When browsing on LinkedIn, we got back in touch with Piet van der Pol, CEO of a Dutch sport's management agency Grandstand, which is specialized in football.
Grandstand takes care of all side-affairs in a football player’s career, in return for a small fee based on the player’s salary. This allows the player to fully focus on his sport and develop his talent.
10 Questions about Grandstand and CEO Piet van der Pol.
About Grandstand & the football scene
1. What’s really unique about your company?
What makes our company unique is the focus where the client’s career is. Secondly, our employees are truly enjoying their job. The business is not as glamorous as it may seem. Having lunch with the chairman of a European top-10 club is one side of the medal, watching the Volendam reserves play Dordrecht on a rainy and windy Monday night is the other.
2. Which accomplishment is your team most proud of?
Grandstand is particularly proud of having been representing Van der Wiel and Pieters since they were sixteen year old . Now they are Dutch national team players! Both of them are on the brink of a major European breakthrough as a next step in their careers.
3. What is the Dutch football agency market like?
The player’s agents market is a jungle. For approx. 1000 professional players, there are about 140 licensed agents, next to another 140 unlicensed agents. Grandstand represents between 50-60 players, ranging from talented juniors to Dutch national team players. A national magazine ranked us in the top 6 of player’s agencies.
4. Why is Amsterdam / The Netherlands the right place to have your business?
Holland is a good place for the football agents industry as Dutch players are known for their talent and are easily exported to the top-level football countries like England, Spain, Italy and Germany.
Dutch teams will never be able to compete on salary level with the big countries, so Holland will always remain a “selling country” in the football pyramid.
How to become a CEO, talent scout and player's manager
5. How did you get into the business of football & join Grandstand ?
I went to Nyenrode business school to work at executive level in the football industry. During the last month of my degree, I was in the running to become CEO of either my favorite football club Telstar, or CEO of a concert hall. At the end I end up becoming the CEO of Telstar football club. While I was CEO of Telstar, I met the founder of Grandstand. After an initial period of getting to know the company and their ways of working, I decided to become a shareholder of the company.
6. Would you do your Nyenrode MBA again?
7. What kind of people are you looking for to expand your team?
We would like to hire additional talent scouts, particularly in regions where we are geographically not very present. The problem is that we need to find people with an eye for talent, have an understanding of the football business, and can assist young players with advise and career guidance. Besides this, candidates also need to be hard working, trustworthy, discrete, and loyal., These people are hard to find. Normally we recruit from our client pool, or retired players.
About Dutch football & the future
8. Who will be the top 3 Dutch players in the next 5 years?
I truly believe that our boys Van der Wiel, and Pieters will be the top 5 players in the next five years. Others include Strootman, Van Persie and Huntelaar. Also players to keep a look at are Merten, Douglas, De Jong (times 2) and Eriksen.
One of our most promising youngsters is the 17 year old Brahim Darri of Vitesse, who made his first team debut when he was only 16 and scored!
9. Why has/will Holland never won/win the world cup?
I personally think that the Dutch football is a little too much “entertainment” and simply not enough “winning". National team coach Van Marwijk has tried to change this but he was criticized heavily for the foul play of the team. I very much doubt if anyone would have mentioned the tackle of Nigel de Jong should Robben have scored the winning goal...
10. Who will win the Euro cup this summer?
I dare not say it out loud, but Germany has a good chance. Either them or Spain.