Julia Irvine 10 Jan 2017 12:48pm

Trevor Birch to join Duff & Phelps as managing director

Global valuation and corporate finance adviser Duff & Phelps has scored a hit with its latest appointment – it has lured one-time professional football player, former chief executive of Chelsea, Leeds United and Everton football clubs and chartered accountant Trevor Birch to join its London office as a managing director

Birch will draw on his unique experience in professional services and the sports sector to provide support across the firm’s practices on projects involving valuations, transactions, restructuring and corporate advisory.

“We see considerable potential for foreign investment in the sports sector in Europe,” said Yann Magnan, Duff & Phelps’ EMEA markets leader.

“Trevor’s specific set of skills and unparalleled experience in the sector will be invaluable to expanding our offering in this high-growth area.

“Adding to our experience in the valuation of sports teams in the US and Europe, Trevor will advise across Europe on all aspects of the business of sport, tapping into the increasingly complex nature of valuing international agreements, brand right and broadcast licencing and the associated transactions.”

Birch joined Liverpool FC as an apprentice footballer in 1974 at the age of 16, going down in history as the last player to be signed by Bill Shankly. He only ever played for the reserves though and left in 1979 to join Shrewsbury Town, moving on for a short time to play for Chester City FC.

After retiring from professional football in 1982, he gained a first class degree in accountancy at Liverpool Polytechnic and then went on to qualify as an ICAEW chartered accountant (1987) and an insolvency practitioner (1990) with Ernst & Young.

During his time at the firm, he became a partner and later took on the role of regional head of corporate restructuring in the north. But he left in 2002 to take on the challenge of restructuring Chelsea FC which he sold a year later to Roman Abramovich for £180m.

He then moved to Leeds United, another club in desperate need of restructuring. After successfully helping it to avoid administration and selling it on to a local consortium, he moved to Everton in 2004 to sort out its finances.

However, his tenure there as chief executive was short-lived – six weeks – before he resigned because of differences with the board over strategy. He returned to professional practice, joining Deloitte as a partner.

In 2011 he joined PKF, ending up, following the merger with BDO International, as head of the firm’s professional sports group. But he never stopped helping football clubs in difficulties whether as administrator (Portsmouth and Heart of Midlothian), chief executive (Derby County and Sheffield United) or adviser (Bolton Wanderers).

He has also spent time as COO of €600m (£521m) sports rights agency Sportfive GmbH.