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Newcastle United given permission to speak to Dan Ashworth – Report

1 month ago

Searching for the right man for a key long-term role at St James Park, Newcastle United have now been given permission to speak to Dan Ashworth.

The position he is under consideration for is as Director of Football under the new ownership at NUFC.

This Monday morning exclusive is from The Athletic, who say that contact was made earlier this month and that Brighton have a club policy of not standing in the way of top employees, if approaches are made. They very much want to keep Dan Ashworth but have given him the necessary permission to talk to the Newcastle United owners.

Brighton though do insist on other clubs doing things the right way in these situations and The Athletic say that ‘the conduct of both Newcastle and Nolan Partners (who NUFC are using to help identify the ideal Director of Football), a firm that handled Ashworth’s last two moves and Brighton know well, is thought to have been faultless.’

The Athletic are making a habit of giving Newcastle United exclusives and it was they on Friday, who revealed that the NUFC owners had made a short-term appointment of Nick Hammond, the former Reading, West Bromwich Albion and Celtic executive, as a temporary consultant to help advise the club, whilst waiting for the right Director of Football to be identified and employed. His immediate task is to help the club with their approach to the January transfer window. Something that brought criticism from some quarters, mainly on the assumption that Hammond would somehow be then the man choosing which players to buy or not. The reality of course is that under Mike Ashley, the club was a joke in terms of lacking so many key personnel who should have been employed in important roles. Under Ashley, the club muddling through transfer windows with a massive over reliance on agents doing work on behalf of Newcastle United and then the only ‘executive’ employed at St James Park, being Lee Charnley doing the paperwork on signings.

Basically, the new Newcastle United owners inheriting a total shell of a club, where Mike Ashley gave power over NUFC to people from his inner Sports Direct circle, such as Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop, who had no publicly official roles at the club. Whilst of course, the new owners couldn’t continue to employ the shameless Lee Charnley, who had made so many misleading comments to the NUFC fanbase, such as promises to communicate properly with supporters. So the experience of somebody such as Nick Hammond, no doubt essential to help the new owners navigate the best way to get things done in their first transfer window, one that has so much riding on it.

As for the background of Dan Ashworth, he is a former player who started his career at Norwich. He has then had a wide and varied apprenticeship since his playing days, having the roles of: academy director at Peterborough United, centre of excellence director at Cambridge United, then to West Brom in 2004 assisting youth team manager Aidy Boothroyd before taking over as youth team manager when Boothroyd left, then eventually promoted to be the club’s sporting and technical director in December 2007.

Moving on to 2012 and a big move up for Dan Ashworth when he was appointed as the FA director of elite development.

In August 2018, he was shortlisted by Manchester United as a candidate to be their technical director, but the following month (September 2018), it was announced that Dan Ashworth had resigned his role with the FA and would be the new Technical Director at Brighton.

Whilst Dan Ashworth has been approached and talks are set to happen, The Athletic say that Newcastle United are still open minded as to who will prove the best candidate, with Nolan Partners helping them in that process. That process not expected to be completed in time for somebody to be appointed who can then help with this immediate January transfer window.

The report adds that Dan Ashworth is on a rolling contract at Brighton, meaning that if Newcastle United and Ashworth reach an agreement, the two clubs will need to negotiate a financial settlement.


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