Different roles and functions have evolved over the years in football administration. Other than your regular administrative positions dealing with the finances and marketing departments of a football outfit, the position of technical football director has become an important mainstay over the years.
Working mostly in the background these gentlemen or women control the total football outlook of the club from playing style to academy and scouting. These tasks are only a few of the many important functions of a Technical Director of Football for any club or football federation of a country. So, what specific roles does a Technical Director execute? Before answering this question first, who is a technical director in football?
A Technical Director of Football in simple terms is a staff member who goes out to find the best players for his/her club within a specified budget. However, as the role has changed over the years, other functions have been included. Examples are:
1. Offering Technical Football Advice
Sometimes clubs or national team federations employ a technical director as a kind of back for a coach. These directors are usually hired for their in-depth tactical and technical knowledge of the game.
They usually help to booster the tactical department of the coaching crew, especially when the head coach is seen as lacking in that area of expertise. Sometimes Technical Directors have been required to take over the coaching duties of a team on an emergency basis when the head coach has for whatever reason been relieved of his duties.
We saw this example in the last World Cup in Russia when Spanish Director of Football Fernando Hierro had to take over the handling of the Spanish national team when former coach Julen Lopetegui was unceremoniously sacked for breach of contract.
2. Player Transfer
As stated in a previous paragraph technical directors are sometimes solely responsible for finding the best players within a specific budget. This will involve scouting and player monitoring to ensure such players fit the needs and football philosophy of the coach or club.
The director must also possess good negotiating skills so as to be able to get the best deals at the best price for his club. Many examples abound of this kind of technical director. For instance, Michael Emenalo, who was Chelsea FC Technical Director of Football between 2011-2017. He is also one of the best sporting directors in the world.
3. A figurehead
Sometimes a football director may only play a ceremonial or ambassadorial role in the club. Usually, it’s a former player a legend of the club whose popularity and marketability helps to improve the prestige and attractiveness of the club. Examples of this include Bobby Charlton and Paolo Maldini at Manchester United and AC Milan respectively.
The role of technical director will continue to change as clubs and national teams evolve, but it’s undeniable that the role is here to stay.