The key people behind the scenes at all 24 Championship clubs - from sporting directors to recruitment staff

Peter Ridsdale and Craig HemmingsPeter Ridsdale and Craig Hemmings
Peter Ridsdale and Craig Hemmings | CameraSport - Alex Dodd
A full breakdown of the key people at every Championship club ahead of the 2024/25 season

Blackburn Rovers

CEO: Steve Waggott Chief Operating Officer: Suhail Shaikh Head of Recruitment: John Park Head of Football Operations: Rudy Gestede Head of Football Administration: Brett Baker Head of Academy: Stuart Jones

There have been some very recent changes at Ewood Park, with Sean Kimberley replaced by John Park as Head of Recruitment. Ex-Rovers striker Rudy Gestede has also been appointed Head of Football Operations - to ‘oversee every department at the Senior Training Centre’. Park is back with the club he left in June 2022. Overseeing it all is Waggott, who has spent the last 20 years in football - at Coventry City, Southend United, Gillingham and Charlton Athletic prior to Rovers.

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Bristol City

Chairman: Jon Lansdown Director/Bristol Sport CEO: Gavin Marshall COO: Tom Rawcliffe Technical director: Brian Tinnion Head of technical recruitment: Sean Gilhespy

The Robins operate with a ‘committee-style of leadership’ so all four of the above conduct interviews on club issues. Jon is the son of club owner, Steve, and was appointed into the position five years ago - having worked at vice chairman for the previous half-decade. Marshall has been involved with the Bristol Sport group (Bristol City men & women, Bristol Bears men & women) since 2016, moving from Group CFO to Group CEO in the summer of 2022.

Tinnion, 56, made more than 450 appearances for the club as a player. He started out in the youth system and eventually became academy director, before his transition to technical director in November 2022. Rawcliffe became chief operating officer last year, having been working as club finance officer. Gilhespy has been on board for more than a decade - he now oversees a large department at the Robins High Performance Centre.

Burnley

Chairman: Alan Pace Directors: Stuart Hunt, Mike Smith, Dave Checketts Chief operating officer: Matt Williams

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The dynamic at Turf Moor will be interesting to see post-Vincent Kompany, with the Belgian having had a big say and influence on club matters and decisions. It remains to be seen whether MUD Analytics, Kompany’s own company, will still assist with recruitment. Pace and his partners have years of experience in finance and sports - particularly Checketts, who has worked as president for the Utah Jazz, New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden.

Cardiff City

Owner: Vincent Tan Chairman: Mehmet Dalman Lead Scout: Andriy Fedchenkov Head of Recruitment: Patrick Deboys

Erol Bulut has spoken at length about his desire to overhaul Cardiff's recruitment department this summer, so there is still work to be done in order for the transfer team to be finalised. Much of the work last summer was conducted through the new manager, the chairman and a football intermediary based on the continent. The club are hoping to bulk out their in-house recruitment department this summer, in order to make their transfer strategy more coherent.

Coventry City

Executive chairman/owner: Doug King Chief operating officer: John Taylor Performance director: Dr Claire-Marie Roberts Head of recruitment: Dean Austin Head of sports science: Adam Hearn

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Local businessman, King, became the club’s majority owner 18 months ago. He is the CEO of Yelo Enterprises and RCMA Capital LLP. Taylor has been in his role for seven months now, having spent six years at Nottingham Forest in three different roles. Claire-Marie arrived at a similar time to Taylor. The former international swimmer and footballer had spent 10 years at the Premier League, leading ‘strategic change in football development’. The chartered psychologist and scientist also worked for the British Olympic Association. Austin has had several coaching roles during his career but joined in 2022 from St Albans City - where he was Director of Football.

