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HEAD OF RECRUITMENT: A familiar face takes post

Greg Abbott joins Simpson's backroom team

9 May 2022

Carlisle United have welcomed back another familiar face as former-boss Greg Abbott joins Paul Simpson’s backroom staff as head of recruitment.

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Abbott, 58, first came to Brunton Park in July 2006 as assistant to Neil McDonald in League One, and was caretaker, winning five of his 10 games in charge, before he once again took the number two role under John Ward.

He once again stepped up when Ward moved on and was handed the position on a permanent basis in December 2008. He stayed at the helm as United’s gaffer until September 2013, having taken the club to two Wembley finals, winning the JPT in 2011.

He has held coaching and managerial roles with Bradford City and Notts County, and was head of football operations with Mansfield Town.

Most recently he has been in charge of recruitment at Solihull Moors, having overcome a cancer scare in 2018.

Manager Paul Simpson said: “I’m delighted to get this one over the line.

“When I was thinking about this, looking to get a head of recruitment into the building, I knew that I needed somebody who is experienced, and somebody who knows the leagues that we’ll be fishing in.

“We’ll be looking at the National League, some of League One and League Two, and maybe at the possibility of taking some Championship players out on loan, and some of the emerging younger players from the Premier League.

“I wanted somebody here who knew that, and who knows how to tap into it. I also wanted somebody who knows what it’s like to be part of Carlisle United, and who knows where Carlisle is, because that’s a challenge in itself.”

“When I was going through all of the names in my head I came up with Greg’s and I decided to have a conversation with him,” he added. “He was so enthusiastic about coming back in.

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“He’s been working at Solihull, so he had to get things done properly there, and he wanted to make sure that he treated them with respect.

“That’s why I’ve been really nervous over the last week about whether or not he was going to get it sorted, because I knew he was a very valued member of their team.

“I was praying that they didn’t do everything to keep him there and I’m so pleased that he’s walked into the building today.

“This afternoon is now about sitting down and going through lists and lists of players so that we can finalise what it is we’re looking for.”

Looking at the next steps, now that the backroom team has had this new addition, he commented: “I’ve already had loads of conversations with him.

“He was at the game on Saturday, I sent him a message to let him know what I was thinking, and I told him to give me his thoughts on it all.

“I made it clear that I don’t want a ‘yes’ man, I want him to challenge me, and he totally agrees. He’s looked at how we played and he’s said, yep, that’s what we need, and we also need a bit more.

“We’re both on the same sheet, as is Gav, and hopefully we can get straight into it and start getting players into the club.”

And the experience gleaned from so many areas of the industry proved to be the overriding factor when it came to finalising the appointment.

“He’s got great experience and he doesn’t half tick a lot of boxes,” the manager said. “I think you have to have that.

“I see clubs appointing inexperienced, young people into these positions as heads of recruitment and all of these talent ID roles, but I’m a bit old school.

“I like the new methods, I like the data and video analysis, and all of that, but you can’t beat an experienced football person who has got the grey hairs and who has been there and seen it and done it.

“I think he’ll be a really good addition to our team.”

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