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Damian J Irvine (born 25 May 1974), Sydney, Australia) is an Australian businessman and sporting administrator.


Early lifeEdit

Irvine was born in Sutherland, southern Sydney, and attended Yarrawarra school, where he began a life-long affiliation with the Cronulla Sharks.

He relocated to Bathurst for his formative years, attending Kelso Public and the Scots School, Bathurst, where he represented in hockey, football, rugby and diving.

He played football with the renowned Bathurst 75 football club and was a member of the 1992 dual first and reserve grade NSW football title-winning teams.

In 1993 Irvine joined Northern Suburbs Rugby and relocated to Sydney.

Business careerEdit

in 1993 Irvine joined the pre-opening team at The Observatory Hotel, part of the sea containers and Venice-Simplon Group as concierge.

In 1995 he was awarded the Premiers Service Award by Bob Carr for services to the hospitality industry before training in fashion and design and taking over Skindeep Clothing, a small tailoring and fashion business in Sydney, in 1996.

Under his guidance Skindeep Clothing became a multi-site men's fashion company specialising in custom-made suiting and costume production and design for locally produced and shot films such as The Matrix, Superman Returns, The Hard Word, Dirty Deeds, numerous television series and music concept and design work with acts such as Silverchair, Looking Through a Glass Onion for John waters and Human Nature and the Bell Shakespeare Company.[1]

During his time as director of Skindeep Clothing, Damian lectured and mentored students at Sydney's renowned Fashion Design Studio at East Sydney College of TAFE.

His life-long support of the Cronulla Sharks saw Skindeep become long-term sponsors of the club from 1997.

Irvine took up an interest in Thoroughbred racing and breeding in 1996.

In 1997 Irvine founded the Acquiesce Group, a consultancy company.[2]

Sports administrationEdit

Cronulla SharksEdit

In 2009 Irvine became chairman of the Cronulla Sharks NRL club when the club's financial position was listed as critical and media and brand damage around player behaviour and poor governance by the CEO, chairman and head coach attracted huge media interest in the failing club's future viability.[3]

A new board was appointed by Irvine and along with his financial director Craig Douglas and Keith Ward, Irvine won the support of the club's financers St.George Bank to trade the club out of the large debt and year on year losses the previous directors had accrued.[4]

Irvine's commitment and commercial expertise attracted much-needed sponsorship and revenue to the club.[5][6]

On 26 August 2012 Irvine's strategy of leveraging the club's property assets and savvy business management of the club delivered a property deal that cleared the club's debt and positioned the Sharks as a financial force for future generations.[7][8]

In March 2013 Irvine stood down from his position as Club Chairman on learning of questionable duty of care and ethical practices applied by head coach Shane Flanagan and his staff. The decision by Irvine and his board to sack key management staff and suspend Flanagan on learning of their breaches of protocol and ASADA and WADA rules in 2011 was unpopular at the time and was made three days before the season opening match against the Gold Coast Titans, but was proven to be prudent and correct when long investigations by the NRL and government agencies subsequently suspended Flanagan from the sport for twelve months and sanctioned the other staff involved.[9][10]

Notts County FCEdit

In 2014 Irvine was approached to change codes and join English Football League club Notts County F.C., where he successfully restructured the club commercially and was awarded the Best Club Marketing Award at the Football Business Awards 2014.[11][12][13]

Wycombe Wanderers FCEdit

Irvine joined Wycombe Wanderers FC in 2015 and was heralded as "the club's most significant and important signing on or off-field in recent memory" by then-Chairman Andrew Howard.[14] Wycombe Wanderers were in a difficult period, having been taken over by a supporters trust after a period of financial instability.[15] Irvine delivered significant commercial partnerships including the first major EFL kit sponsorship deal with O'Neills,[16] a major shirt sponsorship with Utilita Energy,[17] kit sponsorships with Cherry Red Records[18] and Origin Global, extensions with Beechdean Icecreams,[19] and other community and medical partnerships with BMI Healthcare and Wycombe Leisure Centre.[20]

It was announced in February 2018 that Irvine was departing Wycombe after completing the club's five-year plan for commercial restructuring and growth, and the on-field target of Gareth Ainsworth's team achieving promotion to League 1 of the EFL.[21] [22]

Bradford Bulls RLFCEdit

In 2016 Irvine was linked with the Bradford Bulls Rugby League Club as a potential director.[23] After an administration period Irvine was brought to Bradford by the RFL to assist the new ownership set up a competitive structure. Irvine joined the club Fulltime in March 2018 leading into the season which saw Bradford Bulls Promoted back in the RFL Championship.[24][25]

