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Club News


23 May 2017

Club News


23 May 2017


Cambridge United have clarified the Club’s football structure going forward after a full and thorough review of the Football Operation at the conclusion of last season.

After the appointment, earlier in the 2016-17 season, of Ben Strang as Head of Football Operations to oversee the Sports Science, Medical & Analysis Departments, Recruitment and the Academy, the traditional role of ‘Manager’ no longer fits within the Club’s football structure.

With Ben managing all of these specialist football departments, it will allow Shaun to focus on the selection, tactics, coaching and management of the First Team, with his role redefined as Head Coach of the Football Club.

Cambridge United CEO, Jez George, provides further detail about the announcement: “Whilst reviewing our long-term vision and how we implement our football strategy, Shaun suggested to me that his title changed to ‘Head Coach’ to more aptly describe his role, which had evolved within the overall structure of our Football Operation during the course of last season.  

“To be clear, Shaun’s autonomy in the overall management of the First Team remains unaltered.  The position of ‘Head Coach’ rather than ‘Manager’ simply reflects our football structure, which ensures the long-term development of our infrastructure, staff and philosophy is implemented by a Head of Football Operations.  

“Ben Strang has gradually assumed more of these responsibilities, whilst still leading our recruitment department, so it makes sense that his responsibilities are clearly defined going forward.

“Football management is no longer a one-man job, and in Shaun’s role now being more definitive, it gives him an even better opportunity to utilise his strengths and build on the progress that has been made during his 19 months in charge.  He is at the start of what we believe can be a long and successful career in football management and, as with all our staff and players, we are committed to helping him to develop his future.”

Shaun Derry echoed these sentiments, commenting: “The structure that has evolved since my appointment in November 2015 makes these changes absolutely right for the way the Club wants to move forward.  

“It is right the Club has a clearly defined vision and philosophy.  It is also right for the Club to employ staff that will transcend any ‘Manager’ or ‘Head Coach’.  I am excited to be working with clarity and a clear plan for the forthcoming season and I know that with everyone’s backing, we can be successful.”     

Meanwhile, Cambridge United are also pleased to announce the appointment of Alex Fraser as Head of Recruitment, who leaves a Technical Scouting role at Tottenham Hotspur, to join the Club later this month.    

Jez added: “Alex is a fantastic appointment, who will bring some qualities that will enhance our recruitment process and help us to adopt a more analytical approach. He joins an outstanding staff within the First Team, Academy and each department of our Football Operation.  

“They are talented, hard-working and ambitious, with different strengths, expertise and experience.  Our job is to harness those different qualities to create a successful club, on and off the pitch.”

In line with these changes, Joe Dunne will become Assistant Head Coach and Mick Halsall will combine his role as First Team Coach with Senior Professional Phase Lead Coach, a role required under our Category 3 Academy status to provide the link between the young and senior professional players.  Mick’s significant experience as an Academy Manager, U23 Coach and First Team Coach at all levels of professional football over a number of years, will enable him to fulfil this role within our structure.  

Jez concluded: “The review process undertaken in conjunction with the senior staff within our Football Operation has led to a refined structure which provides absolute clarity on how each department impacts on the First Team.   This will ensure the best possible results on the pitch and enhance the long-term development of the Club.”

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