Kieran Scott: Director of Football ‘controls what future looks like’
Written by Training Ground Guru — January 16, 2022
MIDDLESBROUGH Head of Football Kieran Scott says his job is to “control what the future looks like”.
The 38-year-old joined Boro in August last year from Norwich City, where he was their Head of Recruitment. His title at the Riverside is the unusual one of Head of Football, although the role is actually akin to that of the more common Sporting Director or Director of Football.
“For me, the key area for a Director of Football is the ins and outs of player transfers,” Scott told The Northern Echo. “You’ve got to look at the squad and be able to control what the future looks like.
“You’ve got players coming in from the Academy and you’ve got to make sure the path stays clear for them, and then you’ve also got your sales and purchases. You’re trying to put square pegs in square holes all the time, whether that’s an internal player or an external player that you’re recruiting.”
He explained where he comes in in the recruitment process.
“In terms of signing a player, my role really comes in right at the end, and that’s the deal,” he said. “Of course, I need to see the players and agree they’re right for the club and that the manager is on board, but the shortlisting and scouting, and the early part of the work, is done by the recruitment team underneath.
“We’ve started the process of appointing a new Head of Recruitment (a position that has been vacant since 2019), and they’ll come to me for what will effectively be the end of the process, where we can then work together and make the deals happen.”
Scott’s first big job at Boro was to help appoint a new manager after Neil Warnock was sacked in November. Former Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder came in after a "thorough process".
“It wasn’t necessarily a case of the previous manager leaving straight away, but it was clearly going to happen at some stage,” Scott said. I’d witnessed what was going on, on the pitch and on the training ground, and by the end I think there was just an acceptance that it needed new blood and new energy. It needed some new life, and for me, that meant a new manager.
“It was my job to identify candidates and analyse whether they’d be a good fit for Middlesbrough. It was clear Chris fitted the bill as to what we needed. We went through a thorough process – it wasn’t like a one-man shortlist – but as soon as I met Chris, I knew he was a great fit for the club.
“I thought his style of play would really suit us and I knew the intensity of what he would bring would be a huge lift for everybody. Without doubt, Chris was the right man for the job.”
Another responsibility of the Director of Football is to retain some continuity in the backroom staff, rather than changing them every time the manager changes, Scott added.
“If Chris does fantastic and Manchester United want to take him, he’s going to take key staff with him, there’s nothing you can do about that," he said.
“But there has to be a nucleus of staff behind that stay and help build a mentality within the club, so if there is a shift, we’re just replacing certain key staff within a structure that remains constant. That’s definitely an area where I’m still working hard to get the balance right.”