Alan Irvine warns clarity is crucial in Norwich City’s new football model

Norwich City's interim chief Alan Irvine has experienced the drawbacks of a head coach model. Pictur

Norwich City's interim chief Alan Irvine has experienced the drawbacks of a head coach model. Picture: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City's interim chief Alan Irvine has first hand experience of the pitfalls from adopting the head coach football model.

Irvine is poised to complete his five-game stint in temporary control against Reading this weekend, with City closing in on Huddersfield's head of football operations, Stuart Webber, as a new sporting director.

The Scot worked in a similar set-up at West Brom and insists it is vital Alex Neil's successor knows exactly what the remit is.

'When I was head coach at West Brom it was pretty much, you are the head coach, we bring you the players and you work with them,' he said. 'I wasn't a fan of that. If you don't rate the player you are not going to play them. I don't see how it works. But you take jobs based on the information you have. That is a conversation any manager or head coach should have before they take the job. I knew the situation at West Brom before I went in. I wanted that job so I had to either accept those circumstances or not. If I didn't I wasn't going to have that job. Tony (Pulis) came in and said he wouldn't do it that way.

'They are much more used to it abroad. They recruit a head coach to fit the club. In this country it is picked at random far too often. Certainly the model abroad tends to be the sporting director presents the players to the head coach. I don't know what the model will look like here. But the sporting director and head coach have to be in tandem. It could well be it is still very much a manager-role, when they make all the decisions in and out, or it could be the other way, where the new guy and the board want to take that aspect away from the head coach.'


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Irvine revealed City's on-going recruitment work has not been disrupted by Neil's exit.

'There are people working on that continuously,' he said. 'That happens irrespective of whether I am here, or whether Alex was here before me. It is a department that in the main runs itself. Alex didn't have to drive that on a daily basis. The new sporting director, I am quite sure, will have a lot to do with that side of things. We don't stop scouting and give them the weekends off. They are all out at games. The people in post will continue to do their job. I was asked to keep things steady and ticking along for the next person that comes along and that applies to all the staff.'

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