Newcastle in talks with Ashworth over director of football role

Dan Ashworth is in advanced talks with Newcastle United over their director of football role after his departure from Brighton.

Ashworth resigned from his role as Brighton’s technical director on Monday, with the Seagulls saying he was set to take on a similar role “at another Premier League club”.

In December, Newcastle had been given permission to speak to Ashworth by Brighton, but they were keen to get the January transfer window out of the way before making any decisions.

Amanda Staveley led much of Newcastle’s transfer negotiations during the January window, but the new owners want a director of football to be in place to lead their summer transfer business. Newcastle will also appoint a chief executive following the departure of Lee Charnley in November.

Ashworth begins an extended period of gardening leave having left Brighton, after which he will be able to start any new position.

Brighton had been keen for the 50-year-old to stay at the Amex Stadium but allowed Ashworth to speak to Newcastle.

Former Everton and Rangers defender and Scotland international David Weir has taken over as Brighton’s acting technical director, having recently been promoted to assistant technical director.

Image: Former Everton and Rangers defender David Weir becomes Brighton’s acting technical director

Ashworth will continue to report to deputy chairman and chief executive Paul Barber during his notice period, but will not be expected to attend the club’s premises or matches after his handover is completed later this week.

Barber told the club’s official website: “We are sorry to learn of Dan’s decision. He’s been an important part of the club’s senior management team since joining us from The FA, and has made a significant contribution to our club’s progress in the Premier League and Women’s Super League.

“On a personal level, I will be sad to see Dan leave as we’d developed a close day-to-day working relationship. Dan’s been an excellent colleague and has become a good friend as well. I wish Dan and his family well for the future.

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“However, as is the case with all top-quality people in any industry, we are always conscious of the risk of losing key staff to a rival. With that in mind, we always put in place contingencies and succession plans that are designed to minimise the impact on our club.

“As such, our assistant technical director, David Weir, will now step up and assume the role of acting technical director. He is someone with an excellent knowledge of the role and of our club’s culture from working side-by-side with Dan.

“As previously, we will conduct a search process for the role of technical director, as it is only right to do so. We anticipate a lot of high-calibre applicants but we also fully expect and hope David will be a candidate in this process.”

Ashworth was the Football Association’s technical director before joining Brighton in September 2018, where he has helped establish the south coast side as a Premier League club.

Image: Ashworth (right) had worked closely with England manager Gareth Southgate during his time as the FA’s technical director

Brighton chairman Tony Bloom told the club’s official website: “We are extremely disappointed that Dan will no longer be our technical director. He leaves a significant legacy in place and for that we are greatly appreciative.

“Dan’s done an outstanding job and helped build on the progress the club had already made across all of our technical areas. I wish Dan and his family well for the future.”

Ashworth had been in charge of England’s elite men’s and women’s teams as well as education and coaching in his time at the FA.

He also had spells at West Brom, Peterborough and Cambridge United.

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Source : Sky Sports