Preston North End won’t be looking to hire a sporting director despite their club model seemingly shifting from a manager to a head coach scenario, per The Athletic.
And it’s thought that North End’s advisor Peter Ridsdale will be the man most likely to fill that vacancy indirectly by working closer than ever with whoever the new head coach is at Deepdale.
North End’s change in approach comes with not only the departure of Alex Neil as manager, but Joe Savage from his joint role as head of recruitment and chief scout.
Savage was the first to leave Deepdale back in January, having accepted a role at Scottish Championship side Hearts, which was closer to home and gave him more of a responsibility in terms of transfers at the club.
And Neil, who worked with Savage at both Norwich City and Hamilton Academical, exited last week following a run of seven games in 11 games.
The first sign that a new strategy was going to be implemented was the arrival of young James Beet from Barnsley at the start of the month, who was appointed as a senior recruitment analyst to identify new signings for the club.
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In even more telling signs that a change is coming to the structure of the club, Neil was labelled as the club’s ‘manager’ upon departure, whilst temporary replacement Frankie McAvoy was named as ‘interim head coach’.
That would suggest a director of football or sporting director would be arriving at Deepdale as well which would be usual practice when a ‘head coach’ is appointed, but this will not be the case at PNE and it means that Ridsdale will likely have more control than ever.
This is bound to disappoint the Preston fans who want Ridsdale gone from the club – some believe he is more of a problem than Alex Neil was and wanted him to head through the exit door as well.
But club owner Trevor Hemmings clearly trusts him a lot and leaves him to do the day-to-day running of the club, and it looks like the former Leeds chief is going to have more of a say than ever.
It means that there will probably be more friction between the fanbase and the club, especially if the start of next season does not go well, but it looks like Ridsdale is here to stay at Deepdale for the foreseeable future.