Derby County

Directors: David Clowes, Richard Tavernor Chief Executive Officer: Stephen Pearce Head of Recruitment: Mark Thomas Head of Scouting Operations: Jon Howard Head of Academy Recruitment: Jamie Smith

Hull City

Chairman: Acun Ilıcalı Vice chairman: Tan Kesler

Leeds United

Chairman: Paraag Marathe Other directors: Rudy Cline-Thomas, Angus Kinnear, Peter Lowy CEO: Angus Kinnear Technical director: Gretar Steinsson Football advisor: Nick Hammond Head of football operations: Adam Underwood Head of recruitment: Jordan Miles

Leeds are 100% owned by 49ers Enterprises Global Football Group LLC. Chairman, Marathe, has spent more than 20 years in the sports industry - adopting a data and analytics focused approach. Ex-Bolton defender, Steinsson, was brought in last summer - having worked as performance director at Tottenham Hotspur and Head of Recruitment at Everton. Hammond was Reading’s Director of Football and Celtic’s Head of Football Operations. He also worked in a consultancy role at Newcastle United. Miles is a relatively new appointment, joining from Aberdeen and having worked for West Ham, Derby County and Ipswich Town.

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Luton Town

Chairman: David Wilkinson CEO: Gary Sweet Chief recruitment officer: Mick Harford Team operations manager: Kevin Dearden Head of scouting operations: Phil Chapple Head of recruitment analysis: Jay Socik

Middlesbrough

Chairman: Steve Gibson Chief Executive: Neil Bausor Head of Football: Kieran Scott Head of Recruitment: Chris Jones

Words from Boro reporter for TeessideLive, Craig Johns

Boro owner Gibson continues to fund Boro and make up the difference on huge losses incurred since Covid heavily impacted finances. A proud Teessider, who has been at the club since rescuing it from liquidation as part of a consortium in 1986. Bausor is the man who runs the club day-to-day for Gibson, who has many other business ventures to oversee. Said to be a shrewd negotiator, he also sits on the EFL board.

Boro brought Scott in from Norwich City in the summer of 2021 in order to oversea a complete overhaul of the running of the club, on the football side of the operation. While Scott's main focus is recruitment, he also overseas other football-related matters such as academy development, loans and the medical department.

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A close colleague of Scott's, Jones arrived at Boro in 2022 from Crystal Palace, initially as head of scouting. Setting about completely overhauling Boro's scouting team, he has been influential in some of Boro's successful business since then such as signing Morgan Rogers before his big-money sale to Aston Villa, and also Emmanuel Latte Lath who scored 18 goals last term after Boro paid a little over £4m for him last summer.

Millwall

Chairman: James Berylson Managing Director of Non-Football Operations: Mark Fairbrother Director of Football: Steve Gallen Academy Director: Scott Fitzgerald

CEO Steve Kavanagh and head of recruitment Alex Aldridge left the club last month.

Norwich City

Executive director: Zoe Webber Sporting director: Ben Knapper Head of operations and projects: Greg Pillinger Assistant sporting director: Neil Adams Head of Recruitment: Lee Dunn

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Oxford United

Chairman: Grant Ferguson CEO: Tim Williams Chief Strategy Officer: Niall McWilliams Football Adviser: Derek Fazackerley Head of Recruitment: Ed Waldron

Plymouth Argyle

Majority owner/chairman: Simon Hallett Chief executive officer: Andrew Parkinson Director of football: Neil Dewsnip Head of recruitment: Jimmy Dickinson Head of football data: Ross Goodwin. First team coach/Head of player development: Kevin Nancekivell

Hallett, a supporter of the club and former asset management CIO, became majority shareholder in 2018 at Home Park. Parkinson - former operations director at Liverpool for seven years - came on board at a similar time. Dewsnip coached at Everton’s academy for 17 years and then moved to the FA in 2013, to work at technical lead. He went on to manage England U17, U18 and U20s. A data-driven approach has been instilled at Argyle, in order to try and gain a competitive edge ‘across all areas of football performance’.

Portsmouth FC

Chairman: Michael Eisner Chief Executive: Andrew Cullen Chief Operations Officer: Tony Brown Sporting Director: Richard Hughes Head of Recruitment: Bradley Wall

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Preston North End

Chairman: Craig Hemmings Director: Peter Ridsdale Chief Scout: James Wallace Player loans and pathways manager: James Beet Recruitment: MRKT Insights

Hemmings was appointed as chairman in 2019 and assumed responsibility as owner, following the death of his father, Trevor, in 2021. Ridsdale joined Preston in 2011 as adviser to Trevor Hemmings in 2012, before becoming company director in the summer of 2021. Manager Ryan Lowe brought James Wallace in as chief scout in the summer of 2022. PNE also work with recruitment company MRKT Insights. James Beet transitioned from senior recruitment analyst to player loans and pathways manager, in April 2022.

