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Post by Helmer Tue 8 Nov 2016 - 22:24

I realised that we did not yet disccuss the appointment of Michael Edwards as a sporting director of Liverpool FC. I have tried to find some information about him. I certainly remember reading about him at the time of Rodgers time also.

Klopp on his appointment wrote:
Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Watford on Sunday, Klopp believes the 37-year-old is the perfect man for the position.

“This decision is hugely positive for us and it will make us better and stronger in managing the process of building and retaining playing talent all age groups,” Klopp said.

“Development is so important and it makes sense to have a position, within the football structure specifically, that focuses on where we can improve.

“It’s no secret I like the concept of a sporting director and having worked under this model previously I have found it to be nothing but positive and forward thinking.

“Michael is absolutely the right person for this. He has the knowledge, expertise and personality to flourish in the role and I was delighted when he told me he would be accepting the position.

“Importantly, he also has a fantastic team of people around him, who have all played a significant role in putting together the talent we currently have in the first team, development squad and at even younger age levels.”

His old pic:

Sporting Director Michaeledwards2

Some other articles:

Liverpool are set to appoint Michael Edwards as the club’s sporting director.

The 37-year-old will be promoted to the newly-created role from his current position as technical director.

The decision by owners Fenway Sports Group has the full backing of manager Jurgen Klopp, who worked within the same structure at Borussia Dortmund.

Klopp has enjoyed a close working relationship with Edwards over the past 13 months and believes he’s the perfect man for the job.

Edwards, who has been at Liverpool since November 2011, will be put in charge of all football operations and will be responsible for player recruitment for both the first team and the Academy.

With chief executive Ian Ayre leaving Anfield at the end of the season, the ECHO understands that Edwards will take on full responsibility for transfer and contract negotiations with immediate effect. Klopp will continue to have the final say on all signings.

Fenway Sports Group have long since favoured the continental model of having a sporting director or a director of football working with a manager.

Damien Comolli filled that role from November 2010 until the Frenchman was sacked in April 2012. The American owners had intended to replace Comolli in the summer of 2012 but they were talked out of it by new boss Brendan Rodgers, who wanted sole control.

As a result the transfer committee was born which included FSG president Mike Gordon, Ayre, Rodgers, director of scouting Dave Fallows, chief scout Barry Hunter and Edwards.

That was often a source of friction during Rodgers’ reign with the Northern Irishman bemoaning not being able to get the targets he wanted. However, there have been no murmurings of discontent since Klopp took over.

Klopp insisted he had “100% backing” from FSG last summer and he believes Edwards has both the knowledge and the expertise to help him ensure Liverpool build on their flying start to the season.

Edwards has never had a public profile at Liverpool but he’s enjoyed a meteoric rise under FSG since he was brought to Anfield by Comolli in 2011.

Initially, he was head of analytics – poring over the mass of data Premier League clubs gather on players in every match and providing reports.

Once Comolli left in 2012, Edwards took on greater responsibility. In June 2013 he was promoted to the role of director of technical performance and was then made technical director in August 2015.

Edwards graduated from the University of Sheffield with a degree in business management and informatics before putting his IT knowledge to use in the world of football.

He was Portsmouth’s head of performance analysis from 2003 to 2009 before being headhunted by Tottenham.

NAME: Michael Edwards
ROLE: Director of technical performance – In a nutshell, he assesses the data of players from leagues around the world and determines whether a player will be a suitable fit for Liverpool in terms of playing and economics. Worked at Portsmouth from 2003 to 2009 before moving to Tottenham.

Each morning, when Liverpool's principal owner John W Henry and director Michael Gordon wake up in Boston, their inboxes ping with emails from the club's head of technical performance.

Michael Edwards, who is based at Liverpool's Melwood training ground, has become FSG's go-to guy in England after aligning himself with the data-driven model of the group's baseball team, the Boston Red Sox.

This cosy relationship with FSG, dropping the owners emails throughout the day and increasing his power at the club, led to a strained relationship with former manager Brendan Rodgers.

