Dan Ashworth spoke with members of the Association of Sporting Directors providing an insight into his role as Technical Director of Brighton Hove Albion F.C.
The conversation covered 4 key areas:
- The first 15 months in the job at BHAFC
- Player welfare
- Recruitment and Brexit
- Adapting to change
Dan provided a reflection on his first 15 months at the club, highlighting the long-term nature of the role and the breadth of responsibility. A key driver has been reviewing and driving coherency across departments, including how each unit supports and contributes to the player pathway.
Another key aspect, outlined by Dan was the importance of being a champion of opportunity on behalf of young players. This is a really important component of his role within the clubs leadership and Board. Player welfare, the academy and loan strategy featured highly in this discussion.
After experiencing such a positive reaction at a federation level with The FA, Dan has recently brought in additional expertise at BHAFC for mental well-being and psychology. The pandemic has heightened the need for such provision and it will no-doubt have a greater impact on the game.
Dan explained the loans strategy and practice, alongside making clear its importance for the club. In particularly, Dan discussed how the loan option has become a strategic resource as the club map the player pathway from the academy to the 1st team. Moreover, he provided details on how this will have an even greater significant as a result of COVID-19 and potential Brexit related loan regulation changes in early 2021. Interestingly, Dan noted Brexit will not only impact player recruitment, but also the backroom staff clubs will be able to access and recruit.
The discussion turned towards the response to COVID-19 and how to maintain club functions, staff motivation and effectiveness during this challenging time. This included the existing data analytics undertaken by the club for recruitment and how this has ultimately continued to deliver and support decision-making across the club.
Throughout the conversation, Dan was keen to recognise the resilience and innovation of his team through technology enhanced working practices. He believes these have helped strengthen already firm working relationships within the club. The conversation finished with questions from ASD members.
The ASD aims to support sporting directors in professional football. These conversations allow members to connect, share practice, develop ideas and innovate. The full conversation is available to ASD members. We are thankful to Dan Ashworth, Alistair Milner and Dan Parnell for a technical and detailed discussion.