Clyde’s new Sporting Director, Graham Diamond took the time this weekend to speak to the official website, to introduce himself to supporters and give his thoughts on the role.
Graham started with background on how the appointment came about and his extensive career in football to date:-
“I was informed by a friend of mine that the club had undergone a restructure of the Board and were looking to change roles and responsibilities to move the club forward. It was recognised that it lacked certain skillsets in areas of their strategic plan for taking the club forward and my friend suggested with my knowledge and experience that I would be a good fit for the role of Sporting Director.
“My full-time job at the moment is the Legacy and Development Manager for the UEFA Euro 2020 Championships, which has now been postponed until June 2021. I am also a tutor and assessor for coach education courses for children, youth and adult pathways at the Scottish Football Association.
“I have over 30 years’ experience working at every level of the game from grassroots clubs such as Clyde Soccer and Jimmy Johnstone Academy to Premier League clubs such as Celtic, Motherwell, St. Mirren, Ross County and also lower league clubs including Partick Thistle, Falkirk, Dumbarton, Albion Rovers and Stenhousemuir.
“I have worked closely with various high-profile managers and coaches in the game, such as Craig Brown, Terry Butcher, Darren Ferguson, Maurice Malpas, Murdo MacLeod, Gordon Chisholm and Chris McCart and Craig Mulholland, who are the current academy directors at Celtic and Rangers respectively.
“I have worked with Celtic as an international elite youth player coach and coach educator in the international academy programme and have worked with talented young players and mentored coaches in Australia, Cambodia, Canada, China, Ireland, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates and USA.
“I also previously worked at Clyde in the youth development department alongside Lee Sharp and Pat Keogh.”
Graham continued with his vision for the role going forward:-
“I have only met my fellow board members virtually online, with everyone else on furlough at the moment, but I’ve been made to feel very welcome.
“My role is to produce a robust strategy with clear specific targets for the development of the football department, within agreed realistic budgets, to provide Danny with the best possible opportunity for achieving success and continuable improvement for the club.
“I am there as a support mechanism for Danny and the link between the dressing room and the boardroom. Danny will continue to be in charge of all football related matters such as coaching, team selection, style of play and will have final say on all first team signings.”
In challenging and uncertain times, Graham explained what his immediate focus was, looking ahead to the 2020-21 period:-
“My first priority, along with the other board members, is to finalise a working budget to present to Danny for the signing of players to complete a squad. In these unique and unprecedented times that task has become extremely difficult with the present unknown present factors of Covid-19, such as:
- Potential league reconstruction
- End of furlough dates
- Unknown restart dates for training and fixtures
- Cost of testing for players and staff
- Playing games behind closed doors
- Allowing fans back to games (when, how many, what will that look like)
- Season ticket pricing
- Extra logistical costs e.g. PPE for staff, hand sanitizers throughout the Stadium, deep cleaning regimes for training and matchdays for players and fans
“Once a budget has been finalised, I will be looking to initiate and implement a recruitment team to comprehensively cover all sectors of the game from amateur, Junior, Lowland, Club Academy Scotland, Championship, Leagues 1 and 2 as well as Premiership teams for potential loan players.”
To conclude, Graham gave his own view on the wider situation around Scottish football and how the new campaign might develop:-
“As things are changing on a daily basis and sometimes what appears to be an hourly basis it is almost impossible to try and second guess anymore. As it stands though, we’re going to be in an exciting and very competitive League 1.
“I don’t think there is much difference between Leagues 1 and 2. With the present situation of unknown financial factors and what clubs will be able to afford to play and when, it is all up in the air. The cost of Covid-19 testing is substantial and will effectively negate the generous offer of £50k donated by James Anderson, if clubs can utilise it in that fashion.
“For the medium term, it is my ambition to have the club challenging for the Championship, playing attractive and attacking football. Led by Danny, we can have a level of improvement year on year with the development of young, fresh, hungry, exciting, talented players who the fans can relate to and enjoy coming to see every game.”