Phil Finney Becomes Performance Director

Phil Finney Becomes Performance Director

15th October 2018

Widnes Vikings have appointed Phil Finney to the newly-created position of Performance Director.

In this role, Phil will take responsibility for setting and maintaining Widnes Vikings’ strategy, processes and culture, from youth levels through to the first team, working closely with the club’s first team Head Coach.

Phil previously held the position of Head of Youth Performance at Widnes Vikings, playing an integral role in the development of the club’s successful Academy system, which has been continually independently rated as Outstanding by the RFL. Under Phil’s stewardship, the academy system developed 25 players who represented Widnes Vikings at Super League level and has become a vital pillar of the club’s overall strategy.

Prior to his 2009 appointment at Widnes Vikings, Phil was a Lead Performance Analyst for the Rugby Football League (RFL) and teacher. With an academic background in sport science, psychology and education combined with a professional background in education and professional sport, Phil brings a unique set of skills, knowledge and experience to the role.

In this new position, Phil will help to develop the management of sports science, performance and data analysis to provide insight to best support the Vikings coaching team and players.

He will also facilitate greater connectivity between the academy and first team environments, helping to ensure that talented young players can progress effectively into the first-team environment and go on to fulfil their potential.

Phil Finney says: “As someone from Widnes and a life-long supporter of the club, I am incredibly proud to take on this new position. I know what the club means to local people and the proud heritage that we have, so I am fully committed to the challenge of helping the club to return to the Super League next year.

"I am excited by the opportunity to help to develop the identity, culture and practice of the club. Widnes Vikings face real constraints and we will naturally have a smaller coaching resource in The Championship, so it is important that we work with clear purpose and direction.

"I hope to support the Head Coach with strategy, analysis and insight, enabling them to focus all of their energies on the most important aspects of their role - coaching, leading and selecting the team.

"Whilst it has been a difficult time for everyone associated with Widnes Vikings, I hope that we can make this period a fresh start for the club. We have some brilliant people at this club and I believe that together we can turn things around. I want to help create an environment where every player and staff member is supported to be at their very best, and to ultimately help this great club to become a success.”

James Rule, CEO of Widnes Vikings, says: “Phil has demonstrated incredible strategic expertise and passion whilst heading up the Vikings youth system. His track-record in finding and developing talent, and promoting a culture of hard work, respect and belief, speaks for itself. Phil is ready to have a greater influence and responsibility at the club, and we believe that he can play a significant role as we aim to return the Super League next season.

"The creation of this new position is part of a reshaping of our club strategy, as we look to move on from the challenges of the past two seasons. Phil is passionate about employing best-practice, using data and analysis effectively, and promoting a culture of hard work, accountability and teamwork. This position will be of real assistance to our new Head Coach, as well as the wider coaching and staff team, and we are excited by this new direction.

"Phil has begun working with me in finalising recruitment of our first team Head Coach, and we will update our Members, supporters and partners at the earliest opportunity.” 

Phil Finney Becomes Performance Director