The suits

By anybody's reckoning, it is about a million miles from auditing to running the Premier League. But chief executive Rick Parry insists that his accountancy training has been vital in equipping him for his current role. The audit experience and the consulting work that followed it at what was then Arthur Young have given him "orderly thought processes", he says. "It's all to do with gathering information, analysing and synthesising it and presenting it."

There the similarities end, though. The financial side of the Premier League is - as he admits - simple enough: being little more than handling the big cheques that come in from the leading football clubs once a year. And while he claims to have had "three very enjoyable years" as an auditor it is perhaps significant that he describes the job he has had since 1992 as "enormously exciting and there's no routine to it".

He has just signed up for another three years in the post, but says he has no thoughts about what is next. "My career has taken so many twists and turns that you can never rule anything out."

Nevertheless, it would be unlikely if sport was not involved. The son of a PE lecturer, he arrived in accountancy with a maths degree from Liverpool University and a hankering to work in the field; his father had told him to get a professional qualification first. Then it was off for a few years in the leisure industry, latterly as financial controller at Hoseasons Holidays, before rejoining Arthur Young as a consultant specialising in the sport and leisure sector.

He has twice been involved in Manchester's bids for the Olympic Games and - in keeping with the head of an increasingly commercial organisation - keeps an eye on developments in other sports, notably the two rugby codes. But for now he is like the other fans - it is an open secret that he has supported Liverpool since the cradle - waiting anxiously for the start of the new League season on 19 August.

ROGER TRAPP

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