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Bi-Weekly Staff Roundup: The Key Appointments in World Football - April 26 - May 10

Bi-Weekly Staff Roundup: The Key Appointments in World Football - April 26 - May 10

It's almost crunch time at the end of the season. For the English Football League (EFL), the regular season is over and the promotion play-offs are imminent. In the UEFA Champions League, the finalists have been decided and Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund will be preparing themselves for a huge clash on Saturday 1st June. And in the Premier League, Arsenal and Manchester City continue to push each other until the very end, aiming to maximise their points haul in the most competitive title race in a decade.

But while all this drama takes place, staff and executives at every club — whether they're still fighting for relegation or promotion or their season is effectively already wrapped up — are working hard ahead of the summer. Each year, between May and August, there is a huge amount of movement behind the scenes in professional football, as clubs look to assemble the best possible backroom teams they can. 

Scouts, analysts, coaches, sporting directors, executives, and businesspeople will be brought into the fold, and departing members of staff will have to be replaced. And in our fortnightly staff roundup series, we'll be tracking all the major developments in the world of football. Below, you'll find a list of all the key appointments that have been made in the last two weeks.

Julian Ward and Pedro Marques, Fenway Sports Group

The departure of Jurgen Klopp has sparked some serious upheaval behind the scenes at Liverpool. The club's owners FSG recently brought former sporting director Michael Edwards back into the fold as CEO of Football, and Edwards has now made two key appointments to the organisation ahead of the summer. Following the news of the arrival of Richard Hughes as sporting director, The Athletic reported on Friday that Liverpool will also be boosted by the introduction of Julian Ward as FSG Technical Director and Pedro Marques as FSG Director of Football Development.

Ward was previously Liverpool's sporting director before his departure at the end of 2022/23, while Marques was Technical Director at Benfica before he left his post to join Merseyside.


Julen Lopetegui, West Ham United

Earlier this week, the departure of Europa Conference League-winning boss David Moyes from West Ham United was announced. The news was not a surprise, and rumours about who would be taking his place soon began to swirl around. On 6 May, news broke that the experienced Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui had agreed a deal to become the club's next manager. The contract has not been fully finalised yet, but it looks as though the former Wolves boss — who has also managed Real Madrid, Sevilla, Porto and the Spain international men's team — will be arriving imminently. He's set to inherit a strong squad full of talented players, but the messy nature of his departure from Wolves last summer may cause some concern amongst West Ham quarters.

Sam Jewell, Chelsea

After an underwhelming season that may not even end with European qualification, Chelsea are looking to shuffle things around this summer. The club are hoping to support head coach Mauricio Pochettino with a number of new behind-the-scenes appointments, the latest being Sam Jewell, who will assume the role of Director of Global Recruitment.

Jewell's move to Chelsea from Brighton — where he previously worked as Emerging Talent Manager and U21s Recruitment Manager before rising to the role of Head of Recruitment in February 2023 — was announced in February. However, the exact nature of his role hasn't been disclosed until now. His period of gardening leave at Brighton has ended, and the task of taking Chelsea's (previously controversial) recruitment strategy forward is underway.

Manisha Tailor, QPR

Manisha Tailor has been a pioneering figure within football over the last few years. After meeting with Chris Ramsey, she first joined Queens Park Rangers in 2016 as a part-time coach for the Under-9s team, later graduating to Assistant Head of Academy Coaching via the Premier League's Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme. Her work as the first woman of South Asian heritage to hold such a position in English football led to her being awarded an MBE for Services to Football and Diversity in Sport in 2017. Since then, she's further established her credentials by rising to Lead Foundation Phase Coach and then Head of Coaching Development at QPR.

But after over eight years with the West London club, Tailor is leaving to join Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur as International Development Coach. The move was announced earlier this week, and it represents a big step up. Alongside her new duties at Spurs, Tailor will also continue coaching on the international stage with England Women U15s.

Armand Kavaja and Damon Lathrope, Watford

When Valerien Ishmael's disappointing spell as Watford boss came to an end in March 2024, the club turned to a respected former player to turn things around. Tom Cleverley became interim head coach and after a strong start in which he lost just one of his first seven games, the club then unveiled him as the permanent head coach in late April. 

