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What does a sporting director do?

By June 21, 2019 No Comments

Football Clubs up and down the UK are now employing Sporting directors at their clubs with 15 of the 20 teams in last season’s Premier league having a sporting director.

But many have wondered what this new role actually entails at a football club?

Sporting directors in English based football are new concept however in countries such as Germany and North America the Sporting director has been a key figure at the club for a number of years.

Case in point, in the Bundesliga all 18 teams in the division have a sporting director in place whose job is not only to manage the transfers of the team but also to manage the clubs playing philosophy from the first team down to youth level.

Michael Zorc sporting director of Borussia Dortmund stated that the role was not all about getting players to sign the dotted line but also to manage to philosophy.

It’s clear to see that the role of a sporting director has multiple benefits for clubs not only allowing the manager to concentrate on the management of the team rather than having to  deal with agents and other transfer related business but also allowing the club to have a set philosophy that won’t change if the manager leaves.


This point is raised by Brentford’s Head of recruitment and former sporting director at Bury, Lee Dykes. Dykes said “We cannot be self-sustainable if, every time there is a change of manager, all of the plans go out of the window, a big chunk of staff leaves and half the playing squad is considered a cost because the new manager wants to bring his own players in. It would just plough the football club into debt.” Dykes also said, “…but we need to be in a position where we are recruiting maybe one or two members of staff to go again and everything else stays the same.”

It’s clear to see that by having a Sporting director in place clubs can continue their progress and maintain continuity at the club even if a manager leaves.

Overall it appears that sporting directors in English football are going to become the normality and provide some much-needed suitability and provide help to the manager.

Furthermore, at our next conference on the 9th of July, we will have both Kevin Thelwell and Stuart Webber discussing the role of a sporting director and how intelligent recruitment strategies can enable teams to reach the next level.