The Director of Football debate is a long standing one in England. There are a lot of cases in which it doesn’t seem to work, or more so is destined to fail.
Managers in England all too often seem to feel undermined by such a position and this can cause major problems. In saying that it is a method that can be effectively utilized by many clubs when everyone knows where they stand.
It is the reason I have been entertaining the idea. Alan Pardew seems to be under no illusions as to the power and influence he has as manager and it is blatantly obvious at this stage that as business savvy as the likes of Mike and Derek may be, the extent of their knowledge of football and ability to relate to and communicate with fans and media leaves a lot to be desired.
Obviously I am fully aware of the complete disaster that was Dennis Wise and his portfolio of YouTube clips. Besides the fact he was not qualified for the job it was a decision made without consultation with fans or even manager and was therefore ill received from the outset. That doesn’t automatically make it an option to be written off. It just means it would have to be executed well this time.
As much as the board do their best to make Geordies pull their hair out at times, there have been good decisions and appointments made behind the scenes and their financial model for the club is clear. People either agree with it or don`t. Personally I think it is the best way forward for the club at this moment in time.
I do however think we are a club that could really do with a continental management structure as the managers role itself is based more on coaching of the first team than overall management of the club in the Sir Alex Ferguson sense, and as I said the board are business men, not football men.
I am delighted with our backroom staff for the most part these days. A great scouting system in Graham Carr and his team. Peter Beardsley is in charge of the reserves and seems to be getting the best out of them. John Carver and Steve Stone as part of the first team coaching set up. A good tactician and man manager in Alan Pardew and Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias for the business and finance end of things.
I don`t like Llambias one bit as a bloke but in fairness there are very few who do like the suits upstairs at any club. In terms of his position as MD, I think while he does a good job in certain aspects he has major flaws on the football end of things which let him and us down. I think someone alongside the board with a long standing football background would solve this problem and make for a more effective running of the club.
This person should have a wealth of knowledge and experience in football, that much is a given. With that should come an extremely good reputation in football and a lot of good contacts and relationships both at home and abroad. It also has to be someone the board, and especially Pardew and the fans approve of. That is pivotal I think.
The responsibilities of this role are up for debate. What should the role entail? With the qualities listed above this person would, in my opinion, have to be instrumental in transfer negotiations, obviously once players have been put forward by Pardew and Carr.
They would also be vital in managing the relationship between board and existing players. Any contract talks or conflicts between players and board would be handled better by someone who understands and can relate to footballers rather than ruthless business men.
It would allow Pardew to concentrate on the first team alone and how to improve it while a Football Director can take the bigger picture approach to the club. Ensure the investment in the youth academy and development is reaping rewards. Ensure that there is someone on top of the football side of things at all times.
I also think they would be a valuable figure to have for fans and media. It would eliminate Pardew having to answer questions he should not be answering in the first place. A football director should have to attend press conferences in case there are questions that do not concern first team footballing matters.
I`m just spinning ideas at the moment and there is a lot of planning and questions that come with such an appointment. I would be very interested to hear what other people think.
Would it be beneficial to the club to have a Director of Football?
What should the responsibilities of the role be?
What would be the most effective method of appointing such a person?
Should it be a selection made by Pardew? By the fans? By the board?
Are there more pro`s for board or fans? Do the pro`s outweigh the con`s?
A lot more questions than answers at the moment to be honest, just something I have thought about a small bit recently.
As usual, all thoughts and insight appreciated.