Job search
Job Search

People: Ralph Krueger, Southampton FC chair, on the club's international ambitions

Southampton FC chair

Published in Sports Management 02 May 2016 issue 119
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue
Krueger. a Canadian, came into football from ice hockey / Andrew Matthews / Press Association Images
Krueger. a Canadian, came into football from ice hockey/ Andrew Matthews / Press Association Images

Fast-forward to mid-September and all eyes will be on the maiden few weeks of the 2016-17 Premier League season. Leicester City may well be in the early stages of an improbable title defence, Pep Guardiola will be adapting to life at Manchester City, while the Spaniard’s long-time rival Jose Mourinho may well be in the opposing dugout when City face rival Manchester United.

One man who will be watching the action from afar during the last two weeks of September will be Southampton chair Ralph Krueger, who will be managing Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. It might seem like a strange endeavor for a Premier League chair at such an important stage of the season, but Krueger doesn’t really do convention.

The World Cup of Hockey is returning after a 12-year hiatus and Krueger – who had a successful career in the sport – will lead of group of European National Hockey League (NHL) players from nations such as Switzerland, Germany and Norway, who will not take part in the tournament with their home nations.

Before joining Southampton in March 2014 the German Canadian had no previous experience in football and had devoted the majority of his life to ice hockey, helping Canada win gold at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

During his first summer transfer window with Southampton, the south-coast club lost its young and innovative head coach Mauricio Pochettino to Tottenham Hotspur, as well as a number of key players including Adam Lallana to Liverpool, Luke Shaw to Manchester United and Calum Chambers to Arsenal. Many pundits thought the writing was on the wall and that relegation beckoned.

However, Southampton brought in respected Dutch coach Ronald Koeman, and under his and Krueger’s watch the club was steered towards European football via a seventh-placed finish and remains on course to repeat the feat this season. Following a number of seasons of Premier League stability, Krueger is keen to push Southampton on and build its brand globally.

“Right now we’re a local brand,” he says. “If we’re realistic about where we’re positioned there are clubs in the relegation zone (Aston Villa, Newcastle United, Sunderland) that are way bigger than us. That is the reality of it and we want to become a bigger club and be able to compete regularly.”

After signing the club’s “biggest ever commercial deal” with Under Armour (see page 16), Krueger is planning to use the capabilities of both organisations to open football schools in the US and in China. Krueger says he sees Southampton as a “teacher of football” and will employ coaches to work in international markets. It’s new partner, Under Armour has 200 grassroots partners in the US.

“We’re just starting to have conversations in China,” he reveals. “It’s just the beginning and there’s so much opportunity in the way countries like China and India would like to learn to develop football players.”

Despite being candid about Southampton’s global ambitions, the chair is cautious about not “losing the eye on the ball here at home”. He believes that Leicester’s incredible exploits this season – which has the club on the brink of winning its first-ever league title against all the odds – can act as inspiration for Southampton when taking on the traditional big boys such as Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

“We feel proud that we broke down some barriers last year by staying in the Champions League spots until January, but Leicester has taken things to a whole new level,” say Krueger with a chuckle. “We are happy for them. Of course it helps the situation that there’s parity in the league now.”

Krueger reckons that they’ll be even more twists and turns next season, once the league’s record £5.1bn (US$7.2bn, €6.4bn) domestic television rights deal kicks in, bringing some “crazy players” to England during the summer.

The increase in money for Premier League teams also ramps up clubs’ responsibility in investing in its local community, according to Krueger. The deal with Under Armour will see the growing sportswear firm denote 5,000 kits to deprived children in the surrounding community. In addition, Southampton will maintain its investment in community programmes such as the 20,000 hours of football training it gave to children over the past year and its work with local people in drug rehabilitation centres.

“We will never take our eye off that [supporting the local community],” he explains. “We’re going to stay humble with our feet on the ground.”

