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So who is in charge of player recruitment?

Time and again fans on the ClaretandHugh forums ask the same question: Who is responsible for the recruitment of players at the club.

It’s a perfectly justifiable question although in many cases some have decided before the question can be answered depending on how the team is performing and who they like or dislike at the club! If only life was that simple.

Here we will attempt to explain the position as we understand it although we don’t expect that it will lead to anything more than a continuing debate.

bilic2Pre-Slaven Bilic a position existed in the club where Sam Allardyce and his chief scout Martin Glover were entirely responsible, a situation with which the bord became increasingly concerned during a period when such as Modibo Maiga and Alou Diarra arrived plus loan signings such as Antonio Nocerino and Marco Borrielli.

To cut a long story short the board decided to appoint a recuritment director responsible only to themselves.  That man was of course Tony Henry and it’s fair to say that may well have led to a tension between ‘Team Allardyce’ and the Davids.

small_320_David_SullivanThe departure of Allardyce ensured that Henry was free to make hs own recommendations to David Sullivan who is effectively Director of Football as well as co chairman.

However, the key word is ‘recommendations’ because it is those of the manager which remain the most important of all and it is he who has the final say on all signings.

We cannot and will not believe that a manager – particularly one as principled as Slaven – would have it any other way.

However, we have no doubt some pretty healthy conversations no doubt go on between him, DS and Henry.

The situation then is quite simple: As the various names of player prospects arise from both Slaven and Henry, the manager will go away, consider everything, and then return to give the board the names of those he wants and the approaches and perhaps negotiations follow, led by Sullivan.

Should they break down new names come into the frame and the process continues.  Yes,  DS likes and insists on an input along with DG .

It is their money and they have bitten on the bum too many times with poor investments…although that’s always going to happen unless we live in a 2015 transfer window time warp!

The days of managers identifying the players he wants, being involved in prolonged and sometimes fruitless negotiations are long gone and quite right too. His job is to ensure the best players he can get are got by the likes of DS, DG or Karren Brady in negotiations.

Slaven has the final say but negotiating should not be his job. It’s far too time consuming when he needs to be doing his thing on the training pitch and dealing with the multitude of issues which arise in the squad.

There have been great buys – Payet, Lanzini, Antonio – and all the neccessary plaudits have been handed out.

There have been some very poor ones too such as  Jelavic, Emineke, and maybe Zarate whilst this season we should be  grateful that the talks between all parties ensured that Tore and Zaza arrived only on loan deals.

Nobody is going to get the signings 100 per cent all the time. That’s a given but this is the way it works at West Ham and from where we sit it looks pretty balanced.

And to be honest if players do fail, looking for scapegoats and playing the blame game isn’t going to change very much anyway is it?


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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

11 comments on “So who is in charge of player recruitment?

  1. So what does Tony Henry actually do? I’m not clear from reading the piece. Bilic makes recommendations and has final say on who we go for, Sullivan handles the negotiations. Is Henry just another source of player recommendations whose views are subordinate to Bilic’s?

  2. When your team isnt doing too well everything turns into a blame game im afraid.Now fans who heralded Tony Henrys work last year turn on him.The ones who said Slaven really knew his onions with the signings last summer now want to say he hasnt got a scooby about footballers.
    I find it all a tiny bit nauseating i must say.

    • Spot on Tone,well said.

    • Well that’s life – when something works you’re a genius when it doesn’t you’re an idiot – this years signings have been poor therefore whoever’s in charge of Recruitment will take the blame.

      Sullivan being virtually the Director of Football is not a good idea, he’s a Businessman who knows about his businesses and has been successful in what he knows – in Football you need people in charge who know about Football – why buy a dog and bark yourself?

      The only sensible thing they’ve done this year is to sign Zaza, Calleri and Tore on loan, which means it’s relatively easy to get rid of them now they’ve proved they’re not up to it!

  3. It’s news flavour of the month thanks to the daily telegraph. Every clubs transfer dealings will be under scrutiny. Let’s hope their are no skeletons in our closet.

  4. Theres one thing I don’t understand about our transfer policy, why is it played out in the media? When other teams sign someone its done and dusted in a few days whereas ours seem to go on forever, now whether that’s the power of social media..greedy agents, deluded players I don’t know but the window before last was very good, this one pretty awful, its not a new thing for us to sign dross, we have got a history just a shame we did it at such an important time for the club.

  5. The trouble this year is we padded out our squad with mediocre players ready for a cup we’re not in .Whoever has the final say got it wrong this year.I can’t think of one position where the new players have improved our first team over last year. COYI

    • Blimey, I agree with you – the ‘Marquee’ signing never appeared and those that did sign have not improved the quality. Injuries have crippled us again – but injuries are part of the game and have to be managed.

      The Squad has become unbalanced, little defensive cover, little attacking cover – enough!

  6. Well im sort of hoping Ayew will be an improvement on Valencia.If he aint he is going to be dire 😉

  7. Digger is right, our transfer targets are all in the public domain particularly where strikers are concerned. We Assume the grass is greener, end up with Zaza only to realise that sakho ( by now feeling even more unwanted) is by far the better player. Why did we sell Tomkins when our defence is so poor.
    As good as recruitment was last summer this year it has been **** poor.

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