Technical Direction

The Daily Mirror reports that “Manchester United are stepping up their search for a new technical director” (link). The search for United’s first ever Technical Director has gone on for over a year. It involves bringing in a former player “who understands the culture of the club”.

The role was originally described as a Director of Football charged with long-term planning of recruitment. There is a suggestion that the role is now one in which the Director would form part of a recruitment team, alongside the manager, and others (link).

The Daily Mirror notes “the new Technical Director would fit in within that structure rather than take it over because there is a strong feeling at Old Trafford they had a good summer which pushed the club in the right direction” (link).

Andrew Cave (2019) notes that a number of other teams have appointed Directors.

  • Manchester City: Txiki Begiristain (link).
  • Liverpool: Michael Edwards (link).
  • Chelsea: Petr Cech (link).
  • Arsenal: Edu (link).
  • Paris Saint-Germain: Leonardo (link).
  • Barcelona: Eric Abidal (link)
  • Bayern Munich: Hasan Salihamidzic (link).
  • Juventus: Fabio Paratici (link).
  • RB Leipzig: Paul Mitchell (link).
  • Ajax: Marc Overmars (link).

Andrew notes that “Winning eras are characterised by healthy funding, shrewd signings, solid coaching, strong, characterful management and an X factor that brings to life all that dull talk about talent management and the ability to motivate and steer a team”.

It will be interesting to see how each of these Directors bring their vision to these winning eras. A key issuse for me is how successful players transition into the roles that are being created and are able to guide the transformation that all of them seek.

There is a Football Association Level 5 qualification. The course has six modules with in-club support provided by an FA tutor. There are twenty-five contact days in total as a group, with workshops based at St. George’s Park and visits to high performing organisations and visits hosted by clubs. There is a three-day study to Europe. 

The learning outcomes for the course are: 

  • Self-awareness and its impact on leadership
  • Leadership philosophy and application
  • Understanding of high-performing teams
  • Knowledge and awareness of world-leading insights into first team performance recruitment, academy, and science and medicine departments
  • Appreciation of club infrastructure and alignment of resources to deliver sustainable success
  • Understanding and application of the rules, regulations and governance
  • Long-term people development skills and succession planning

There is a prospectus available for the course (link).

Photo Credits

Red Seat at Old Trafford (Gordon Ednie, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Txiki Begiristain (BBC)

Prospectus (FA)


Martin Buchheit has posted a survey about Performance Jobs (link). He writes:

The number of “performance staff” has grown exponentially over the past years in elite clubs. While there is no doubt that these positions are created to improve long-term club processes, staff communication, and in turn, players and team performances, an important confusion exists with regard to the actual roles of those professionals. There is a feeling that there may be as many job titles as structures, and there are also large variations in role (job description) within the same job title! To try to shed a bit of light upon this area, I am hoping you will be willing to fill with full honesty this very short (5 min max) questionnaire. Importantly, the job profiles examined here are club-based …

He adds:

All results will obviously remain anonymous – before getting summarized in a global article on the topic that will be published in an open-access journal (likely SPSR).

Simon Austin (25 September 2019) (link) shared news of Peter Moore’s talk at the World Football Summit in Madrid. In that talk, Peter highlighted “how the European champions have combined data and analysis with traditional scouting and human judgement to create success”. There is a recording of Peter’s interview at the Summit (link).


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