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From Manager to Head of Recruitment in the Championship, with Andy Scott

We were fortunate enough to speak to ex professional player, manager and now Head of Recruitment at Swansea City F.C, Andy Scott about his career so far, working in key recruitment roles and how he sees the future of the industry.

PA UK: Tell us about your background and what has led you to this point....

AS: I played professionally for 12 years in all professional leagues until I was forced t retire at the age of 32 with a heart condition, moved into coaching with Leyton Orient youth team before moving to Brentford as Assistant Manager and then became the manager on a full time basis. Afetr spending 3 successful years at Brentford, I then joined Rotherham and then Aldershot before deciding management wasn't for me any more and approached Matthew Benham, the Brentford owner, about any opportunities he had. I started working for Smartodds, his betting company working with analytics before becoming Chief Scout and then Head of Recruitment. I then left to join Watford in the Premier League as U.K Head of Recruitment then Sporting Director. I've also done some consultancy work for Norwich City and currently Head of Recruitment at Swansea City.

PA UK: How did working in your current role come about?

AS: As above, I decided football management wasn't for me so I moved into analytics and scouting and developed my role through that as I had obviously done a lot of scouting in my time as a manager

PA UK: How did you find the transition from going from player to manager?

AS: With my heart condition I didn't really have a choice but to retire but I loved training and playing so to go into coaching and then a manager was different but I was grateful to still be employed in the game. Becoming a manager is completely different to being a player as you are responsible for the whole club and all the staff but that laid good foundations of my management skills for my current role with dealing with people and getting the best from them.

PA UK: Best moment in football?

AS: Scoring on my full professional debut for Sheffield United against Chelsea.

PA UK: Best player that you have worked with?

AS: Paul McGrath, incredible talent at the end of his career but still head and shoulders above everyone else. I would have loved to have played with him in his prime!

PA UK: What’s the ultimate goal for you and why?

AS: I'd like to become a Technical or Sporting Director at a Premier League club, I enjoy the management side of the football operations and feel that my experience in playing, coaching, analytics, finances, recruitment etc give me a good foundation to be successful and understand the needs of staff in all departments.

PA UK: How would you describe your club’s recruitment strategy?

AS: We like to sign, young, hungry, talented players with a growth mentality and potential to become bigger assets for the club by using the coaching and analysis teams to improve them.

PA UK: What methods do you use to gain information on players and potential signings?

AS: Video footage, live scouting, social media, networks with players, coaches, agents, newspaper reports - you become a detective effectively and use any resource available to find out the information you need.

PA UK: Do you use data to affect performance? If so, how?

AS: We use data to identify players but are aware that it has to be specific to the player, the style of play of their current team and how they are coached. The recruitment part is working out if that player can improve in the areas you need him to or if the data is telling you that he has reached a ceiling.

PA UK: What do you think is next for the recruitment industry?

AS: There are so many platforms and data available now that nearly every club has or should have access to it. The art of recruiting players is understanding your club's philosophy and implementing it dependant on finances etc.

From a technical point of view I can see data engineers designing software that can take a player from a game they've played and insert them in a game time model for our team and see how that works. Football manager but in FIFA mode if you like.

PA UK: What tool has the biggest impact on your job?

AS: Wyscout and Instat as it enables me to watch clips or games of players without having to travel across the world.

PA UK: What advice would you give someone that wants a job in the industry?

AS: Build your knowledge and C.V as quickly as possible. Understand the trends in the industry and become proficient in data analysis, reporting tools, player profiles etc but most importantly be prepared to work very hard for very little reward in the beginning.

If you are interested in working in football or know more about what the life of an analyst or a member of recruitment involves, take a look at our Introduction to Analysis Course here!

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