Bradford (Park Avenue) FCEdit

In October 2018 after an initial due dilligence period, Irvine was installed to run the National League North Football club Bradford (Park Avenue) as part of a partnership between the Bradford Bulls and Bradford (Park Avenue).[26] It was reported by the organisations that Irvine's "Vast Experience" on both Football and Rugby would benefit the organisation[27] . At the time Bradford (Park Avenue)[28] owner Gareth Roberts[29] had advised supporters that he could , or would, no longer fund the large year on year losses the club was incurring, and that he needed a new strategy and direction for the club in order to make it sustainable.[30][31][32]

Irvine announced new Sponsorships with Utilita[33] and the University of Bradford[34] and appointed Player Manager Garry Thompson[35] in a comprehensive restructure. It was also announced that new relationships with Upper Tier Clubs would be pivotal to the future of the club.

In late July 2019 Irvine left Bradford (Park Avenue) having ended his consultancy period with the club. It was reported that his brief on arrival was " To turn around Avenue's finances and it is understood the club is now in a more sustainable position [36]


  1. ^ "Great returns". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  2. ^ "About". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Cronulla appoints new chairman". NewsComAu. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  4. ^ "Herald Sun". Herald Sun. 29 July 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  5. ^ Parker, Sandra (2012-09-08). "Big Sharks deal born in Bathurst". Western Advocate. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  6. ^ "New sharks Sponsor". Courier Mail.
  7. ^ Lane, Daniel (2012-11-24). "Salvation in $400m deal for Cronulla". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  8. ^ Walter, Brad (2012-08-28). "Sharks here to stay as $300m plan gets green light". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  9. ^ Davidson, John (2016-09-29). "Forgotten Shark: former Cronulla boss Damian Irvine cheering from afar | John Davidson". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  10. ^ "Sharks chairman quits club". 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  11. ^ Proszenko, Adrian (2014-03-22). "Former Cronulla chairman Damian Irvine joins English football club Notts County". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  12. ^ "Irvine Leaves The Club To Pursue New Opportunities - News - Notts County FC". Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  13. ^ "Irvine Appointed Commercial Consultant - News - Notts County FC". Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  14. ^ "Damian Irvine joins as Head of Commercial Activities - News - Wycombe Wanderers". Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  15. ^ Clarke, Matt (2012-09-21). "Fan ownership: how we took control of our football club". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  16. ^ "O'Neills come on board as new official kit supplier". Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  17. ^ Ltd, Sportsglobal (UK) (2017-07-06). "Wycombe Wanderers sign away kit sponsorship". Football Trade Directory. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  18. ^ "Blues agree sponsorship deal with record label". Bucks Free Press. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  19. ^ "Beechdean extend Wycombe Wanderers shirt sponsorship for 2017/18 season - Beechdean Ice Cream". Beechdean Ice Cream. 2017-05-16. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  20. ^ "Partnerships - Wycombe Wanderers". Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  21. ^ "Wycombe Wanderers promoted to League One after comeback win over Chesterfield". The Sun. 2018-04-28. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  22. ^ "Damian Irvine departs Adams Park". Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  23. ^ "Irvine linked with move to buy Bradford Bulls". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  24. ^ "Mascord Meets ... Damian Irvine (Bradford Bulls consultant) via @LeagueWeekly". Mascord Brownz. 2018-10-02. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  25. ^ "Odsal to host extravaganza of sport on Sunday | The Bolton News". Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  26. ^ "The ex-NRL chairman's foray into English football". The World Game. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  27. ^ "Key role for Irvine as Bradford Bulls and Bradford (Park Avenue) join forces". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  28. ^ "Bradford (Park Avenue) announce new ownership status and board additions". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  29. ^ "Football club to 'face reality' and return to private ownership". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  30. ^ "'The club is ready to go up' – In depth with Bradford (Park Avenue) CEO Damian Irvine | Non League Daily". Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  31. ^ "Bradford (Park Avenue) Announce Steps To 'Future Proof' Club - The Vanarama National League". Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  32. ^ "Bradford Park Avenue to remain at Horsfall". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  33. ^ "Bradford (Park Avenue) announce Utilita Energy as major shirt sponsor for season". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  34. ^ "University of Bradford become new shirt sponsors of Bradford (Park Avenue)". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  35. ^ "Garry Thompson on why he jumped at Bradford (Park Avenue) job". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  36. ^ "Bradford (Park Avenue) fans await clarification after shock Damian Irvine exit". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 2019-08-06.