EXCLUSIVE: Paul Williams appointed Academy Director at Birmingham City
Written by Simon Austin — August 23, 2021
PAUL WILLIAMS has been appointed Academy Director at Birmingham City, while Academy Manager Mike Dodds has exited the club after 12 years.
Williams, 50, is highly experienced as a coach at both first-team and Academy level. He holds the Uefa Pro Licence and has worked with the England age group teams, as manager at Nottingham Forest, and as assistant at Brentford, Swansea and, most recently, Sheffield Wednesday.
The former Derby County and Coventry defender was first-team coach at Birmingham in 2017/18, which is when he worked with their current Technical Director Craig Gardner, who was a player for the club at the time.
Dodds resigned as Academy Manager on Tuesday and the club emailed their Academy players, parents and staff to inform them of the news on Friday.
The 35-year-old started working for the club full-time in 2009 and went on to become Under-16s coach, U23s assistant and Head of the Professional Development Phase.
In December last year, he was promoted to Academy Manager following the departure of Kristjaan Speakman to Sunderland and his tenure began in difficult circumstances. A day before the appointment was announced, Birmingham said that they were scrapping their Academy programme below the U17s.
After a backlash from fans, parents and media, they performed a U-turn and within 24 hours announced it was “business as usual” for the Academy. Dodds remained and steered the club through the audit to coveted Academy One status, which was announced in May this year.
During his time at the club, Dodds played an important role in the development of future England star Jude Bellingham. After hearing the news about Dodds' departure, the player's father, Mark Bellingham, tweeted: "Kids need teachers. Doddsy is an incredible teacher. As a family, we thank him for the care he showed towards their learning. They would not have progressed in the same way elsewhere"
Williams started work at the club today and Dodds is also still working his notice period, TGG understands.
Birmingham later confirmed the news on their official website. Gardner said: "Paul is an extremely knowledgeable, likeable and well-connected member of staff who is highly thought of by those in the game.
“His experience with England at development level and further work across a number of clubs, has provided him with a broad scope of the game and helped shape his views on Academy football.
“His insight and the expertise will be a huge benefit to all of our coaches and young players. He is someone who knows the club already and understands what it takes to bring young players through the Academy system.
“Paul has a clear vision of how the Academy should function and there’s no doubt that he will improve our programme and ensure we have an Academy to be proud of.”
The club added: "The Board would like to place on record their thanks to Mike for his years of service to the club and wish him all the best in his future endeavours."