Earning his (Tottenham Hot) spurs
Like millions of schoolchildren around the world, Jamie Kelly dreamed of becoming a professional footballer.
While his ambition didn’t ultimately materialise, Jamie now works in the shadow of the state-of the-art Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, helping to affect the club’s performance off the pitch.
He studied for a BA in Accounting and Finance at Sheffield Hallam University, before landing his first role in accountancy in the city as an accounts payable clerk with travel company Alpha Rooms.
‘I have always been interested in business, working with numbers and how companies operate. I decided to become an accountant as a result, even though I wasn’t sure initially what industry I wanted to work in. Accountants are always needed, they are always in demand,’ he says.
His first job in football arrived just over a year later with Manchester United – the club he supports.
‘It wasn’t planned. Just by chance a purchase ledger role came up at United and I went for it,’ he explains.
He was offered a study package by the club and decided to study ACCA at BPP in Manchester.
‘I chose ACCA because it gives you a broad understanding and more avenues. The qualification doesn’t pigeon hole you like some of the other qualifications. It really sets you up for the future.’
During his time at United, Jamie was promoted to senior purchase ledger and commercial accountant, before a management accountant role came up at Tottenham last August, tempting him to swap clubs.
‘I have a lot of friends in London and wanted a change of scenery. The role of management accountant came up at Tottenham and it was the perfect next step for me,’ he says.
‘The Tottenham finance department is very modern and the culture feeds into a great deal of responsibility within the team,’ he adds.
‘Tottenham is a massive prospect and it feels like it is growing in every aspect. There is so much going on behind the scenes, so many moving parts and a lot to get involved in.’
His remit includes the financials for the stadium, the recently refurbished training centre, the medical department, the scouting department, stewarding and policing costs, plus non-football events.
‘I ensure the costs are managed for the stakeholders and ensure they are in line with budgets,’ he explains.
‘There is a lot to do in what is a growing environment. If you are keen and eager to throw yourself in, Tottenham has cultivated a culture that is hugely rewarding and incredibly enjoyable.’
What skills does the club look for in its trainees?
‘The finance team look for driven trainees, who are good at communicating the story behind the numbers to non-finance experts,’ he adds. ‘Team work, problem-solving and an ability to look at the full picture are also important skills.
‘There are a lot of football fans in the department, so it is always good to come in and chat about the game. We work hard and the job is incredibly rewarding.’
Having entered the football industry by chance, Jamie now fully intends to remain in it.
‘I love working at Tottenham and in the football industry,’ he adds. ‘I want to go as far as I can in football, see how far I can take it. I want to land senior management roles and become more focused on business decision-making aspects.’
Author: Alex Miller, writer