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Newcastle United January transfer window adviser goes public with what happened

3 months ago
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Nick Hammond has gone public, in explaining his involvement with Newcastle United.

The former Reading, West Brom and Celtic Technical Director says that he was first approached in November (2021).

Nick Hammond engaged to help with the then upcoming January 2022 transfer window.

A transfer window situation that was complicated by so many factors…

The club in the relegation zone.

New owners having taken over only in the October.

Those owners inheriting a club that had been ran with a skeleton staff, especially in senior positions.

A club that was in the process of looking for a Director of Football and a new Chief Executive.

New owners with no previous experience of owning / running a football club, with the only small exception being that Jamie Reuben had been a Director at QPR in the past.

Nick Hammond then taken on in a temporary basis and his summing up of what he was asked to do, “My job, really, was to advise the owners in relation to the players, the due diligence around the players and the financial aspects of the deals they were trying to complete.’

In total five January signings were eventually made, with Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimaraes and Dan Burn bought in, as well as Matt Targett on loan.

This is what Nick Hammond has told Training Ground Guru about his time helping out at Newcastle United:

“To me, it was a really interesting and quite exciting opportunity to come and work with the new owners, of which there are three groups; with Eddie Howe, who I knew from being in the game for a long time; and Steve Nickson, an extremely good, experienced Head of Recruitment.

“Newcastle have a long-term plan, for sure, but they had a short-term problem when we were going into the January window. Quite clearly they wanted to appoint a new CEO, a new Sporting Director and build the club out from there, but in the short term they were approaching the January window and looking for someone who had a degree of experience navigating trough the complexities of any transfer window, let alone a January window.

“My job, really, was to advise the owners in relation to the players, the due diligence around the players and the financial aspects of the deals they were trying to complete.

“I said to the guys at the start, this will be the hardest transfer window you’ll probably ever have, because you are literally a group of people coming together in a very short space of time and having to hit the ground running.

“Fortunately there’s a very experienced Head Coach there, a very clear thinking guy, very precise in terms of what he wants and what he wanted, which is critical for a Head Coach – that clarity that comes from them is massively important. Fortunately Eddie Howe gave that to the people dealing with the transfer window at Newcastle.

“My role (at Newcastle) was a little bit more in the background than I would be as a normal Sporting Director, as a Sporting Director over my career I would lead the discussions, lead the negotiations with potential signings.

“This role was sort of a step removed from that, doing the checks and balances in the background, having an opinion on the players who had already been identified by Steve Nickson and his team, having taken a good steer from Eddie Howe, the new Head Coach, who had to make very quick decisions in terms of where he saw his squad.

“It was a fascinating experience, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but very challenging time for them (the owners).

“It was interesting in as much as here you’ve got a group of people who all want to achieve the same thing but they’re new, they’re almost thrown together.

“I don’t mean that in a haphazard way, but new group of owners; new Head Coach; Steve (Nickson), who’s been in the building for a long time, and all of a sudden in a very short space of time you’ve got to come together and make some decisions to try and strengthen the team for what is the short term ambition of staying in the Premier League.”

Newcastle United are still yet to appoint a new Chief Executive, although a number of candidates have been identified and spoken to already, so hopefully an appointment soon.

As for the Director of Football role, it is the worst kept secret in football that Dan Ashworth will be the man. However, both The Times and The Mail reported this week that Brighton are set to insist he stays on gardening leave potentially right up to November, unless Newcastle United are willing to pay “Millions” to release him from that Brighton contract clause.

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