Plymouth Argyle board says new director is about supporting Fletcher
PLYMOUTH Argyle's decision to seek a director of football shows their determination to support under-pressure manager Carl Fletcher, according to director Colin Sexstone.
The Pilgrims' board, led by owner and chairman James Brent, have acted on a recommendation from Sexstone.
The 64-year-old former Bristol City chief executive and chairman was appointed as an Argyle director earlier this month.
Sexstone said there was a willingness on the part of Fletcher, 32, to 'embrace' the support of an experienced football man.
The exact responsibilities of the director of football will be finalised once someone has been hired.
However, Brent admitted it would be a 'supportive role to the football management team', which also includes assistant boss Romain Larrieu and coach Kevin Nancekivell.
That could range from attending training sessions to scouting possible player recruits.
Fletcher said: "I welcome the board's support, and to playing my part in helping to select the right person for this club."
Former Norwich City and Wigan Athletic manager John Deehan was taken on as director of football at Argyle for three months at the end of last season.
However, according to several sources, he had only a limited involvement at the club and his short-term contract was not renewed in the summer.
Argyle have dropped to 20th position in League Two after picking up only one point from their last seven games.
Sexstone said: "Since my appointment, I have had the chance to get to know the club, including talking with Carl Fletcher, whose passion and commitment for his task are quite striking.
"The club appears to be in pretty good shape after its problems of last year.
"However, as the board has acknowledged, it does not possess the sort of in-depth football experience which I think can greatly benefit Argyle.
"I believe this can be addressed by appointing a director of football, initially until the end of the current season.
"It demonstrates the board's determination to support the manager, as well as the manager's willingness to embrace that support."
Fletcher replaced Peter Reid as Argyle's manager, initially in a caretaker capacity, in September 2011.
After guiding the Pilgrims to League Two safety last season he signed a one-year rolling contract in the summer and, at the same time, announced his retirement from playing.
Fletcher's record as Argyle manager stands at 14 wins, 21 draws and 22 defeats from 57 league games.
Sexstone explained the Pilgrims' boss would be a 'key driver' in the appointment of the director of football.
He said: "Some of the most successful clubs at home and abroad have employed such a person for many years."
"We believe that this will become much more prevalent in this country with the onus placed upon clubs to comply with Financial Fair Play directives.
"Argyle are taking an early position on what we think will become a trend in English football to employ a director of football, sporting director, technical director or something similar.
"I am pleased that Carl totally shares the same foresight and welcomes the idea, and he will be a key driver in the appointment process."
Several clubs in this country have experimented with the role of a director of football and there have been mixed results.
In League Two, Steve Perryman has held that position at Exeter City for several years, and Andy Hessenthaler took on that title at Gillingham in the summer after he was succeeded as manager by Martin Allen.
There are also directors of football at League One outfits Crawley Town (Steve Coppell) and Crewe Alexandra (Dario Gradi).