Tracey to retire after 20 years at Powerleague

Sean Tracey will retire at the end of this year. Picture: Donald MacLeod
Sean Tracey will retire at the end of this year. Picture: Donald MacLeod
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POWERLEAGUE’S chief executive is giving up day-to-day running of the five-a-side football chain after more than 20 years at the helm.

Sean Tracey who was recruited in 1994 to manage the group’s Glasgow centre, will retire at the end of this year to make way for Rupert Campbell, currently a director with Adidas. Tracey will continue with Powerleague as a senior strategic adviser.

The Paisley-based firm has 460 pitches in 46 centres in the UK and Ireland, and runs leagues operating across a further 140 venues. Last year it made an operating profit of £2.12 million on turnover of £29.7m.

Tracey said he was proud to be leaving Powerleague as “the UK’s leading brand for small sided football”.

“With the business enjoying a strong year of trading and a pipeline of excellent sites, we are ideally positioned for significant growth over the coming two to three years,” he said. “I feel that now is the right time for me to take on new challenges and business opportunities, while still offering significant support to the company.”

Campbell is currently director of retail in western Europe for Adidas, with responsibility for 500 retail and franchise stores in 38 countries. Before joining Adidas in 2012, he spent nearly 20 years at Dixons group, latterly as group programme director.

Owned by Patron Capital since 2009, Powerleague has had its eye on international expansion. Keith Breslauer, managing partner of Patron Capital, said Campbell would be instrumental in driving the firm’s growth at home and overseas.

“With his significant brand, retail and international experience, Rupert will play a pivotal role in spearheading Powerleague’s growth over the coming years,” he said.

The company traces its history back to 1987 when Keith Rogers – now chief executive of arch-rival Goals ­Soccer Centres of East Kilbride – and partner John Pitt set up Anchor International. They grew it to 11 branches before selling to 3i, the private equity group which owned rival Powerplay.

The two companies were merged to form Powerleague. It was later bought out by its management team, and floated on the Alternative Investment Market in May 2005.

Patron took an initial 29 per cent stake in the business in 2008, and then took the whole of it private in a £42.5m deal in 2009. In 2012 Powerleague approached Goals about a possible takeover, but the latter was eventually sold to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for £73m.

Campbell said he was “delighted” to be joining the business. “Powerleague has significant growth potential and I look forward to working with both Patron Capital and the existing team,” he said.

“Sport, and football in particular, has played a big part in my life and it will be a privilege to guide Powerleague through its next stages of development.”

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