Mike Cave

Academy Manager

The role

The Academy’s mission is to support every player with an individualised, innovative and life enhancing football experience. My role within this is to work with the Academy Heads of Department to ensure that we are delivering on this commitment. Specifically, my role focuses on the strategic planning, football operations and helping to drive improvement throughout the programme. The role sits within the Player Development pillar of the Academy which is responsible for the football progress and career pathways of our players.

I begin each season by working with our Academy Management Team to reflect on the previous season and determine how successful we have been in achieving our Academy targets. We then work collaboratively to identify areas of strength and areas for development for the new season and for the longer term. I then work with individual Heads of Department to produce our Academy Performance Plan which help us develop a strategic plan for improvement. As well as working with our Academy team at Motspur Park I will also work with our partners from other sports, the worlds of business and education to help identify and share best practice in developing performance.

During the season, with the support of the Academy Management Team, I will monitor the implementation of the performance plan and support our different departments through reviews, professional development and multi-disciplinary work. A critical part of the work I undertake for the players is working with the Head Coaches to ensure their Individual Development Plans are implemented. These plans focus on the player’s strengths, development targets and their individual pathways. My role is a balance between the day-to-day operational work and the longer term planning.


I graduated with a Degree and a Masters at Loughborough University in Sports Science and Sports Management respectively. I was then accepted onto the competitive International Management Group (IMG) internship scheme and then took up a full-time position at the sports management agency after I’d finished my Masters. I ended up working for the IMG for six years in a number of different roles across consulting, business development and sales. IMG were an excellent company to work for and the experience gave me the opportunity to work with some of the world’s biggest sporting federations, brands and sport business executives.

In 2014 I left my position at IMG to take up the full-time position of Academy Performance Manager at Fulham Football Club where I had been working as a part-time coach in the Youth Development Phase. My first big challenge in my new role was to support Huw Jennings and the rest of the Academy team in ensuring our compliance with the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) and therefore helping to protect our Academy’s Category One status. Now as Head of Player Development I work closely with Steve Wigley (Head of Coaching), managing the player development programme to ensuring we deliver on our commitments to the players.