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CLUB: We needed to change the way we operated

Chief executive Nigel Clibbens at last week's press conference

16 September 2018

United’s chief executive Nigel Clibbens explained at last week’s press conference the benefits of having a director of football will bring to the club as a behind-the-scenes restructure continues at Brunton Park.

“I’m used to working in the same kind of arrangement, it’s what I’ve been brought up on,” he said. “It was similar at my previous club. We’ve seen that more and more clubs have followed this kind of route and they’ve seen the benefits of it.

“We’re pleased that we’ve been able to put this in place here at Carlisle. We’ve spoken for a number of months about the need to change the way we approach things and how the club runs, and we’ve had to learn from what’s happened over the last 18 months or so.

“David [Holdsworth] coming in makes a big change in the way we work. It’s important that the manager has as much support as the club can give him and sometimes that’s required on football matters and not just on club matters. The more expertise in all areas we have, the better it has to be for all of us.”

“For the board, it means we’re more able to ask the challenging football questions, which can be critical to the success of a club overall,” he explained. “With the additional football knowledge, we can ask the pertinent questions about recruitment, player development, academy progress, and all of the things which fall under the football banner.

“With David joining us it puts more tools in our kit bag and that’s a great step forward for us. Again, from a board point of view, the relationship and dynamics between owners who write the cheques and managers who pick the teams are crucial to the sustainability of the club.

“We needed to change the way we operated in that regard and David will be the person who is a liaison between the two parties.”

And on the changes that will make to the role of chief executive, he said: “It hasn’t changed the role in the way you might think. The way we used to operate was that the manager had a huge amount of freedom and autonomy in the way he managed things.

“We talked many times in the recent past about Keith [Curle] referring to going direct to the owners when he was discussing player recruitment, for example, rather than doing that through a CEO.

“That’s the main area where this has changed. Those football matters now go through David and he reports to the board. I’m part of that board, so it means we’re all in this together.

“Maybe in the past the manager has had too much freedom and the board hasn’t exercised enough pull back and push back in certain areas. That’s the change in structure that David Holdsworth has been talking about.”

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