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Northern Ireland Euro 2016 tickets: IFA chief Patrick Nelson draws on all his experience

The Verdict

By Graham Luney

Published 11/02/2016

Respected: Patrick Nelson is highly regarded by Uefa
Respected: Patrick Nelson is highly regarded by Uefa

Patrick Nelson, the Irish Football Association's chief executive, was thrust into the eye of a ticketing storm this week. But just who is the man left to deal with this mess?

Northern Ireland fans, who were number crunching this week trying to work out what was happening with their bank accounts, may be interested to know that Patrick used to work in the banking sector so he may have been able to shed some light on their financial queries.

Patrick, regarded by Uefa as a capable operator, was born in Heanor, Derbyshire in 1960.

Educated at Heanor Grammar School and Nottingham Trent University, he has a degree in Business Studies. 

Patrick started his business life in 1978 at East Midlands Electricity in the IT department, moving to work in financial services at American Express in 1985.

He worked in various roles at Amex including customer services, sales and strategic planning before moving to MasterCard International as General Manager for the UK and Ireland in 1992.

In 1996, Patrick helped to set up Capital One Bank in Europe, initially as Head of Operations and then as Director of Corporate Communications.

He left Capital One in mid-2004 to take up a one-season contract as Chief Executive of Notts County Football Club, leaving in June 2005. From April 2006 Patrick was Chief Executive of then League Two side Macclesfield Town Football Club. The Silkmen suffered relegation to the Conference Premier in 2012.

At the time, Macclesfield chairman Mike Rance thanked Nelson for his contribution to the Cheshire club, saying: "It has been much appreciated by the board. He brought a level of professionalism to the club behind the scenes that will stand us in good stead for the future."

Nelson commented: "Being the chief executive of a Football League club is a privilege.

"It's not an easy job as it requires you to take decisions that are often not universally popular.

"The most important thing I learned was I had to keep the place on an even keel from a financial perspective."

Patrick has been a director of Visa UK, Sport England East Midlands, Nottingham Development Enterprise and Experience Nottinghamshire.

He was also director of the Football League Trust, and Chair of the Greater Nottingham Skills Board.

Patrick has always been a passionate football fan - he's a massive Derby County supporter and still follows the Rams when he can.

On May 22, 2009 the Irish FA confirmed that Patrick was to be handed the top job at the Irish FA and he officially took up his position on August 3 that year. He said: "I made a career change five years ago to get out of banking where I spent 20 odd years working in the banking/credit card sector.  I've always loved football, I've been a fan all my life."

To his credit, Patrick did stress the seriousness of this matter to Uefa and as a result 930 extra tickets will be made available for fans who are on a priority list.

But he knows it won't be long before more big questions will need answered.

Belfast Telegraph

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