THESE days in football, there are more and more new roles popping up, such as sporting director.
While everyone knows the players’ role, the managers’ role and even what a chairman does for a club, niche roles like director of football are a complete unknown to many.
Arsene Wenger is the latest man to admit he is in the dark about what the role actually entails.
The Arsenal boss said: “Director of football? I don’t know what it means, is it someone who stands on the road and directs traffic.
“I am not prepared to talk about that, I am manager of AFC and as long as I am manager I will decide what happens on the technical front, that is it.”
With that in mind, we take a look into what a sporting director actually is and what role they play for a football club.
What is a sporting director?
A SPORTING director – or ‘director of football’ – essentially acts as a senior intermediary between the club’s manager and board.
In many ways, a sporting director may help alleviate the pressure placed on a head coach/manager by taking over some of the day-to-day chores that don’t directly relate to on-pitch action.
Although Wenger evidently disagrees with this view.
Occasionally the role involves being a close, personal adviser for a less-experienced manager – or the board of a smaller club.
The role is particularly hot in Europe and the USA, with more and more Premier League clubs jumping on the bandwagon.
What are the sporting director’s possible roles?
Figurehead – Often the role is purely to appoint a club legend in a role at a club, such as Bob Paisley at Liverpool and Matt Busby at Manchester United.
Technical director – In this instance, the man provides technical advice and assistance to a manager, perhaps in an area where the head coach is weaker.
Go-between – Usually a former coach, this man will help out with scouting and transfers, working with both manager and board to negotiate the best deal.
General manager – In rare and extreme circumstances, this role will include all football-related activities – including match-day decisions, transfer policy and so on – with the exception of financial decisions.