EPL Premier League

Has Jobe Got the Potential to Reach the Heights of Jude?

Has Jobe Got the Potential to Reach the Heights of Jude?


“50 first team appearances as a second year scholar. It’s a decent start’ Jobe’s father, Mark, understatedly tweeted after his youngest son made his 50th senior appearance at the stripling age of just 18. But with Real Madrid superstar and Ballon d’Or favourite Jude Bellingham as an older brother, it can be easy to ignore how comfortably Jobe has transitioned into men’s professional football.


Jude, three years senior to Jobe, already has the world at his feet. Winning the UEFA Golden Boy award in 2023 and having the English national media purring at not just his almost Zidane esque eloquence displayed on the biggest stage, but his humility, leadership skills, and the way he seemingly remains grounded despite arguably starting his career in a more sensational way that any English player has ever done before.


Settled upbringing


It is important to notice that while Jobe, at his tender age, has not dazzled on the global stage, he has many of the same personality traits admired about Jude and experienced the same settled childhood his Real Madrid brother accredited for his early success.


Speaking in a 2020 documentary with Birmingham City, the club where the brothers rose through the youth ranks to make their debut, Jude cited loving parents, the strong emphasis they placed on the brothers schooling education, and the freedom to express himself creatively helped round him as a person.


Teachers and coaches shared gushing reviews of the Bellingham parents, Mark and Denise, for their intelligence and dedication to helping their sons. Coaches claimed they were not invasive, as many parents of academy starlets can be, but desperate to learn as much about the industry to help guide their sons through the early stages of their careers.


Clever planning


As evidenced by Jude’s carefully curated career, transfers have been made at the right times and for the right reasons to clubs that will facilitate development. Jobe will benefit equally from his parents’ guidance and knowledge of the industry to make the correct moves.


We can already see this coming to fruition after the youngster left Birmingham City for a fresh start with Sunderland last summer. Then manager Tony Mowbray had built a reputation in recent years for playing expansive football, giving opportunities to young talents, and allowing them to make mistakes.


Upon arrival at Sunderland, it was clear that Jobe wanted to build his own legacy and break free from the looming shadow of his Real Madrid brother, opting to accompany his no.7 jersey with Jobe rather than Bellingham. Undoubtedly a move not done out of any disrespect towards his family, but an enticement of the dedication to prove himself in his own right and not simply be the younger brother to Jude.


Progress at Sunderland


So far, the younger Bellingham brother is moving along the right track. This season Jobe has managed 4 goals in his 25 Championship appearances, displaying versatility in various tactical roles such as operating as a false 9, a traditional striker, and even dropping into deeper midfield areas. While, perhaps, Jobe would like to claim a position and make it his own, he possesses a similar range of physical and technical attributes his brother, which made it difficult for BVB coaches to work out the area he would best flourish in.


What stands out most to former manager Tony Mowbray is Jude’s eagerness to learn ‘His greatest asset is he wants to learn. He’s 17 but he asks questions every day of the coaches – why am I doing this? Where do I go? What do you want me to do? He’s a joy to work with really and I’m just so pleased he’s scored some goals and helped the team win.’, the 60-year-old former Sunderland manager suggested.


So, how far can Jobe go?


While Jobe would like to add more goals to his game, at 18 he’s made an impressive start. His list of admirers is growing, Tottenham Hotspur are monitoring his progress, and Real Madrid are reportedly considering adding a second Bellingham to their collection. Jobe has all the right traits but is still very young and raw, so time will tell just how far he can go.


EPL Premier League

Should VAR be given the red card or is it working well?

Since its introduction by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in 2018, the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in the higher levels of professional football has been met with varying degrees of acceptance, reluctance, disappointment or despair across the game globally.

The original intention was, of course, to assist match referees in their decision making but only in the event of a ‘clear and obvious error’ or a ‘serious missed incident’. These events or incidents only include Goal/no goal; Penalty/no penalty; Direct red card (not a second yellow card or caution); and Mistaken Identity (if a
referee cautions or sends off the wrong player).

It is important to note that VAR decisions are made by appropriately qualified match officials who are watching the game via live broadcast in an isolated room in a central location far from the match venue. This removes any emotional context from any decision by VAR that the actual match referee might be experiencing from either or both sets of supporters in the actual stadium.

