(WFI) Liverpool FC’s new owner John Henry claims Damien Comolli’s appointment is the first step in creating a leadership group to reverse the flagging fortunes of the Premier League club.
The Frenchman was named as director of football strategy on Wednesday, Henry’s first major signing since his New England Sports Ventures completed its £300m takeover of the club last month.
“Damien has a proven track record of identifying exciting young footballing talent and we are delighted that he has agreed to join Liverpool,” Henry told Liverpool’s website.
In a former role as director of football at Tottenham Hotspur, Comolli, 38, signed Gareth Bale from Southampton. Bale’s star performances in Spur’s Champions League matches against Inter Milan, including his contribution in last night’s 3-1 home leg demolition of Rafa Benitez’ side have made him the hottest property in British football.
Comolli is now tasked with recruiting players of a similar pedigree to Bale to drastically improve Liverpool’s on-field fortunes and propel the club up the EPL table from their current position of 13th.
Henry added: “Working closely with Roy Hodgson and the coaching staff, I know he will make a valuable contribution to strengthening the Club and the squad as we move forward.”
“Today’s announcement is just the first step in creating a leadership group and structure designed to develop, enhance and implement our long-term philosophy of scouting, recruitment, player development and all of the other aspects necessary to build and sustain a club able to consistently compete at the highest level in European football.
“We intend to be bold and innovative. We will not rest until we have restored Liverpool Football Club to the greatness Liverpool fans expect.”
Comolli said he was looking forward
to working with Henry and Liverpool manager Hodgson.
“I think we all realise there is a big job ahead, but we all share the vision that John has for rebuilding the club and bringing back the success that the supporters deserve,” said the former European scout for Arsenal who has left his post as sporting director at AS Saint-Etienne to work at Liverpool.
Speaking at a press conference at Anfield this afternoon, Hodgson welcomed the appointment.
“We are engaged in an exciting project here and he will bring a lot to the table. We all want to see moves to strengthen the squad and support player development over the next few years,” he said.
“I feel very good about it. It is something we have talked about with the owners and something they were very keen to put in place,” Hodgson was quoted on Liverpool’s website.
“The owners come from an American sporting background where the team manager is very much responsible for team affairs, but alongside him there is a person who can have all sorts of titles, a type of sporting director in European terms.
“If you’re going to run a football club these days there are a lot of elements that need to be dealt with. Recruitment of players and scouting is a major, major aspect in this respect, as of course is the academy and all the work you need to do to bring players through.
“In Europe I am very used to having a situation where you have to work alongside people like that and I think it is becoming more and more common in England as well, so that’s something the new owners wanted to introduce to the club and I welcome it very much.
“I think it is going to be a great advantage to us to have a man of Damien’s qualities, knowledge and experience and I think we can only profit from it as a club. I am looking forward to working with him.”
Hodgson added: “The days of the ‘dictator type’ English manager have long since passed anyway, where everything went through one man and no-one dared even buy a paper clip without that person’s approval.”
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
Your best source of news about the global football business is World Football INSIDER