There were some positive sounds coming from the new Swansea Chairman regarding the structure of the recruitment set up. Birch said :-
“With the loss of Graham and his team we will take this opportunity to put in place, behind the scenes, an organisational structure that will bring stability and ensure continuity so that any future managerial changes will have the minimum impact.
Therefore, I will be looking to hire a new Head of Recruitment and build a robust scouting structure, which we don’t have at present.I am going to enlist the help of professional recruiters to assist in finding the most suitable person for the position because it will play such a significant role in the future success of the club.
I would like to think that it will be a quick process, but it may not be and will depend on the suitability of available candidates and their circumstances. I am also going to appoint Leon Britton as Football Advisor to the board of directors. Together with Alan Curtis, our new Club President, he will also be part of a recruitment board that I’m putting together that will review and assess candidates and assist me in the interviewing and selection of the new manager.
This board, together with the new Head of Recruitment, will also assist in future player recruitment. Alan and Leon know more than anyone what this club is all about, so their knowledge and advice will be invaluable.
Although the Head of Recruitment will put the system in place to identify players and Alan and Leon will have their input, I must stress that the new manager will have the final say on which players we eventually sign.I am passionate about having an organisational structure and proper due process behind the scenes that is robust and sustainable and provides continuity to us going forward.”
This is quite confusing but potentially good news!! Boards are excellent ways of purchasing players. Olympic Lyonnais are the prime example of this, their structure is the model for other clubs to follow and what Birch is putting in place here sounds similar but not quite. Managers having the final say on transfers is accepted to be the best way of working in this country but is short term and generally very stupid.
The way that football works is that a manager comes in with a philosophy. Take Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool as an example, in his most recent spell at Anfield he signed Andy Carroll for £30 odd million as the strong forward (similar to Toshack) was the perfect ‘Big man’ to partner another striker in his 4-4-2 formation.
Kenny leaves, Brendan comes in and you probably couldn’t pick a player in world football to suit the former Swans managers style less than the big number 9. Carroll leaves for less than half the fee paid for him. There are examples similar in every club in almost every single new managerial appointment; wasting millions of pounds each time.
The best way, as Lyon do is to have a club ethos and style of play that the manager continues and to have a board who decide on recruitment which fits in with that style of play. In recent times, the Swans have gone through managers at a rate of over one a year. Giving the new manager ‘the final say’ may sound like a good idea but the reality is that it is far from that.
I totally approve of the idea of the board and one with Leon and Curtis on but we need to go further, be stronger and say that this is the permanent board which will select which players we sign and the manager will manage those players…… for a year and then bugger off.