Bath promoted to Chelsea Director of Football Development & Operations
Written by Simon Austin — November 15, 2022
NEIL BATH has been promoted to Director of Football Development and Operations by Chelsea as their restructure continues apace.
The news was communicated to club staff via email today. Although the exact responsibilities of Bath's new role were not detailed, he will be ultimately responsible for the transition of players from Academy to first team.
Bath will remain in charge of the Academy, as he has been for the last 18 years, but a restructure will be announced shortly, with other staff taking on increased responsibilities. News of the promotion was first reported by The Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg.
The West London club have revamped their football leadership positions following the takeover by Chairman Todd Boehly and co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali in May. Director Marina Granovskaia, Technical and Performance Advisor Petr Cech and Head of International Scouts Scott McLachlan have all departed.
Meanwhile, Laurence Stewart has arrived from AS Monaco as Technical Director, Joe Shields from Southampton as Co-Director of Recruitment and Talent and Paul Winstanley from Brighton as Director of Global Talent and Transfers.
Bath was recently described as “the fabric of Chelsea” by former Premier League Head of Youth Ged Roddy MBE. The lifelong Chelsea fan joined the Blues in 1993 as a part-time schoolboy coach and went on to become their Academy Manager, in 2004, and Head of Youth Development in 2011.
During his time at the club there have been more than 20 first-team managers and hundreds of expensive signings, but Bath and his trusted assistant Jim Fraser have remained constants.
This year, the Blues topped TGG’s Academy Productivity Rankings for the first time (the rankings covered the 2021/22 season).
Bath said: “It is incredibly pleasing to see us top these ratings and it is recognition for the Academy and the club as a whole. This is something I know our new ownership will only want to build upon in the years to come.”
A host of Academy graduates, including Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James, have progressed from the Academy to to Chelsea's first team in recent seasons.
The Blues unveiled a new-look coaching set-up in their Academy this summer. Mark Robinson joined in May as Development Squad (Under-21s) Head Coach, after 18 years with AFC Wimbledon.
Jack Mesure, who joined in the summer of 2021 from Crystal Palace, is Robinson’s assistant. Ed Brand has led the U18s since the summer of 2019, with Jimmy Smith as his assistant.
Andy Myers, who has been with the Blues’ Academy for more than a decade, is now Loan Player Technical Coach, having been U23s boss for the last three years.
He replaced Tore Andre Flo, who has become manager of Sogndal in Norway. Chelsea Academy coach James Simmonds has joined the club on secondment, having enjoyed a similar stint under Robinson at AFC Wimbledon last season.