Liverpool Announce Football Operations Leadership Changes
Liverpool Football Club has announced future changes to the structure of its football operations leadership, with the news that Michael Edwards will step down as sporting director at the end of this season.
The highly regarded Edwards has given notice to the club’s ownership of his wish to pursue a new challenge when his contract ends, allowing for a carefully managed and orderly transition to take place.
Julian Ward, currently assistant sporting director, will be promoted after Edwards’ departure, taking on the more senior role.
Other senior members of Liverpool’s football operations department will remain and will continue to be integral to setting and implementing the club’s football strategy.
Edwards joined the Reds in 2011 as head of analytics. He was subsequently promoted to director of technical performance and later technical director.
In November 2016, he assumed the newly created position as sporting director, leading the club’s overall football development.
A significant part of his responsibilities included player identification, acquisition, retention and sales.
Headed up by Edwards, the club’s current football operations team have collectively played a pivotal role in aiding the success of Jürgen Klopp’s side on the pitch, reaching back-to-back Champions League finals in 2018 and 2019, ultimately securing a sixth European Cup in Madrid.
The UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup were added to the trophy cabinet before a 30-year wait for the league championship was ended in June 2020 when the Reds sealed the Premier League title having been runners-up in the previous season.
Off the pitch, the football operations team were instrumental in the development of the club’s new state-of-the-art training facility – the AXA Training Centre – in Kirkby, a venue which provides world-class facilities for the first and youth teams.
In an open letter to supporters posted on Liverpoolfc.com, Edwards said: “To be part of this club during this period has been a privilege due to the people I have been fortunate enough to work with and the success we have enjoyed.
“I had always planned to cap my time at the club to a max of 10 years. I’ve loved working here, but I am a big believer in change. I think it’s good for the individual and, in a work setting, good for the employer, too.
“Over my time here we have changed so many things (hopefully for the better) but someone new brings a different perspective, new ideas and can hopefully build (or change) on the things that have been put in place beforehand.
“Julian has been building up the skill set for this role for many years. Last year, he took on the role of assistant sporting director and over the past 12 months he has been introduced to other facets of the role that are vital to its success. I believe he is ideal for the role.
“Over the coming season I will continue to support him as we complete the leadership transition.”
Fenway Sports Group’s Mike Gordon, said: “It is, of course, disappointing to be losing in due course a person who is as talented as Michael is, but we respect his wishes to seek a new challenge at the appropriate time for him.
“Having valued leaders who decide to move on is unfortunately part and parcel of running any organisation. It is our responsibility to make the best decisions for our immediate, medium and long-term future with any subsequent appointments and restructure.
“Michael’s contribution and achievements will stand the test of time given the role he has played in helping to rebuild and shape the club into what we see today, but a more substantial tribute and recognition can be paid when he actually departs.
“Importantly, we believe we have a lot of elite, industry-leading individuals as part of the wider football operations team, all of whom will of course remain with us, working with and supporting Julian.”
Image: Rick Barrett – Unsplash