An exclusive first interview with Town’s latest recruit
Huddersfield Town’s new Head of Football Operations Stuart Webber has today given htafc.com an insight into his role at the Club and priorities during the closed season.
The 31 year-old arrived from fellow Sky Bet Championship club Wolves on Monday, where he was the Head of Recruitment at Molineux. Before his time in the Midlands, he had worked at Liverpool and Queens Park Rangers in different areas of Football Operations. Click HERE
for full information on Stuart’s footballing background.
Now he is settling into his new role at ‘The Yorkshire Club’ where he is looking forward to a wider set of responsibilities, as he explained today.
“At Wolves my role was solely focussed on recruitment, right through from the First Team to the Academy.
“Here at Huddersfield there is of course a focus on recruitment and scouting, which is a massive part of my job, but I’ll also be supporting the Academy, the Medical Department and the Sports Science operations. It’s a broader view of the entire club rather than simply recruitment. These functions work together and give the Manager, coaches and players the best opportunity to perform well and win. This all needs planning and controlling in a coordinated way from day to day.
“There’s been a specific Football Operations role at Huddersfield Town for three seasons now, with Ross Wilson the first in change. The opportunity to come and take it on was too good to turn down. I’m looking to come here and further develop and build on the great work that Ross has done. We want to be seen as leaders in our approach to Football Operations.”
Although he’s a newcomer to the Club, Stuart explained that he already knew plenty about Huddersfield Town under Dean Hoyle and the Club’s approach:
“In my job at Wolves, I’ve naturally watched Huddersfield Town and visited the Club on a number of occasions. Every time, the Club has come across as humble and all of the people I’ve met have been good; I know the likes of Ross and Steve Eyre in particular.
“I did a lot more research when I found out the role here was available and it’s clearly a good, well-run club. Good strides forward have been made under Dean Hoyle’s Chairmanship and the current Board.
“This club is building in the correct manner on strong foundations in my view, which sadly is quite rare in today’s game. There is a well-established overall strategy and plan of what the Club wants to do and how it operates across every area in order to achieve it.
“Just as importantly, I know the supporters here will really get behind the Club when things go well. I’ve been to watch players and teams at the John Smith’s Stadium and I can tell you that the atmosphere competes with any other when things are going well on the pitch. Hopefully I can do my part to ensure that happens more often than not.”
Stuart believes his array of experiences in different roles in football will be of benefit to the Terriers:
“I’ve worked at both ends of the spectrum, which I think will help me in this role.
“I started my career in the Conference at Wrexham, where we had scarce resources to work with, and went to the other end of the scale when I moved to Liverpool; there money was almost no object and I was watching the best players in the world.
“I worked on Under-19 recruitment at Liverpool and that has given me a good grounding in how Academy football works. I’ve subsequently worked in the First Team setup at Wolves and I feel like that has helped me become rounded.”
Still a relatively new role at Huddersfield Town, Stuart gave an insight into what Football Operations will entail from day to day:
“Compared to the continent, the Football Operations role is still quite a new one in England and I’m sure a lot of people are still getting used to it. It’s essential in the Championship in my opinion and lots of new appointments are being made.
“I’m going to be ranging from ensuring we have career plans for our best young players to doing everything I can in terms of recruitment to ensure the First Team is winning on a Saturday. I will ensure our Football Operations plan is developed and implemented and that we have proper joined-up thinking and coordination between all areas.”
Vital to the success of his role is his relationship with Manager Chris Powell.
Stuart continued: “I’m here to support the Manager and allow him to focus on preparing the team for the new Championship season.
“I’ve already struck up a good working relationship with Chris, who is a terrific man; I’m sure that will only get stronger as the days and weeks pass. We share very similar views on football and how it should be played, which is important, but equally we’ll all bring different views to the table. In all areas, I think communication is the most important factor.
“It should go without saying that the Club will never, ever sign a player that the Manager doesn’t want, but once we’ve identified the targets I am here to ensure we get the players we want at deals that represent the best value for Huddersfield Town.”
Although his role is a varied one, Stuart admitted that the immediate priority is recruitment ahead of the 2015/16 Sky Bet Championship campaign.
“Modern day scouting is about identifying the players you both should and shouldn’t sign; recruitment is then about the process to get them once you’ve selected the right players. Relationships with clubs and agents are vital to make this happen.
“I officially started on Monday and it’s already been non-stop, ranging from discussions with the Manager, Chairman and Chief Executive to calls from players and agents.
“The good thing is that the Club’s short term recruitment plan and priorities have already been planned out by Chris Powell. That means the scouting has already been done for this window and, although there are many more strings to Football Operations as we’ve discussed, recruitment will be my primary function until September.
“Everyone knows exactly what we need to do and is committed and focussed on the job in hand.”
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