Director of Football. It is a title we are hearing more and more of in the world of football, with plenty of pundits having their say on rumoured positions opening up at bigger clubs, as well as the constant debate over the position of Ed Woodward at Manchester United. But one aspect of the job title very few people can tell us is: what does a director of football do?
With football continuing to mould itself from the working man’s sport into a corporate heavyweight, job positions from the bottom to the top have grown further apart and many positions have been created to fill the space in between. Ed Woodward constantly receives backlash from fans for his position, which many feel encompasses too much and spreads him too thin; handling the business side of Manchester United, as well as a hands on approach to the footballing side of the club.
A director of football’s role is as a senior management figure at a football club, but the exact nature differs from club to club. For some, the director of football acts as the middleman between a club’s manager and the board. This can help take some of the pressure off the manager, freeing them up to concentrate on coaching and on-pitch performance of the players, whilst appeasing the upper echelons of the hierarchy about the club’s finances and daily running.
For some clubs the director of football is simply an ambassador whom leads transfer negotiations and team affairs such as squad selection and coaching roles. This is often the case when a club hires a famous ex-player in the role who can give the club a philosophy that the fans will be proud of. With famous former players in the role, some see it as more of a marketing role rather than having any control over the goings on within the club.
They can also take on the role of technical director, where they can provide advice or technical direction to an inexperienced or struggling manager beneath them. Clubs in lower leagues looking to climb the ranks and gain promotion will look to a competent and experienced technical director in order to transform their club into a winning outfit.
A director of football can also step into the shoes of a departing manager in a caretaker position until another manager can be found.
The roles may vary club to club, but the role of director of football is definitely on the rise.