UCFB students toured the world-class facilities at St George’s Park and heard from some of the football industry’s leading figures as part of the inaugural UCFB Future Leaders in Football and Sport Conference.

Hosted by the BBC’s Mark Clemmit, the day-long event at England’s training base saw students hear from the likes of former Scotland manager Gordon Strachan, England women’s coach Casey Stoney and Leicester City’s finance director Simon Capper about their stellar careers as well as pass on invaluable advice to aspiring sports industry professionals.

The day started with a tour of St George’s Park, including the Sir Bobby Charlton pitch and indoor arena where Gareth Southgate’s team will prepare for this summer’s World Cup, then following a short introduction coaching students undertook a masterclass with former Manchester United coach Mike Phelan.

The first talk of the day was a four-person panel featuring England goalkeeper-turned TV pundit Rachel Brown-Finnis, chief executive of The National League Michael Tattersall, League Managers Association boss Richard Bevan and former Liverpool defender Stoney, who has recently joined Phil Neville’s coaching team with England. Each guest brought their own thoughts on the game from their varied and experienced backgrounds, before taking questions from students.

Speaking to UCFB after her talk, Casey said: “These sorts of events are brilliant. There were four very different people on the panel with very different backgrounds giving advice and key messages, and I hope the students took something away from it – I took away a few things for me personally! There was a piece about opportunity and taking it, there was a piece about networking to make opportunities. For me it’s about finding a way, whether that’s as a coach or if you want to go into sports broadcasting.”

Strachan then entertained students with his trademark sense of humour and tales of working under Sir Alex Ferguson, managing in the Premier League and at a national level with Scotland. The former Leeds United midfielder told students that “football was the greatest business in the world” and that to succeed in the football industry students must “work hard, listen and get on with it”.

The day was rounded off with a fascinating talk from Leicester’s Capper, who after seven years at the club gave students a behind-the-scenes look at how a Premier League clubs operates and what it’s like to win a league title.

Speaking after the conference, BA (Hons) Football Business & Finance student James Radcliffe summed up the day: “I took away something from every person that spoke today. Everyone highlighted resilience and that was one of the main takeaways for me – to make sure I get to be where I want to be in the sports industry.”

He added: “I really enjoyed the panel session and hearing how everyone has got to where they are in their careers; that was really inspiring.”