The announcement that Walsall are now in the hunt for a Director of Football, pleased many fans, as it will help provide a bit more stability, and forward thinking for the club. It has been widely greeted as a positive thing, however it is new territory for Walsall. The role is exciting, and clearly is a strategic move for Leigh Pomlett, but it begs the question, what exactly is a Director of Football?
A Director of Football (DoF), is a role that can differ from club to club. Traditionally, the DoF forms part of the hierarchy at the club, that acts between the Manager/Head Coach, and the board. Across Europe, the role can be referred to as the Technical Director or Sporting Director, but all roles have similar tasks at the club.
The DoF will come to the club to help shape its future. This can come in the shape of recruitment, coaching, or staffing. It is a role that works closely with the Manager, but alleviates some of the technical side of the role, to allow the Manager to ficus on the team, coaching, and matches.
Recruitment is a big part of a the job for a DoF. They will help with a recruitment plan, and use their experience and contacts to help with bringing in players. Although they won’t be the sole member of the recruitment team, they are the driving force behind it.
What will a Director Of Football be responsible for at Walsall
Although the specific ‘day to day’ of a DoF may vary from club to club, the role at Walsall is public knowledge, which allows for some insight into what Leigh Pomlett is looking for. Here are some of the key roles, that are outlined on the job advert here:
- Key Personnel Recruitment (such as Head Coach Recruitment) in conjunction with the Board of Directors
- Training and mentoring of Head Coach
- Working alongside key personnel, manage and implement the coaching programme across the first-team and Academy
- Implement and oversee a scouting and recruitment department akin to a professional football club
The first point would imply that Leigh Pomlett will start to take more of a backseat role when it comes to recruitment. Although Pomlett will still be a key figure in this, it may hint that someone with more of a ‘football brain’, is being looked at to improve the football side of the business. This ties in with the second point, where the DoF will help train and mentor the Head Coach. Brian Dutton and Leigh Pomlett have spoken about the ‘project’ at Walsall. This will need time, and with Brian Dutton inexperienced as a Head Coach, it seems that a DoF will be there to help guide and develop Dutton, to bring the best out in him.
The final two points are slightly concerning from a fans perspective. The DoF will be looking to implement a coaching programme across the various teams, as well as a scouting and recruitment network. On paper, this seems like something that will only improve the team, however it also eludes to a lack of this in place. The club has been in decline, and the fact that Leigh Pomlett feels this needs developing, would be a good place to look as to why the side is in the bottom third of League Two.
There are other roles listed, and even the ones above will vary to what is written on the page. However it gives an insight into what Leigh Pomlett is after in the role, and how it will support the Head Coach, whether that be Brian Dutton, or someone else.