Leeds draft in Hammond as interim football advisor
Written by Simon Austin — June 15, 2023
NICK HAMMOND has been appointed interim football advisor at Leeds United - the same job he did at Newcastle United last year.
The 55-year-old, who was previously Director of Football at Reading and Head of Football Operations at Celtic, will support Leeds during the summer transfer window.
The Yorkshire side have been without a Director of Football since Victor Orta stepped down towards the end of last season. In a statement, they said they aimed to appoint a replacement by October, “allowing the successful candidate to focus on the January transfer window.”
Hammond’s stint at Newcastle - during which he navigated the January 2022 transfer window before Dan Ashworth came in as permanent Technical Director - was regarded as a major success.
During that window the club brought in four new signings - Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimarães and Dan Burn - as well as Matt Targett on loan.
Hammond explained the role when he appeared on TGG’s Scouting and Recruitment Webinar last year.
“Newcastle came (to me) a couple of weeks before the beginning of December,” he said. “To me, it was a really interesting and quite exciting opportunity to come and work with the new owners, of which there are three groups; with Eddie Howe, who I knew from being in the game for a long time; and Steve Nickson, an extremely good, experienced Head of Recruitment.
WATCH Nick Hammond speak at the 2022 Scouting and Recruitment Webinar. There are SEVEN sessions:
- Victor Orta: Methodology & resources.
- Dave Webb: Considering character.
- Stevie Grieve: Incorporating analytics.
- Neil Whitbread: Performing due diligence.
- Panel (Nick Hammond, Ben Knapper & Ben Stevens): Squad building & managing pathways.
- Sam Goldberg: Building a data-driven culture.
- Tom Goodall: End-to-end scouting & recruitment workflows.
“This was a second time I’d provided a consultancy service for a team through a window. The first time I did was with Celtic through the summer 2019 window (which led to him being appointed as their Technical Director).
“Newcastle have a long-term plan, for sure, but they had a short-term problem when we were going into the January window. They were approaching the January window and looking for someone who had a degree of experience navigating trough the complexities of any transfer window, let alone a January window.
“My job, really, was to advise the owners in relation to the players, the due diligence around the players and the financial aspects of the deals they were trying to complete.
“I said to the guys at the start, this will be the hardest transfer window you’ll probably ever have, because you are literally a group of people coming together in a very short space of time and having to hit the ground running.
“Fortunately there’s a very experienced Head Coach there, a very clear thinking guy, very precise in terms of what he wants and what he wanted, which is critical for a Head Coach - that clarity that comes from them is massively important. Fortunately Eddie Howe gave that to the people dealing with the transfer window at Newcastle.
“My role (at Newcastle) was a little bit more in the background than I would be as a normal Sporting Director. As a Sporting Director over my career I would lead the discussions, lead the negotiations with potential signings.
“This role was sort of a step removed from that, doing the checks and balances in the background, having an opinion on the players who had already been identified by Steve Nickson and his team, having taken a good steer from Eddie Howe, the new Head Coach, who had to make very quick decisions in terms of where he saw his squad.
"It was a fascinating experience, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but very challenging time for them (the owners). It was interesting in as much as here you’ve got a group of people who all want to achieve the same thing but they’re new, they’re almost thrown together.
"I don’t mean that in a haphazard way, but new group of owners, new Head Coach, Steve (Nickson), who’s been in the building for a long time, and all of a sudden in a very short space of time you’ve got to come together and make some decisions to try and strengthen the team for what is the short term ambition of staying in the Premier League."