Friend finishes playing to become Bristol Rovers Director of Football

George Friend: Started out at Bristol Rovers as a youngster

George Friend: Started out at Bristol Rovers as a youngster

FORMER Middlesbrough defender George Friend has been appointed Director of Football at League One Bristol Rovers after retiring from playing.

The 36-year-old, who represented Rovers’ Centre of Excellence as a youngster, rejoined the League One side last summer on a one-year deal and made 12 appearances.

However, a persistent injury has accelerated the club’s plan to make him their Director of Football, meaning he takes up the role with immediate effect rather than in the summer.

Eddy Jennings, the agent of former manager Joey Barton, was Rovers’ most recent Head of Football Operations before leaving along with Barton last October.

In addition, Chief Scout Chris Spendlove has been promoted to Head of Recruitment and Adam Mahoney to Head of Data and Analysis (he was previously just Head of Analysis).

Chairman Hussain AlSaeed said: "This new department is a step forward for the football club. We will give this team our full backing and all the tools they need to help us achieve success. We wish them well in their new roles.”

Friend, who played at Middlesbrough, Exeter, Doncaster Rovers and Birmingham City during a 19-year career, added: I’ve learnt something from every single person on my journey.

"I want to thank all those who helped me achieve more than I could have ever imagined - team-mates, staff, managers, owners and fans. I now remain determined and ambitious to succeed in my role here at Rovers.

"It is where I started my footballing journey as a youngster, and it feels very apt that it's where I will finish playing."

LEAGUE ONE CLUBS WITH DIRECTOR OF FOOTBALL (OR EQUIVALENT)

  • Barnsley: Mladen Sormaz (Sporting Director)
  • Blackpool: David Downes (Director of Football)
  • Bolton Wanderers: Chris Markham (Sporting Director)
  • Bristol Rovers: George Friend (Director of Football)
  • Burton Albion: NONE
  • Cambridge United: Ben Strang (Sporting Director)
  • Carlisle United: NONE
  • Charlton Athletic: Andy Scott (Director of Football)
  • Cheltenham Town: NONE
  • Derby County: NONE
  • Exeter City: Marcus Flitcroft (Technical Director)
  • Fleetwood Town: NONE
  • Leyton Orient: Martin Ling (Director of Football)
  • Lincoln City: Jez George (Head of Football)
  • Northampton Town: NONE
  • Oxford United: NONE
  • Peterborough United: Barry Fry (Director of Football)
  • Portsmouth: Rich Hughes (Director of Football)
  • Port Vale: David Flitcroft (Director of Football)
  • Reading: Mark Bowen (Head of Football Operations)
  • Shrewsbury Town: Micky Moore (Director of Football)
  • Stevenage: Leon Hunter (Director of Football)
  • Wigan Athletic: Gregor Rioch (Sporting Director)
  • Wycombe Wanderers: Tom Holder (Head of Football Operations)


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