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
Sports jobs
Everyone Active
featured job

Swimming Teachers

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive hourly rate
Job location: Nationwide

Finchley Lido Leisure Centre

GLL
Salary: Up To £23,894 PA (based on 40 hours per week)
Location: London N12 0GL, UK

Assistant Manager

GLL
Salary: Up To £34,966 PA (based on 40 hours per week)
Location: Epsom KT17 1BN, UK

General Manager

GLL
Salary: Up To £31,251 PA
Location: Bradford, UK

Fitness Class Instructors

Anglia Ruskin University
Salary: Hourly paid upon submission of claims
Location: Chelmsford, UK

Swimming Teacher

Circadian Leisure Trust
Salary: £10.96 - £13.24 per hour
Location: Yate, Bristol, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up To £25,655 PA
Location: London, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £9.00 per hour
Location: Belfast, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,305 per annum
Location: Cambridge, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,305 per annum
Location: Amersham, UK
recruiting with sports management

Assistant General Manager

The Gym Group
Salary: Competitive salary plus benefits
Location: Telford, UK

Team Leader

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive Salary
Location: Bristol, UK

Swim Manager

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive Rates
Location: Alton, UK

Duty Manager

Mytime Active
Salary: £20,000 - £25,000 per annum
Location: Bromley, UK

Recreation Assistant / Lifeguard

Mytime Active
Salary: £17,076.80 per annum pro rata
Location: Bromley, UK

Assistant Head Climbing Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: £23,000 - £26,000 pa
Location: London, UK

Receptionist

Legacy Leisure
Salary: Competitive
Location: Exeter, UK
recruiting with sports management

Leisure Centre Supervisor

GLL
Salary: Up To £22,930 per annum
Location: Belfast, UK

Duty Manager

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive Salary
Location: Great Cambourne, Cambourne, Cambridge, UK

General Manager

truGym
Salary: Competitive Salary and Benefits
Location: Stevenage, UK

Receptionist

Legacy Leisure
Salary: Competitive
Location: Nailsea, UK

Membership Consultant

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Romford, UK

Assistant Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £31,251 per annum
Location: Faringdon, Oxfordshire, UK

General Manager

Lex Leisure
Salary: Up to £40K plus generous bonus arrangements.
Location: Tilgate, Crawley, UK
training with sports management

Contract Maintenance Manager

Everyone Active
Salary: circa £33k
Location: Harrow, UK

Assistant General Manager

The Gym Group
Salary: Competitive salary plus benefits
Location: Catford, London, UK

Assistant General Manager

The Gym Group
Salary: Competitive Salary and Benefits
Location: Telford, UK

Female Fitness Studio Manager

SportsJobs4Women
Salary: £1,900 / month + commissions (OTEs of £3,000 - Tax Free)
Location: Jeddah Saudi Arabia

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,305 per annum
Location: Bath, Somerset, Bath, UK

Senior Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £19,775 per annum
Location: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £9.00 per hour
Location: Chesham, Buckinghamshire, UK
lifeguard jobs  swimming teacher jobs  recreation assistant jobs  apprenticeships jobs  personal trainer jobs  Gymnastics Coach jobs  duty manager jobs  assistant manager jobs  general manager jobs  assistant general manager jobs  Customer Services Advisor jobs  Catering Assistant jobs 
More jobs

Catalogue Gallery

JP Lennard: Leading supplier to Commercial Swimming Pools, Leisure Centres, Health & Fitness Clubs, Hotels, Holiday Parks, Schools and Universities, supplying thousands of products directly into these sectors.
JPL
BSW: BSW is a manufacturer of sports floorings, sports mats, gym flooring, elastomer products for impact sound insulation and vibration isolation, anti-slip mats for securing loads as well as protective and separating layers.
BSW
More catalogues

Video Gallery

Wattbike
The choice of the elite. Wattbike introduced the first true indoor bike in 2008, changing indoor cycling forever. Developed in association with world class coaches and athletes, and now chosen by the world’s premier health clubs, cycling studios, and personal trainers as well as universities, the military, and countless athletes and coaches across the world, Wattbike has truly revolutionised indoor cycling. Want to join our revolution? Power up your business with Wattbike.
Visit website
More videos

Company profile

Company profile: Crown Sports Lockers
Crown Sports Lockers has designed, crafted and fitted bespoke timber furniture for spas, hotels and the sport and leisure sectors since 1993.
View full profile >
More company profiles

Featured Supplier

Pulse Fitness modernises Leiston Leisure Centre in £4m redevelopment
The Leiston Leisure Centre, owned by East Suffolk Council, reopened recently following a £4m redevelopment designed and implemented by Pulse Fitness.
View full details >
More featured suppliers

Diary dates

10-12 Dec 2019
tbc, Fort Lauderdale, United States
21-23 Jan 2020
Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom
28-30 Jan 2020
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
More diary dates