Wanderers’ Chief Executive Officer, Neil Hart, has been named as League One’s CEO of the Year by the Football Business Awards.
Neil - who became Wanderers’ CEO in July, 2021 after holding the same position in the Premier League with Burnley FC – has overseen another year of major progress at the University of Bolton Stadium to take the League One prize.
On the pitch, the Whites are enjoying a superb season, with Ian Evatt’s side contesting the play-off semi-finals in League One after securing a first knock-out cup for the club in 34 years by winning the Papa Johns Trophy.
Off it, Neil has continued to drive the business forward as the Board’s representative and the head of the club’s senior management team.
In the past year, Wanderers have sold a record number of season tickets for the post-Premier League era, signed up to record sponsorships deals for the stadium and front of shirt, raised hospitality, sponsorship and retail revenue and continued to work closely with the Supporters' Trust and wider fan base on a number of initiatives, including the opening of the Wanderers’ Fan Zone and allowing supporters to have their say in the design of next season’s third kit.
Judged and voted for by industry professionals and CEOs throughout the leagues, a judging panel from the Football Business Awards said: “A good season on the pitch, winning the Papa Johns Trophy and competing at the top end of the league, has been matched by continued progress at the club off the pitch in ensuring that the club works in a financially sustainable manner. This takes focus and unity matched by strong leadership.
“Neil, as CEO, has been front and centre in the overhaul and the progress that has been made at the club over the last couple of seasons. I’m sure this will have created a strong winning culture at the club.”
Wanderers’ Chairman, Sharon Brittan, said: “In my opinion Neil is a complete differentiator in the world of football and since he joined our journey in July, 2021 he has transformed our wonderful football club.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, investors and all the team here at Bolton Wanderers, I’d like to congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition. His work ethic and leadership skills are second to none and we all look forward to our future together in continuing to build a strong Bolton Wanderers.”
Neil added: “I’m deeply humbled to win this award when there are so many great CEOs up and down the country.
“I’d like to pay tribute to our hard-working and talented staff, who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to improve this club every day, our amazing Board of Directors, Sharon, Nick and Michael, and our supporters who are very much the life blood of the football club.
“I see this award very much an award for everyone, as it’s very much a collaborative effort at Bolton Wanderers.”
The overall CEO of the Year winner, to be selected from the top four divisions in England and SPFL in Scotland, will be named at the awards ceremony in London on Friday, 26 May.
The Football Business Awards were launched in 2012 to celebrate the best in football business.