The actual definition of ‘clear and obvious error’ might be a major point for discussion simply because many of the decisions that are scrutinised often seem much less clear and certainly not obvious, despite the use of video examination which is often slowed to less than match speed without giving obvious conclusions to aid the referee in his initial verdict. Often, VAR recommendations are made to the match official that are unobvious to the naked eye when viewing at ground level in the heat of the contest.

For all those invested in a particular game, the sheer elation of a goal being scored, and subsequent celebrations, can often be muted as the decision is mooted by VAR and the match referee. More importantly, games (and associated league points) have been won or lost by decisions that have later been adjudged, after great scrutiny, to be blatantly incorrect.

Given the seemingly current disappointment with VAR from many aspects of the game’s shareholders (e.g. players, coaches, spectators), there appears to be three options available to IFAB with regards to the future of VAR:

‘Play On’ – IFAB continue with VAR in its existing format; it may not be perfect, but it gets more decisions right than not and more than assists a referee to make more accurate decisions than would occur without VAR intervention.

‘Yellow Card’ – IFAB proceed with caution and with considered amendments to the current VAR model. It could perhaps allow spectators, players and technical staff the opportunity to hear the discussions between the match referee and the remote VAR (as in Rugby Union) to potentially better understand the mechanics behind each decision referred to or taken up by VAR.

Perhaps the VAR model could also be enhanced with the inclusion of a former professional player on the VAR panel who has appropriate experience of playing at the respective level of the game at the highest level of domestic or international football depending upon the type of game being observed. The inclusion of a former player may add an additional dimension to the decision-making process by giving a player’s perspective of any given situation outwith the laws of the game (e.g. the timing of a challenge, malicious intent, intrinsic or extrinsic factors affecting the player’s actions).

‘Red Card’ – IFAB negate the use of VAR completely and return to the historical methods of trusting the match officials, managed by the referee, to come to their decisions without the need or assistance of an external influence.

These options are no doubt discussed on a regular basis by IFAB as they seek the most efficient and accurate methods by which to effectively manage and officiate each game involving VAR. In so doing, they hold the key to making the Beautiful Game an even more enjoyable experience.

What would be your preferred course of action regarding the future of VAR: Play on; Yellow card; or Red card?

This key issue affecting football, and many more like it, could be taken to the millions of spectators and fans who enjoy the game to seek their personal opinions. Directors Box, the exciting new football go-to application, offers fans the opportunity to create their own polls and petitions relating to their specific club or country, or more generic football matters, to gather and measure supporter opinion.

In addition, Directors Box offers a one-stop tool for all football fans by facilitating immediate club-specific news, game updates, competitions and much more!

EPL Premier League

Is Fan Ownership the Model Answer to Club Management?

Football is known globally as ‘The Beautiful Game’, although it can often be an ugly industry.


Football has its unfortunate history of corruption and mismanagement when even the most powerful individuals and organisations have fallen foul of the laws of governance.


In order to negate such nefarious individuals or groups from purchasing and thus controlling clubs, the English Premier League, English Football League and Scottish Football League instigated a ‘Fit and Proper Persons Test’ in 2004. In the case of the EFL, they administer a 3-point ‘Acquisition of Control & Owners’ & Directors’ Test.


Despite these tests, clubs have fallen into the hands of persons who have not had the best interests of the football club, nor its supporters, at heart. Indeed, due to sheer mismanagement of these owners, some clubs have been penalised by points deductions and subsequently forced into relegation and or administration.


At club level, the outcomes often far exceed the mere financial punishments afforded to the offending institution. And the individuals who often pay the greatest price are not the club owners nor the shareholders, but the die-hard fan for whom the club means everything. These fans have typically supported their respective club since being introduced to the game, often by parents or other family members, and as such, the club has a rich heritage not only in the town or city in which it is situated, but throughout the family’s history. Each supporter is not only invested traditionally and emotionally, but also financially by the regular and expected purchasing of tickets, replica kits, merchandise, etc., all of which help the club to gain revenue.


The effect of a poorly performing team on the pitch is disappointing enough to most fans, but to see their club potentially demise as an entity and go out of business completely is unthinkable.


Certain clubs incorporate a representative body of their supporters on the board of directors and others offer or incorporate a certain lower percentage of shares to their Supporters’ Trust as a way of showing belonging and loyalty to the club’s fan base whilst also giving fans a voice to be heard on certain club decisions.


