Tottenham appoint Birch and create four-person Football Board
Written by Simon Austin — September 1, 2020
TOTTENHAM have appointed Trevor Birch as Director of Football Operations and given him a place on a new four-person ‘Football Board’.
Birch joins from Swansea City, where he had been chairman since April 2019. He had also been chief executive of Chelsea, Sheffield United, Derby County, Everton and Leeds United during an auspicious career in club football.
At Tottenham he will replace Rebecca Caplehorn, who now becomes Director of Football Administration and Governance.
In this newly-created role she will “lead, drive and embed football governance processes, contractual matters and best practice across the club."
Caplehorn, who has been with Spurs since March 2015, will now have more time “to extend her work with the European Club Association, the FA and various related footballing governing bodies and working groups where she represents the club.”
The third member of the Football Board will be Steve Hitchen, who has been promoted from Chief Scout to Technical Performance Director. This is another new role and will “focus on building capabilities to support a world-class football infrastructure across senior and youth teams.”
Hitchen, who joined the club in February 2017 from Liverpool, will have responsibility for "scouting, performance and recruitment analysis, and youth recruitment," the club added.
Daniel Levy, the Tottenham Chairman and Managing Director of ENIC Group, which owns 85.55% of the club, will be the fourth - and most influential - member of the Football Board.
Interestingly, manager Jose Mourinho will not be joining the quartet. His predecessor, Mauricio Pochettino,was on a three-person Football Board alongside Levy and Caplehorn during his time at the club.
The latest appointments are an acknowledgement that Tottenham require more football expertise at executive level. During her time as Head of Football Operations, the highly-experienced Caplehorn had been more focused on administration and processes, as her new role acknowledges.
The club has not had a true Sporting Director - one overseeing recruitment, coaching, Academy, performance, medical and analysis - since Italian Franco Baldini left in 2015. The four members of the Football Board will try to fulfil those functions between them.
Interestingly, Birch has been more focused on the business rather than football side of the clubs he has served and this new position appears to be a departure.
The exit of Head of Academy Coaching and Player Development John McDermott in March was seen as leaving a big hole at the club. McDermott, who had been with Tottenham for 15 years, had a close relationship with Pochettino and helped to smooth the transition of several young players to the first team.
He is now Assistant Technical Director at the Football Association.
Two weeks ago, the club announced a new Academy structure in the wake of McDermott’s exit.
Academy Manager Dean Rastrick, who has worked for the club for more than a decade, has assumed overall responsibility for the Academy programme. Ryan Mason, the U19s Head Coach, will now assume the role of Head of Player Development for the U17s to U23s.
Chris Powell, who had most recently been assistant manager at Dutch side ADO Den Haag, has become Head of Coaching for the U17s to U23s.
Assistant Head of Player Development Nigel Gibbs has left to take up a coaching role at Cercle Brugge.
The trio will be joined in the Academy Leadership Team by Matt Taylor (U18s coach), Wayne Burnett (U23s coach), Paul Bracewell (Senior Academy Coach) and Perry Suckling (Academy coach).