Now, Cleverley has appointed his two assistants at Watford for the upcoming season. He'll be joined by two coaches he's worked with in the past. New First Team Development Coach Armand Kavaja had previously worked as Cleverley's Assistant Manager when the former United midfielder was in charge of Watford's U18s team, and he also has experience coaching Watford Women and operating in the Academy set-up. Meanwhile, Damon Lathrope will assume the role of Assistant Head Coach after impressing as Watford Women's Head Coach and as Cleverley's Interim Assistant this season. The trio will be hoping they can turn things around and get the Hornets challenging for the play-offs again.

Dan Rice, Wycombe Wanderers

Dan Rice only joined Everton as Head of Emerging Talent last year, making the move north from Southampton. However, he’s now chosen to take on a fresh opportunity at League One side Wycombe Wanderers, who are looking to rebuild after missing out on the play-offs and the chance to be promoted to the second tier. Rice’s new title at Wycombe will be Chief Football Officer, a position that is set to involve looking after ‘football functions’, aka recruitment, Academy, coaching, first team activities, sports science and analysis. It’s a broad role, but given Rice’s prior experience at Everton, Arsenal, Wolves and the FA, he seems more than qualified to take it on.

Gary Walker, Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton & Hove Albion are a club known for their excellent behind-the-scenes recruitment, and they'll be hoping that their latest appointment will only strengthen that reputation. Gary Walker worked as Head of Strength and Conditioning at Manchester United for over a decade, before making the switch to the United States in March 2019 to become Director of Sports Performance at FC Cincinnati. It's a role he's excelled in since, helping guide a crucial period in the MLS side's growth and playing a key role in professionalising the club and helping the men's first team land the MLS Supporters' Shield in 2023.

That performance has persuaded Brighton to coax him back to the UK, where he will replace the departing Adam Brett as Head of Medical and Performance at the south coast club. Speaking on the appointment, Brighton's Technical Director David Weir praised Walker's "excellent experience… [he] share[s] our vision of the performance environment for our men's and women's staff and players."

Amy Kay, Brighton & Hove Albion

Another exciting appointment for Brighton sees Lincoln City's Amy Kay join the Seagulls as their new Foundation Phase Lead. Starting work at Brighton's Category One Academy at the beginning of May, Kay is currently the only female phase lead in male Academy football (according to Training Ground Guru). This role involves overseeing the development of players within the foundation phase of the club's Academy.

A former Lincoln City Women Captain, Kay has been working as Pre-Academy and Schoolboy Phase Lead Coach for the League One club since January 2023, and it's fair to say she has been massively impressive in this role. "In my 28 years' experience within Academy football, I don't think I have met someone who has had such an impact on a programme in such a short space of time," said Lincoln City's Head of Academy Jon Pepper. High praise indeed — Brighton will be hoping Kay can achieve the same results with her new club.

Alex Revell, Stevenage

On 9 May, it was announced that Alex Revell will take over as head coach of League One side Stevenage Borough, following the departure of Steve Evans to Rotherham. Revell (a former Stevenage player) has taken on this role on an interim basis before, in 2020-21. That first stint didn't end well, but with Revell having filled in as boss for the last two games, the club have decided to give him another chance. Now, he'll be permanent head coach going forward, with Neil Banfield and former club captain Scott Cuthbert as his assistants.

Bradley Wall, Portsmouth

Former Manchester City Northern UK Youth Scouting Manager Bradley Wall has been appointed Head of Recruitment at Portsmouth. It's an impressive step up for Wall, who joins a buoyant newly promoted Pompey team after the departure of Phil Boardman. Having worked in scouting and analysis at Rangers, the FA, and Wolves before his move to City, Wall joins the  club with plenty of experience and will report to Sporting Director Rich Hughes at his new club.

Joel Waldron, PGAAC

Former Everton Academy Manager Joel Waldron has joined the Professional Game Academy Audit Company (PGAAC) as a Leadership and Management Auditor. He was previously Academy Manager at Everton, but left the club last December after 12 years on Merseyside. His new role will be focused on helping PGAAC provide independent quality assurance for all English club academies.

Stuart Glennie, Aberdeen

Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen have appointed Stuart Glennie as their new youth academy director. Glennie previously worked as the performance coach for the Scottish FA Performance School at Hazlehead Academy; in his new role, he promises to be "relentless in the club's pursuit to be the best developer of young talent".