18 Jan

After 19 years in the professional game, former Leicestershire and Lancashire captain Paul Horton has begun a new journey into the world of business. 

Horton, who scored nearly 17,000 runs across all formats in his career, had previously put the building blocks in place for life after cricket by taking on an ongoing Master’s in Sport Directorship at Manchester Metropolitan University. 

Horton spoke to the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) about studying the degree during the final two years of his playing career, which ended in October 2020, before accepting a job at renewable logistics firm TRAILAR. 

Horton explained “TRAILAR is a solar transport logistics company working within that sector. (originally it was a subsidiary of DHL). I joined the commercial team in a business development role to help out on the commercial side and bring in the revenue needed to move the business forward. I recently changed into more of an account management role after being with the business for two months. I essentially bring in new business as well as managing existing business accounts, working in a commercial team aiming to bring in over £6,000,000 worth of revenue in 2021. It’s a fast-moving environment with an ever-changing dynamic”. 

“It came about through a conversation with a contact of mine who I knew from club cricket. Like a lot of professional athletes, I have an interest in property so I did some work experience with a development company up in Scotland to see what that world was like. I also did some work with retail company Kingfisher, both of these being during the past two years or so”. 

“I would advise anyone playing the game to go and do that because I found it invaluable to find out what skills were needed and what I did and didn’t like. Those experiences helped me to understand where I wanted to go after cricket”. 

Horton backed that work experience up with some formal qualifications as well, having nearly finished a Master’s in Sport Directorship. 

“I started the master’s at Manchester Metropolitan University two years ago, partly because I wanted a challenge, but also because I wanted to understand more about business and that side of sport because I think there’s real value in it for me moving forward. I’m not far away from completing my dissertation, which I will be very proud of since I didn’t do an undergraduate degree”. 

“I had a lot of doubts which continued throughout the course, but every time I handed in a piece of work I got better and better and I’ve managed to get through it, but I’ve still got to tick off the last hurdle which is the dissertation. It’s been a wonderful experience”. 

“Your experience as a professional sportsperson gives you a unique perspective on things. You’re punctual, driven, results-orientated, all those things a sportsperson has to be, and that really allows you to go through the gears in business. You’re willing to do things that other people might not and you can cope with certain stresses and pressures”. 

“Having been through that journey and listened to older players saying you need to do personal development, you just don’t really absorb it as a young player. As a cricketer, you need to find a balance. You do need to travel the world and play, but there’s also times where you can get work experience – there’s more to life than being a professional cricketer”. 

“My advice would just be to take every opportunity. That time between the end of the season and Christmas should be used for personal development – I really don’t see any downsides to doing it”. 

John Stephenson 


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