Pert in and Alvarez out as Man Utd continue backroom overhaul
Written by Simon Austin — September 29, 2019
MARTYN PERT has been drafted in to beef up Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s coaching team at Manchester United, while goalkeeper coach Emilio Alvarez has left the club after three years.
Pert is highly qualified as both a coach (holding the Uefa Pro Licence) and sports scientist (with a Masters in sports science) and has worked in prominent positions in several countries around the world.
Solskjaer was eager to augment his coaching team and the Englishman was identified as being experienced, innovative and available. With coaching and sports science also becoming increasingly intertwined in the modern game, his dual experience was regarded as a big plus.
Pert’s most recent job was as assistant head coach of the Vancouver White Caps in the MLS, a position he held from May 2014 until October 2018, when he and boss Carl Robinson were sacked.
Prior to this, Pert was assistant with the Bahrain national team (working under Peter Taylor) and with Coventry City. He was also Head of Conditioning at Cardiff City for a short spell, although he departed once Solskjaer was appointed manager in January 2014.
The native of Norfolk, who started his coaching career at Norwich City’s Academy, was also manager of El Nacional, although his tenure last just three weeks, because of a change of ownership at the Ecuadorian club.
What is also notable about the Englishman is the lengths he has gone to to pick the brains of some of the most famous coaches in the world. In November 2016, he travelled to Rosario in Argentina to visit the legendary Marcelo Bielsa.
“We spent all day talking about football,” he said. “Well, I wouldn’t say I did much talking. I asked questions and he did the talking, which is the right thing to do. He’s one of the top coaches in the world and his passion for the game is incredible.”
He has also spent time with Brendan Rodgers at Celtic and worked for three months with Miami Heat coach Pat Riley, filling water bottles for the likes of Shaquille O’Neal.
Meanwhile, United have confirmed the exit of goalkeeping coach Alvarez after three years. The Spaniard joined United in 2016 and had enjoyed a close relationship with the club’s number one goalkeeper, David De Gea, with whom he had worked at Atletico Madrid.
Alvarez's exit comes only three months after United appointed Richard Hartis, their former Head of Academy Goalkeeping, as Senior Goalkeeping Coach.
Solskjaer said: "I would like to thank Emilio for all his help and hard work since my return to the club. We all wish him well for the future."
Alvarez added: "I will always be proud of belonging to this club. Wishing you every success in your endeavours."
Alan Fettis has stepped up from the U23s to work with United’s first team, working under Hartis.
There have been massive changes behind the scenes at Old Trafford in the last six months as United attempt to bridge the gap with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.
Andrew Meredith has come in as Analysis Operations Manager. In the performance department, Michael Clegg has been appointed Strength and Power Coach, Ed Leng as Lead Sports Scientist and Charlie Owen has been promoted to first team fitness coach.
In the coaching team, Hartis returned as Senior Goalkeeping Coach and Fettis stepped up to assist him. In the Academy, Nick Cox has been promoted to overall boss, with Nicky Butt taking on a new job as Head of First Team Development, while Neil Wood was promoted to U23 boss with Quinton Fortune as his assistant.
United realised they needed a major revamp, although the appointments have tended to be made on a department-by-department basis, rather than by an overall boss (namely a Sporting Director) taking a strategic view of the entire football operation.