Queens Park Rangers

Chairman: Lee Hoos Vice-Chairman: Ruben Gnanalingam CEO: Christian Nourry Head of Operations: Dan Gorelov Academy Director: Alex Carroll

Sheffield United

Chairman: Yusuf Giansiracusa Directors: Abdullah bin Yousef Alghamdi, H.R.H. Princess Reem bint Abdullah bin Mosa’ad Chief Executive Officer: Stephen Bettis Head of Operations: Dave McCarthy Head of Recruitment: Mike Allen Chief Scout: Jamie Hoyland

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Sheffield Wednesday

Chairman: Dejphon Chansiri General Manager: Alastair Wilson Head of Recruitment: Kevin Beadell

Words from Owls reporter for the Sheffield Star, Alex Miller

The Thai businessman bought Wednesday in 2015 and has proven a controversial figure among the fan base. his tenure so far including points deductions, public appeals for fans to help cover cashflow issues, points deductions, the sale of Hillsborough to a third-party company owned by him and fan protests. That's not to mention the on-field matters; two Championship play-off campaigns, a relegation, two League One play-off campaigns, a dramatic promotion and an equally dramatic survival effort last time out. There's been ups and downs. It's rarely dull.

The departure of COO Liam Dooley to the CEO role at Shrewsbury Town last year saw Alastair Wilson take on his responsibilities alongside those he already undertook at S6. A press release at the time made clear Wilson had assumed 'sole leadership of the commercial and operational arm of the club'. Brought in as recently as December, former Arsenal, Manchester United and Cardiff City man Beadell effectively replaced David Downes, who moved on to become sporting director at Blackpool the summer previous. Beadell is known to have a driving hand in the deals Wednesday are trying to do.

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Stoke City

There have been two key appointments already in 2024, with former forward Jonathan Walters replacing Ricky Martin as sporting director and Lee Darnbrough - formerly of Hull City - taking over from Jared Dublin as head of recruitment.

Joint-chairmen: Peter and John Coates Vice-chairman: Richard Smith Sporting director: Jon Walters Head of Recruitment: Lee Darnbrough Academy director: Gareth Owen Chief operating officer: Simon King Head of football administration: Chris Laird

Sunderland

Chairman: Kyril Louis-Dreyfus Sporting Director: Kristjaan Speakman Chief Operating Officer: Steve Davison Head of Recruitment: Stuart Harvey.

Swansea City

Chairman: Andy Coleman Sporting director: Paul Watson

Coleman was appointed this time last year and acquired a significant shareholding in the club at the same time. The day-to-day responsibility of running the club is his. He success in business has come in the hospitality finance industry - he is also involved with MLS club DC United. As for Watson, he was appointed in June 2023 after five years at Luton Town - where he played a key role in recruitment.

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Watford

Owner: Gino Pozzo Chairman and CEO: Scott Duxbury Sporting Director: Gianluca Nani Academy Director: Richard Johnson

Italian, Pozzo, became the sole owner of Watford in 2014. Duxbury is a qualified lawyer who previously worked as CEO at West Ham, but has been at Vicarage Road for 12 years now. Nani was brought in seven months ago and will now take on a dual role with Watford and Udinese - both clubs are owned by the Pozzo family. Nani was also with the Hornets from 2012 to 2015 and has been sporting director at Brescia, Al Jazira and Reading.

West Brom

Owner/chairman: Shilen Patel WBA Group (parent company) director: Shilen Patel Club director(s): Shilen Patel and Mark Miles Managing director: Mark Miles Head of football operations: Ian Pearce Lead scout: Daniel Sale

American businessman, Patel, completed the takeover of the Baggies in February. Miles first joined West Brom in 2003, working his way up the ranks and elected on to the Board of Directors in October 2018. He assumed the responsibilities of departing CEO, Ron Gourlay, last summer. As for ex-Blackburn Rovers and West Ham defender Pearce, he took up his role last summer after leading the club’s scouting department.

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