Preston North End’s former head of recruitment/chief scout Joe Savage wanted to leave the Lilywhites for ‘almost a year’ before getting his move to Scottish side Hearts, per The Athletic.
Savage was a close confidant of Alex Neil and had worked with him at both Hamilton Academical and Norwich City in a recruitment role, before bringing him to Deepdale in 2017 from the Canaries.
But despite his title saying head of recruitment, Savage wasn’t given the freedom to do as much as his role suggested according to The Athletic.
The report noted that Savage’s job was to provide lists of players for North End advisor Peter Ridsdale and he would then take it from there in regards to recruiting them, with Savage getting no input into the negotiations.
That provided a source of frustration for Savage, and when an opportunity came for him to move back to his home-land to Scottish Championship outfit Hearts, he grabbed it with both hands.
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Savage has the title of sporting director at Tynecastle, meaning that he has a big say over the transfer policy of the club, and it was one of the big reasons why he decided to jump ship, as well as returning to be closer to his family.
Ironically it looks like North End need some kind of sporting director now as they look to switch to the head coach model of management, but it’s thought that Ridsdale will just work more closely with the new man in charge rather than appointing a sporting director outright.
This pretty much confirms what a lot of Preston fans may have speculated – that Ridsdale is really running the ship at Deepdale.
Trevor Hemmings trusts the former Leeds United chairman and he looks to be getting even more involved in the process of recruiting players and working with the manager.
Labelled as a ‘tireless worker’ by The Athletic, Savage may have been under-appreciated by North End though and if his new signings can bring success back to Tynecastle, then PNE may just end up pondering what they let slip through their net.