Who is Richard Hughes? Liverpool appoint new sporting director Latest News
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Who is Richard Hughes? Liverpool appoint new sporting director

Who is Richard Hughes? Liverpool appoint new sporting director

On Wednesday morning, the Times' Paul Joyce broke the news that Liverpool were on the cusp of announcing Richard Hughes as their new sporting director. He will replace Jorg Schmadtke in June.

This news has now been confirmed by Liverpool FC via their official channels, with a statement being released on the club's website.

Speaking about his new position with Liverpool, Hughes said: “I am incredibly proud to be offered this opportunity. Liverpool FC is a unique club and I’m grateful to be given a chance to serve it in this capacity.

“People rightly talk about the rich history this organisation can boast, but it is the present and future which really excites me. Jürgen Klopp is leading an outstanding team and squad and alongside that the commitment to young players and their pathway to the first team is also outstanding.

“I am fully aware of the expectations and responsibilities that come with taking this position. It will be my job, working with Michael [Edwards] and leading the football operations team already in place, plus the wider staff at the AXA Training Centre, to make good decisions.

“That’s really what the job entails: you have to make the kind of good decisions which enhance the prospects of having a team that wins and excites the supporters. It is what Liverpool have done well for a very long time and the benefits are there for everyone to see.”

After Michael Edwards returned to the club in a new role with FSG with overarching responsibility for the club's football operations and his "top priority" was to ratify Hughes' move to Anfield.

Who is Richard Hughes?

Who is Richard Hughes? Liverpool appoint new sporting director

Richard Hughes, at the helm of Liverpool's sporting direction from May 2024, emerges as a pivotal figure in the football landscape.

Currently winding down his tenure with Bournemouth as the sporting director, Hughes carries a reputation that precedes him.

Renowned for his linguistic versatility, Hughes boasts proficiency in Italian, a trait honed during his formative years in Italy. As Lewis Steele aptly puts it, he seems to possess an expansive network within the football fraternity, earning him the epithet of "knowing everyone in football."

A significant aspect of Hughes' narrative intertwines with his enduring camaraderie with Michael Edwards, going back to their shared past at Portsmouth two decades ago.

The Daily Mail reports that Hughes is said to have a close relationship with Edwards and is an admirer of the 44-year-old's transfer negotiations skills.

His journey in football administration commenced in 2016 when he assumed the role of sporting director at Bournemouth, orchestrating pivotal decisions behind the scenes. Notably, his expertise didn't escape the discerning eyes of Serie A giants Roma, who expressed interest in securing his services.

He was born in Scotland but moved to Italy as a kid where he declined the opportunity to enroll in the AC Milan academy as a youngster, instead opting for Arsenal.

Although his professional playing career didn't see any first-team appearances with the Gunners, Hughes found his niche at Bournemouth and later Portsmouth, where he scored the winning goal over Liverpool in a 1-0 defeat in the FA Cup in 2004.

Amidst his playing days, Hughes discovered a passion for talent scouting and recruitment. Reflecting on this transition, he confessed to the Bournemouth website in 2019 his initial indifference towards such a career path. However, fate had other plans as Hughes seamlessly transitioned from the pitch to the boardroom, navigating the intricate landscape of football recruitment with aplomb.

He told the Bournemouth website: "I didn’t necessarily have ambitions to work in the recruitment side of things when I was a player. I was a student of the game, loved analysing the game and loved having an opinion and sharing it with people – and I’ve found myself doing all that in recruitment. Ever since then I’ve had very little chance to come up for air because it’s been one window after another and I’ve learned that it’s a job that never really sleeps, when one window shuts you’re preparing for the next one, especially when you’re working for a manager who’s as demanding for progression as Eddie is.”

If Hughes is sporting director, what is Michael Edwards' new role?

Michael Edwards' return to Liverpool marks a significant shift in the club's hierarchy, as the 44-year-old assumes a broader role overseeing football operations within Fenway Sports Group's restructuring, according to This is Anfield.

This move, catalysed by Jurgen Klopp's impending departure, sees Edwards appointed as the CEO of Football, entrusted with a wide array of responsibilities, including the recruitment of new leadership for Liverpool's football operation.

Edwards' first task in this capacity involves appointing a successor to the sporting director role which he has done with Richard Hughes poised to join from Bournemouth.

Together, Edwards and Hughes will spearhead negotiations for Liverpool's next manager, with Xabi Alonso emerging as a frontrunner, closely followed by alternatives such as Ruben Amorim and Julian Nagelsmann.

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