BARNSLEY are hoping to have their first permanent director of football in place by the end of 2023 and one of the candidates is legendary player Bobby Hassell who is doing the job on an interim basis.
The Reds are restructuring their backroom set-up as chief executive Khaled El-Ahmad is due to join MLS club Minnesota United from Friday of next week. His departure – after more than two years in the role – was announced last month and chairman Parekh admitted the situation had become ‘more of a disruption right now’.
The club are looking to replace him and also bring in a director of football for the first time in their history.
They announced this week that Reds legend Hassell would become acting director of football and director of revenue Jon Flatman interim chief executive. Hassell played 299 games for the club and has been academy manager while Flatman is the former chairman of rugby league club York City Knights.
Parekh said: “We wanted to give both of them a chance at the job. They will both go into the mix like any other candidate but they have the best interview, so to speak, over the next couple of weeks to a month.
“It might take longer if we have to bring someone in from another club.
“There have been more than 100 applicants and we’ve been surprised by the level of interest and the quality of candidates. We have filtered it down to about 15 people and, by the end of next week, we will have it down to the final five then run through an interview process.”
Discussing how the two roles would dovetail, Parekh said: “The job is too big for one person to be a CEO and director of football. It requires very different skillsets.
“The CEO will handle everything non-football – merchandising, ticketing, sponsorship, commercial and catering.
“The director of football will handle everything related to football – player transfers, contracts, coaching staff, physios and sports science.
“It doesn’t have to be a former player, just someone who is good at the job.
“Bobby Hassell is the interim director of football – he knows the club very well and he worked closely with Khaled so it should be seamless transition.”
Parekh said the recruitment process for chief executive would start imminently. But he added: “We think Jon Flatman can handle the role.
“He’s been chief revenue officer for almost a year and done a lot of the duties that a typical CEO would do.
“If you look at Khaled, Dane (Murphy), Gauthier (Ganaye), most of their duties were football related and a lot of the organisational and commercial stuff was taken up by others.
“Jon will be assisted by Rob Zuk (finance director and board member).”
Head coach Neill Collins said: “Khaled has had an opportunity to go elsewhere and him and the club have agreed this is the best time to leave.
“That is based on the fact that we have people like Jon and Bobby.
“We can go into January and do the business we need to do without harming the team.
“I will be working more closely with Bobby and I already have been. We are very aligned.
“Short-term we have someone who knows the club. There won’t be any disruptions. It makes perfect sense.
“Khaled did both roles, now the club is looking to split it. That should add more quality and they can each go into more detail.”