With Richard Hughes joining the backroom staff at The New Lawn after being announced as Forest Green Rovers’ head of recruitment, we sat down with the former Everton man to find out a bit more about his plans for the club.
Read what he had to say in our Q&A here:
Welcome to the club Richard, how did the approach come about?
“I’ve worked with Scott Lindsey, the assistant manager, in the past. I always had a good relationship with Scott when I worked with him at Tamworth and he actually gave me a call saying that the club would be interested in bringing someone in to help out with the recruitment and whether it would be something I would be interested in.
“I spoke at length with Mark on the phone and spent a bit of time down at the training ground and got a great feel and the start of a good working relationship.
“I met the chairman and he offered me the job after the meeting and from then I had a weeks’ notice to work at Everton and then was happy to come on board and I’m looking forward to getting going.”
Your role at Everton was as the Academy recruitment coordinator, can you tell us a bit more about your path to this role?
“I spent a lot of time working at first-team recruitment level at Tamworth, Burnley and Wigan.
“I took a role within Everton’s Academy for my own development to learn how a top-class Academy works in terms of their recruitment but first-team work was something I always wanted to kick on with and had a passion for.
“When I had the opportunity to come and get back involved in a club like Forest Green I was delighted and jumped at the opportunity.”
Having met both the chairman and the manager, what are the initial plans when it comes to recruitment?
“With the retained list coming out, it looks as though we are quite low on numbers in terms of players but there are plans afoot to bring in and strengthen the group.
“We want to make sure that everyone we bring in is going to add to the quality of the group and are the right sort of characters for the group.
“I think it’s really important that we get the recruitment right this summer and help to make the club stronger going forward for next season.
“We want to make sure the players we are bringing in are going to be affecting the first XI on a Saturday.
“We do have a few positions earmarked and have got a few players that we would like to speak to and we’re starting discussions on a few things.
“Everything is on the move and we’re hoping to get everything right and get everything in place for the start of pre-season.”
Although you have only just been announced, has work already begun on recruitment and identifying the right players?
“There’s been a few things going on in the background.
“I was working a week’s notice at Everton but I was for the most part doing this job because of the way that football doesn’t wait for anyone.
“We’re well underway with a few things and we’re hopeful that everyone we bring in will be effective in making the team better for next season.”
How important is it for the club to have this new position of head of recruitment, with the responsibility falling mainly to manager Mark Cooper up until now?
“I have so much respect for managers that have to take on all of the recruitment because it is a tough role and it’s a job in itself.
“Going forward for the club it’s really important that someone is there to take the burden off Mark so he can actually concentrate on running the football team.
“I can take care of the recruitment but ultimately all the work I will do will be to provide players’ names and targets to Mark.
“I’ll work closely with him to make sure he is happy with everything that is going on and I will do my best to support him going forward.”
At League Two level, there is a high turnover of players each season and FGR have been no different in the last two windows, do you see that continuing?
“There is quite a high turnover and it is something that we are trying to be aware of.
“We are going to be getting everything right for this summer and then we want to be working six or 12 months in advance.
“We want to make sure we know what is going to happen and staying ahead of things.
“We want to be well planned and on top of recruitment going forward."
FGR uses player data analysis that matches some Premier League sides, how important is this side of the game in recruitment now?
“It’s a really useful and unique tool for the football club to have.
“It provides insights that wouldn’t necessarily be available to League Two clubs and for us to have that as a tool is a real asset.
“I will work closely with all staff at the club and we’ll hope to use as many different sources as we can to make sure we get the recruitment right.”