Calderwood explains how recruitment changes will benefit Cobblers

Assistant boss takes on more responsibility for club's recruitment strategy

By James Heneghan
Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 1:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 1:44 pm
Colin Calderwood.
Colin Calderwood.

Colin Calderwood believes the recent changes to Cobblers’ recruitment department will benefit the club, particularly in the long-term.

Martin Foyle left his role as head of recruitment in early November and instead of hiring a direct replacement, the club have taken a different approach, with the well-connected Calderwood given more responsibility for recruitment.

Analyst Alex Latimer has also switched his focus to transfers, while five newly-appointed regional scouts will scan the length and breadth of the country.

“I’m very happy and comfortable with the situation,” said Calderwood.

“We did speak to a couple of people about the head of recruitment role but that didn’t come to fruition and the more we thought about it, we felt it was would be better to do it a slightly different way.

“It gives us a broader base in terms of feet on the ground and eyes at matches because we will get more people out and we can then collate that information and build a library for the future.

“It’s something I’ve seen work at other clubs.”

Explaining how the system will work, Calderwood added: “You don’t go to every game with a target in mind or an interest in a player, you just go there to gain knowledge and I think that’s very important for ourselves as coaches and as a club.

“It’s then about bringing it altogether. The analyst, Alex Latimer, will collate all the information from the regional scouts and in my opinion that gives us a better foundation.

“The club have been left with very little knowledge from people who have worked here previously so doing it this way means it becomes very in-house and organic and I think it will work.

“It’s extra work and extra time but we all go to games anyway and it’s just about bringing that information back and putting it in a way that we all understand.”

And it’s not necessarily about recruiting the best players, there will be a strong focus on identifying signings who are the right fit for both the current manager and style of play.

Calderwood continued: “At previous clubs, what I’ve found is that when managers change, everyone points at the recruitment and says it’s not been any good.

“But you very rarely sign a horrible player, it’s more likely to be that a certain player might not be suited to a club at that particular moment.

“The majority of players add value somewhere and if they don’t, there must be a reason for that, and I can relate to that myself.

“My first season at Tottenham was terrible and people would have said the recruitment wasn’t good enough but I ended up staying there six years.

“There will be a certain style of player that might suit other managers but not suit Jon (Brady) and vice versa.”

Continuity is also vital to long-term success, as Cobblers have discovered to their cost in recent years.

Chris Wilder's 2015/16 title-winning squad was immediately broken up, and the same happened to Keith Curle's team four years later.

“In my opinion, the team that was promoted a couple of years ago, they lost so many players and that made it very, very difficult to get to the level that they needed be at,” added Calderwood.

“That was definitely a hindrance to staying in League One last season so we want to make sure we have a process and a structure in place.

“We don’t want to have a situation where we can’t keep half the squad if we go up. We need to be clever and flexible but also prudent to work within our budget and make this is a place that players want to come to develop their careers.

“I have no problem with people leaving and moving on but it has to be in a way that we can recruit some money back into the club or, if not, we are in a position where we're ready and prepared with a replacement.”