Grand Designs: Our top tips for football’s house-hunting head honchos

Moving house can be stressful, and that's without having the press on your back. What's a football administrator to do? Ask Paddy for advice, that's what...


Finding the right place to settle down is never easy, especially if you’re a hot-shot sports administrator on the fast-track to the top of international governing bodies.

And we all know what the paps – that’s what the superstar pen-pushers call the paparazzi – are like when they get the scent of a story about the most high-profile dealmaker on the circuit.

Being pursued night-and-day by scurrilous tittle-tattlers is just one of the crosses you must bear when you’re putting the x-factor in Executive Vice President. But all the meetings with national leaders, business’ top execs, as well as the adoring fans up and down the country, it takes a toll.

UEFA Nations League, Cardiff City Stadium, Wales 6/9/2018
Wales vs Republic of Ireland
Ireland fans
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

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There are some days where administration just feels like a waste of everyone’s time. But you can stave off the feeling that you’re a needless appendage to the nation’s favourite sport if you find regular downtime and the right place to relax.

So, here’s our guide to finding the perfect spot where you can drop the laptop, duck the nosey natterers and recharge your batteries as the best guy at wearing expensive suits in the fancy seats you can be!

The freshly painted Hollywood Sign is seen after a press conference to announce the completion of the famous landmark’s major makeover, December 4, 2012 in Hollywood, California. Some 360 gallons (around 1,360 liters) of paint and primer were used to provide the iconic sign with it most extensive refurbishment in almost 35 years in advance of it’s 90th birthday next year. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

1 – Location, Location, Location

Finding the right place starts with finding the right place. Someone of your stature will need to live among those similarly caught in the public glare.

So where do all the famous folks go? If you want to stay within a quick chartered plane journey – picked up by your sporting body, of course – then Monaco is the obvious spot. There are not just the obvious benefits of being surrounded by the moneyed and honey-skinned types, meaning you’ll easily blend in, but also Prince Albert isn’t all that keen on taking any of your hard-earned dosh!

Maybe it lacks true star power though – what are you going to do there, chill out with Richard Dunne and talk about cars with some retired F1 bores?

Really, Hollywood is where you belong. Sure, it would be grossly impractical for your organisation, but then, what’s practical about a wage €360,000 per year?

A general view inside an apartment of the Prive, My Private Island, luxury condominiums in Aventura, Florida, on May 22, 2017.
The Miami luxury building will offer special amenities ranging from all window water views, spas, dog grooming and a private marina. / AFP PHOTO / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)

2 – Get in line

It’s just a fact of life that a lot of the most in-demand places are going to be snapped up before you get to see them – unless you’re smart.

You’re a busy man and sauntering around town to viewing after viewing, queuing up while you wait for the landlord to show, this is not the kind of thing a red-tape ninja like yourself should need to worry about.

Some staff from your organisation should be deployed to get their hands dirty – maybe make use of the board members of the organisation, they’re not much use otherwise – and have them stand around, make some notes, and feedback to you.

Make sure they bring a fold-up chair – these lads are pushing eighty and, while they keep you on your toes, their own might feel the strain on their own after a busy day house-hunting.

In this photograph taken on December 5, 2018 a staff cleans the swimming pool inside the palace turned hotel owned by member of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly from Bikaner East Siddhi Kumari in Bikaner. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo credit should read CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images)

3 – Flash Facilities

Now, while your position means you’ve to seek out the company of the rich and famous just to live, deep down you’re a man of simple tastes.

You’ll require just one bowling alley, home cinema, sauna and swimming pool complex in your new pad as you’ll mainly be hosting very exclusive gatherings there. The glad-handing, back-slapping and ego-massaging that’s your bread-and-butter can be done the backrooms and conference halls of the world.

This is a place for switching-off.

Of course, being a mover-and-shaker means being able to get on the move when needed. As such, the helipad and chopper on standby to take you swiftly to the nearest airport when required is essential.

TOPSHOT – A lion yawns in its enclosure at the Wilhelma zoo in Stuttgart, southern Germany, on February 18, 2019. (Photo by Marijan Murat / dpa / AFP) / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read MARIJAN MURAT/AFP/Getty Images)

Finally, no matter how we dress it up, the world of sports admin is a jungle. One slip and you’ll be savaged by the paper piranhas. There’s no better way to remind yourself of that than to be surrounded by the savage beauty of the animal kingdom.

Really, the minimum acceptable domain for yourself should include a wild animal sanctuary filled with an array of nature’s most fearsome beasts who’ll act as a reminder that relaxing does not mean losing vigilance in protecting your territory.

4 – Check your budget

Everyone has a limit to what they can spend, so it may not be possible to follow all of these pointers but if you try…

Wait, what?! They’re paying f**king rent as well?! Happy days.

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What do you think?