Other models exist in Europe where the supporters’ membership body own the minimum of the controlling 50 plus 1% of shares as well as, and despite, external investment. These clubs are often shown as ‘best-practice’ in that they manage to keep costs to fans to a minimum (tickets, refreshments, memorabilia) whilst still enjoying profit in the boardroom and success on the pitch.


Some other clubs are family owned and have been traditionally passed from generation to generation to ensure that the club is looked after in the best interests of owner and supporter alike.


The models of ownership vary from club to club and country to country and the most effective method is always debatable. Would you prefer your club to adopt a 50 plus 1% fan membership-owned model or are you happy with it being owned and run by an external concern?


This key issue affecting football, and many more like it, could be taken to the millions of spectators and fans who enjoy the game to seek their personal opinions. Directors Box, the exciting new football go-to application, offers fans the opportunity to create their own polls and petitions relating to their specific club or country, or more generic football matters, to gather and measure supporter opinion. In addition, Directors Box offers a one-stop tool for all football fans by facilitating immediate club-specific news, game updates, competitions and much more

EPL Premier League

Fan Engagement is Essential for the Future of Football

Supporters are the lifeblood

Football club owners, managers, coaches and players are generally transient.  Their tenure at any given football club is relatively short term compared to its fan-base. Fans typically remain loyal for life and be its constant lifeblood.  Fan engagement is essential to keep satisfied supporters.


Generational inheritance of support for a club is usually handed down through heritage of family ties.  Often by way of an informal introduction by a relative or close friend, or by simple geographical location.


Its a lifelong commitment

Support for your team is usually a lifelong commitment. This can range from the exceptionally committed fanatic who attends every game, home and away, season after season.  Or,  the occasional supporter who might follow the club’s fortunes and daily business from afar, probably online.  They take more than a passing interest in the club’s affairs both on and off the field of play. Regardless of their supporter status, all fans are invested in the club at varying levels of commitment. 


Given that fans are the indispensable factor of a football club, it would therefore be prudent practice by all clubs to engage with their supporter base on a regular basis.  This ensures that supporters’ views are considered by their respective club’s board of directors.  This theory is one of the recommendations of the recent of the Fan-led Review of Football in England (2022).  This was endorsed in the corresponding Government white paper.


As with any successful business model, listening and acting upon your customers’ requirements and suggestions should be a fundamental principle to ensure customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction would probably bring even further investment by football fans both emotionally and financially. 


Fan Engagement

Fan engagement caters for the supporter’s needs before, during and after each game. This should be a premium end-to-end service. This service might include the following:


Pre-match: In the days leading up to the forthcoming game, fans will want updates. These updates would include team selection, injuries status, ticketing, travel arrangements, opposition information and analysis.  Also potential participation in quizzes, score forecasting, polls, projected team line-up, likely goal scorers, etc.


In-match: During the game, fans attending the game at the stadium will a high-quality customer experience that caters for all their needs. Ideally, the club will provide all of the services that a supporter will want, and to negate them having to use third party services, be it refreshments, catering, merchandise, entertainment, etc. Fans who are unable to attend the game in person will want minute-by-minute match updates incorporating team line ups, commentary and scores. 


Post-match: After each game, fans might want to check on results from other games in their respective league. They may check the latest league table, discuss the game with other like-minded supporters and possibly hold a poll or petition directly relating to the recent game or wider club matters. 


Given football’s global reach to an estimated 3.5 billion fans, the responsibility by clubs (and national teams) to ensure a premium fan engagement experience should surely be a priority for all of the industry’s gatekeepers. 


Directors’ Box an app for football fan engagement

Directors’ Box, the exciting and excellent new go-to football fan engagement application.  This takes football to the millions of spectators and fans who love the ‘Beautiful Game’ whilst actively supporting football at the grassroots level.


The platform offers a one-stop tool for all football fans by facilitating immediate club-specific news, game updates, interactive competitions and much more! 


Directors’ Box encourages fans’ opinions and offers supporters the opportunity to create their own polls and petitions relating to their specific club or country.  They can also engage in more generic football matters, to gather and measure supporter opinion. 

Premier League Uncategorized

Directors’ Box Mobile App Support

Directors’ Box Support

Directors’ Box operates a ticketing system for management of support. This is the best and quickest way to make sure your support queries are dealt with quickly and efficiently.  Click Here to log a support ticket.


If you prefer to send your support queries by email, email to with details of your support enquiry.