New Portsmouth CEO's verdict on creation of sporting director role with former Leyton Orient man touted for position

Pompey are to make a final decision over whether to employ a sporting director in the coming weeks.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 4:33 pm

New chief executive Andy Cullen is to conduct a far-reaching review of roles and responsibilities at Fratton Park after starting in his role this week.

But the new man at the helm stressed an assessment of the structures in place in the first-team set-up will have to play second fiddle to recruitment at present.

An area of focus for Cullen will be the employment of a figure overseeing football operations.

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It’s a position which has been often spoken about in recent months, with former CEO Mark Catlin stating the creation of the role was under consideration.

Roberto Gagliardi, who has been at Fratton Park since 2018 after working for Leyton Orient, has been touted for the position with the head of UK and European scouting taking on extra duties in recent months.

Cullen explained a review will allow him to better grasp the need for a sporting director.

He said: ‘A sporting director is not something I have a take on at the moment.

Roberto Gagliardi

‘It’s part of the whole review of the football club I will undertake.

‘Sporting directors mean different things to different football clubs.

‘There’s performance directors, technical directors and then the football operations.

New Pompey chief executive Andy Cullen's arrival has coincided with two major Pompey investment announcements. Picture: Habib Rahman

‘Really, it’s understanding the different roles that everyone enjoys at the moment.

‘The most fundamental thing I want to do is make sure we’re at the top of our game when it comes to player recruitment.

‘But then you mustn’t lose sight of all the other things that come into play, from sports science and medicine to the way you look after players’ welfare.

‘These areas are all hugely important, tackled in different ways at different football clubs.’

A key duty for Cullen in his initial period at Fratton is to assess the abilities of the staff Pompey currently possess.

In terms of the first-team operation there’s Cowley, brother Nicky and incoming coach Simon Bassey.

They are backed by Gagliardi, head of recruitment Phil Boardman with Cowley’s analysts Matt Page and Toby Ellis delivering data along with Dan Ashby.

Head physio Bobby Bacic is still at the club along with physio Jack Hughes and head of sports science Jeff Lewis.

Cullen believes he has to analyse how their skill sets could overlap with any sporting director appointment.

He added: ‘I want to understand roles and responsibilities.

‘I need to understand what people do here.

‘How do they currently operate? If we did something what would it mean for someone else?

‘Having some clarity on what’s great and the skills we currently have in the building to achieve all those different things.

‘That’s part of this initial process which will take place over the coming weeks.’

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