Edwards encourages staff to use his nickname 'Eddie', giving a matey feel to the working environment. It is understood Rodgers has another name for him.

Edwards fell perfectly into place with FSG's Moneyball strategy, the statistical model designed to extract maximum value in the transfer market. Clearly, with the club 10th in the league and paying up to three times the going rate for players, it needs refinement.

Despite a lack of playing experience at any relevant level, Edwards, who earns £300,000 a year, has a big say on Liverpool's notorious transfer committee. He would arrive for meetings with Rodgers, managing director Ian Ayre, chief scout Barry Hunter and head of recruitment Dave Fallows armed with the latest data on potential targets.

The committee have yet to explain how they came up with the figure of £29million to sign Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino from Hoffenheim, who finished eighth in the Bundesliga last season.

Divock Origi, billed as 'a world-class talent' by Rodgers when he was signed from Lille, could not even come off the bench in the club's last two league games. There are countless other errors.

After each Liverpool game Edwards emails analysis and data to the club's owners in America, detailing where the match was won and lost. It has made for grim reading this season.

Edwards has used his relationship with FSG to strengthen his hand at the club, becoming a trusted source of information to a group of people who are obsessed with statistical analysis.

There is a relationship with Bill James, the American stats guru who is employed by the Red Sox to provide Henry and Gordon with data for their baseball team.

Edwards can tap away at a laptop and within seconds tell you how many assists the 24-year-old Turkish left back Eren Albayrak has made for Rizespor this season (four).

Edwards and his team of analysts have invented a new language for football. Strikers are all about goal expectancy, chances created and the percentage of successful passes in the final third. Old-school managers just want to know if the boy can put the ball in the net. Defensive midfielders are judged on interceptions and the number of challenges won in the centre of the pitch.

The increasing influence of analysts, young men who have no experience of scouting or recruiting players, has meant the end of the road for good football men such as Mel Johnson. He was the scout who recommended Liverpool sign talented young winger Jordon Ibe from Wycombe but was sacked, shamefully, in November 2014. Former academy director Frank McParland has also left.

Instead a new breed sits in air-conditioned offices, cutting up videos from matches all over the world and burying their heads in the stats. Edwards, along with his vast team of analysts, constantly monitors the opposition, providing detail about playing positions, style, routines, set-pieces and other important matchday information.

They profile players based on their last 10-20 appearances, gathering information and helping Rodgers build a presentation for his players before matches that was usually a maximum of 10 pages on each team. It is a useful, but far from infallible, tool.

Edwards, who is in his late thirties, began his career as part of the video analysis team at Portsmouth before leaving to work with Harry Redknapp again when he became Tottenham manager.

There, Edwards struck up a relationship with Ian Graham at Decision Technology, a data firm collecting statistics on players from all over the world.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy paid Decision Technology a fortune each season for their services, trusting their analysis and using Edwards, in his newly created role as head of performance analysis, to make sense of it all.

Edwards was head-hunted by Damien Comolli when the Frenchman became director of football at Liverpool, turning down an increased salary of £250,000 a year at White Hart Lane to join the Anfield revolution. Levy was distraught.

Since then he has emerged as a senior figure at Liverpool, empowered by FSG to make the call on big transfer targets after gaining their trust since his arrival in 2011.

His relationship with Rodgers deteriorated shortly after the former Liverpool manager signed a contract worth £6m a year just a week after Liverpool finished within two points of claiming the Barclays Premier League title.

They clashed over transfer strategy, although Rodgers went on record to insist that he always had the final say over the recruitment of players earmarked for the first-team squad.

In the end, Edwards had his number.

I am curious to know what you think about this step from FSG.

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Post by McAgger Tue 8 Nov 2016 - 22:25

Can't be any worse than Ayre.
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Post by Art Morte Tue 8 Nov 2016 - 23:33

Ayre was the general director, lol, he did his job just fine. A sporting director to oversee sporting matters, there's nothing wrong with that as long as the manager has the final say on who we sign.
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