. I want to support the manager to getting the best from the team and making the town proud of these players”.


Posted on Thursday 11th July 2013

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