MANY youngsters find themselves leaving school and joining the family business. In that sense Jack Sullivan is no different to thousands of others, except in his case dad is the billionaire David Sullivan and the family ‘firm’ is West Ham United Football Club.
Sullivan Sr, who made his fortune in publishing and property is, along with David Gold, co-owner of the Hammers — he’s the one often found wearing a Russian hat, whereas Mr Gold is the one always found wearing a beard.
Having hung up his school bag at 16 and tried various roles at the club, Jack was catapulted into the role of managing director of the women’s team in 2017 at the tender age of 18.
In the BBC Three series Britain’s Youngest Football Boss, we get to follow him and his female Hammers as they navigate their way through the inaugural season of the FA’s revamped Women’s Super League, which is a step or two up from their old home in the third tier.
This behind-the-scenes documentary is an evolving one with episodes released throughout the season. Last month’s opener found our fledgling MD having to cope with the loss of his right-hand woman, general manager Karen Ray, who left to pursue ‘other opportunities’ just as the season was set to get under way.
The latest, episode three, offers hope with a first win of the campaign, a 2-1 victory over Yeovil, although it proves to be fairly short lived as an injury crisis and a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City soon bring the side back down to earth.
When we’re not sharing the highs and lows of coach Matt Beard and his team, Jack is giving us a guided tour of his parents’ palatial home. At times it’s a little more Through the Keyhole than fly-on-the-wall but, in young Mr Sullivan, BYFB has an amiable frontman. Whether that’s still the case at the business end of the season, only time will tell.