John Robertson reveals why executive football job interests him

John Robertson
John Robertson
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Former Hearts striker John Robertson has admitted an executive football role would interest him at some point in future after working closely with the Tynecastle hierarchy.

Currently managing Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Robertson is just five months into a huge rebuilding job in the Highlands and stressed he is there for the long haul.

However, his previous job at Hearts saw him take a keen interest in the inner workings of a football club. He explained how he gained an insight into all departments during three years in Gorgie doing coaching, commercial and ambassador work. He left in June this year to return to management Inverness CT following their relegation to the SPFL Championship.

Hearts’ former chief operating officer, Scot Gardiner, was helping Robertson learn about the decision-making process at senior level. He also learned from owner Ann Budge, directors and the club’s industrious administrative staff during the last three years.

“Scot was mentoring me to do executive things at Hearts. He had me looking and director aspects, commercial things going forward, learning the administrative side, all the SFA rules, statements, etc,” Robertson told the Evening News.

“Scot would ask my opinion on things and why I thought a certain way. I don’t know if he ever acted on it. He felt I was forward-thinking enough to be able to cope in an executive role at some stage. Whether that ever crossed Ann Budge’s mind, only he and perhaps Ann could answer that. It was just a new route a found quite appealing and something I wasn’t scared of.

“I worked with a great office full of people at Hearts, like Shelly Kay, Dylan Kelly, Graeme Pacitti and so many others. It was fantastic learning about their roles and seeing all the hard work they do behind the scenes with ticketing, catering, commercial activities and everything else.

“People forget, you’ve got that big six or seven-acre [Tynecastle] site which is used once a fortnight for four or five hours. Ann Budge’s mantra was: ‘I need this place working 24/7. I need all the lounges outs, different events on and making sure everything is being done to help make the club a viable business.

“You start to learn all these aspects, like the different little things which can force a game to be called off. I was watching the new main stand developments last week and wondering whether the Partick Thistle game would go ahead. People think as long as seats are in, and toilets and kiosks are ready, that’s it.

“I was having a wee grin to myself because simple things like the PA system failing would cause a postponement. If there’s no PA system, the game is off because you can’t tell the fans to evacuate the stadium in an emergency.

“Scot felt that, if I didn’t want to go back into management or coaching, that was a route I could handle.”