Why Wolves are looking for a Strategic Player Marketing Manager
Written by Simon Austin — January 11, 2021
MOST of the Academy stories we feature on TGG focus on the development of young players.
But what about the final part of their Academy journey - when they need to be sent out on loan or sold to another club? This is a critical and inevitable juncture for most young players, yet often it’s an afterthought.
This is why Wolves are advertising for a Strategic Player Marketing Manager to showcase their young talent "for development and recruitment”.
It’s a role that the club's Executive Chairman, Jeff Shi, has taken a close personal interest in.
“Jeff’s thought - and we agreed - was that we needed to make the last part of a player’s development journey as smooth as possible,” Wolves Academy Manager Scott Sellars told TGG.
“We spend a lot of time and money on developing players, but this last bit is often an afterthought. It almost becomes a case of, ‘Who do we know?' Yet it’s absolutely critical, for both the player and club.
“We owe it to the player - and to ourselves - to move them on in a focused and specific way, when the time is right. It’s about marketing players, whether they’re loans or whether their time with us has come to an end and we need to sell.
"That requires a specific skillset and a specific person to look after it. At the moment, there is a very generic way of doing that across clubs and it can end up almost as a flip of the coin.
"Loan decisions can be made last minute, at the end of January or August, and it's panic stations - 'where can we get somebody?' - which is not ideal for anyone."
Because, ultimately, the club want their young players to be playing football. If that can't be in the Wolves first team, then it needs to be at another club, either on loan or as a permanent transfer.
"At some time you’ve got to let them go and be professional footballers and look after themselves," Sellars (pictured below) said. "We’ll only let them stay for a long time if we think they can break into our first team."
The Premier League club are looking for a candidate who is “entrepreneurial and forward thinking”, who has “contacts and credibility" within the game, and who is an effective salesperson. The ideal candidate will probably have a background in scouting, recruitment or analysis; as an agent; or even as a Sporting Director.
They will be responsible for building relationships and contacts with other clubs and then marketing players to them, which is likely to involve putting together content, including data and video.
“It will probably be our job, within the Academy, to pull those player packages together," explained Sellars, "but the Strategic Player Marketing Manager will be the one who uses that package as a sales pitch to other clubs.
"This language, of player marketing, might initially sound strange, because it's not what we're used to at football clubs, but we're convinced of its importance."
Loans Manager Seyi Olofinjana, who played 135 games for Wolves, added: "The key word for me in this job title is 'strategic'. A lot of what this person will be doing is putting a package together that is specific to the individual, even before the loan or transfer opportunity has come about.
“Other clubs will ideally know about this player already, because of the contacts and relationships the Strategic Player Marketing Manager will have developed. Those contacts and relationships - both inside and outside of this country - will be crucial.
“This is not your everyday role in football, but that’s part of what makes it exciting.”
Sellars agreed: "We are a progressive club and we are trying new ideas.”
If he’s right, the Strategic Player Marketing Manager could become a fixture at more football clubs in future.