FEATURE: Life as the Cobblers chief scout is far from simple for Simon
Since his appointment as chief scout in October last year, Simon Tracey has seemingly been keeping a low profile.
And to some extent that is true, as the 51-year-old has been operating mainly behind the scenes.
But there is no doubting the former Sheffield United goalkeeper has been grafting and earning his money.
Life is not as simple as it may seem for Simon!
Tracey has monitored hundreds of players since being brought to the club by Keith Curle, travelling up and down the country to watch games live, as well as studying video, after video, after video.
He and his scouting network have certainly been busy, and now, as the summer transfer window gets into full swing, his hard labour is beginning to bear public fruit.
The play-off finals have yet to be contested, but already four signings have been made by the Cobblers, and Tracey has played a key role in the identification and then capturing of Matty Warburton, Chris Lines, Joe Martin and Harry Smith.
The final decision on signings will always rest with Curle of course, but the Town boss totally trusts Tracey’s judgement, and the pair work very much as a team.
The Cobblers boss explained, when he said: “Most people in football have my number, and the type of person I am I answer all of my calls.
“I phone back people, I reply to texts, but sometimes I do get inundated with potential players, and there are 1,000s of players now that are available.
“I don’t have time to sift through them all, and the thing I like about Simon is he knows the key characteristics I am looking for.
“So rather than just piling them all (available players) on my desk, I trust Simon.
“He sifts out the ones who are a definite no first of all, and he then brings me the potentials and the ones that are a definite yes.
“If we can get this player, and we fit in with that player, Simon knows the names he can put in front of me, and that can save me 50 or 70 per cent of my workload in finding the players that are out there. It is a massive help.”
The pair were team-mates at Sheffield United, and have worked together previously at Carlisle United, where Tracey was goalkeeping coach.
He now concentrates on players in every position, not just between the sticks, and Tracey is gearing up for a busy close-season.
“We have been working hard, there are a number of players out of contract and this is going to be a period of transition,” Tracey said.
“We have identified and targeted a few players, and some of them will take longer than others to come through the door, but the more we can get in sooner rather than later gives Keith the opportunity to set out how he wants to play.”
Asked how he and Curle operate, Tracey added: “I am looking at targets first and foremost.
“I have a good conversation with the manager, and he will express to me what and where he wants to improve the team.
“We will have a list of position specifics of how he wants to play, and what he wants from that position.
“Then it is about going and trailing through, speaking to agents, looking at players, and seeing the best value for money that is out there.
“We know we have got a number of players out of contract, and one or two have been made available, so there is plenty of opportunity there for us to bring players in.
“Hopefully we can bring in the right attacking options to make us a force for next season. I know the way the manager wants to play, and if we bring the right personnel in then we will have a good opportunity.”