Mark Catlin explains why hunt for Portsmouth head of football operations has halted - for now

Pompey’s hunt for a head of football operations has been paused.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 3:00 pm

The Blues are eager for incoming chief executive Andy Cullen to be involved in the recruitment process for the new Fratton Park role.

MK Dons’ Cullen starts work at Pompey on June 1, replacing Mark Catlin, who is to become general manager of Topps.

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And, according to the outgoing chief executive, it’s crucial that Cullen is heavily involved in the appointment of the head of football operations.

Catlin told The News: ‘Andy is going to have to review it himself, there is no crazy rush in regards to that decision.

‘We have functioned for eight years without one and it’s something worth taking the time over, with Andy making sure he is comfortable with any appointment.

‘He has got to come in and put his own mark on things, look at how this will work, the people involved, and the dynamics.

The hunt for Pompey's head of football operations has been paused. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages/PinP

‘We are just waiting a week or two before Andy comes in and gets his feet under the table. It's important for him to be involved.

‘No discussions have taken place subsequent to starting that process a few months ago following Kenny’s departure.

‘There’s no big rush at this moment in time to make that decision and, with Andy coming in, he needs to be immersed and involved in that.

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‘It remains a key role. The work of a head coach is so full-on now, especially when you are of the type of Danny and Nicky, where you are so heavily engrossed in the analytical and sports science side of the business.

‘They need help and assistance, as do we all.’

According to Catlin, more League One clubs are introducing a head of football operations into their structure.

And it has replaced the concept of a sporting director.

He added: ‘Generally it has gone away from the old sporting director role where, effectively, he was running the football side of the business.

‘It is now more of a supportive role working in conjunction with the head coach. There is so much to do, it’s such a wide-ranging role.

‘There’s your pre-season, your friendlies, making sure there’s a great connection between the Academy and first-team, working with the board of directors, implementing recruitment strategy.’

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