Ex-F1 star Mark Blundell is aiming to tackle the football industry by unveiling his new boutique talent management company, 2mb International Soccer Management, in a bid to shake up the sport – and what's more, the initiative will benefit from the support of Anthony Hamilton, father of 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton.
2mb International Soccer Management will run parallel to Blundell's already established motorsport talent agency, 2mb Sports Management. In his new venture, the erstwhile Brabham, Ligier, Tyrrell and McLaren ace and well-known ITV-F1
pundit will be aided by a formidable advisory team, including talent manager extraordinaire Hamilton – who, in addition to having played a key role in helping to guide his son to F1 world title glory, has founded his own successful IT company – and highly-respected and experienced football superstar Les Ferdinand, now striker coach at London club Tottenham Hotspur.
Former professional footballer and player-manager Jimmy Carter will manage the new company as its CEO after being lured away from his role as sales and technical director at Brands Direct, where he grew sales from £4.5 million to £35 million in just eight years. His successful business career also includes a 22-year stint at Nestlé, and Blundell describes him as 'a safe pair of hands' with a legendary passion for the game, unrivalled business nous and a wealth of strong connections.
“Footballers deserve better representation than some guy with a mobile phone and a hotmail address,” contended Blundell. “We are different. 2mb International Soccer Management will provide the kind of personalised commercial services and management support designed to help players focus 100 per cent on their game.
“After a long search, I am convinced that Jimmy Carter is the right person to lead 2mb International Soccer Management. Jimmy brings with him a unique combination of first-hand global football and business experience, which will benefit both established stars and young players coming through the ranks.”
The move is being welcomed across the football industry, with many insiders expecting 2mb – originally founded in 2005 by Blundell and close friend and former F1 team-mate Martin Brundle – to bring a breath of fresh air to a fairly murky area of the sport.
Amongst the areas that will be covered by the new endeavour are contract negotiation; club relationship management; the negotiation of endorsement opportunities; commercial and sponsorship acquisition; name, fame and images rights protection; personal appearance management; marketing and public relations; media training; brand building; website management; book-keeping and accountancy; lifestyle management including relocation assistance; and access to advisors who can provide specialist financial planning, legal support and insurance services.
“2mb International Soccer Management, with its unique combination of elite sports experience, business expertise and its fresh and innovative approach to player management, is a very welcome addition to the world of football,” enthused Russell Bartlett, vice-chairman of Hull City AFC. “From a club perspective, we need our players to be 100 per cent focused on the game. I like the fact that [2mb] work with players and the stakeholders around them to remove distractions that could affect performance.”
2mb Sports Management is committed to identifying and developing young sports talent and to helping established sports stars define and manage their brands. The organisation has successfully managed the careers of several elite athletes, with its current stable including McLaren-Mercedes F1 test driver and former DTM Champion Gary Paffett, IndyCar Series newcomer and GP2 race-winner Mike Conway and Brawn GP Young Development Driver Will Stevens.
In January, Blundell took over sole ownership of 2mb and is now focussed full-time upon developing and expanding its global motorsport and football interests by means of his experience, knowledge and connections in sport. The addition of a football division is the realisation of a dream for the 43-year-old, whose other main passion in life is the beautiful game.