Melville strengthens Pompey structure

Andy Melville
Andy Melville
  • Former Wales defender joins Pompey as head of recruitment
  • Awford describes appointment as ‘another important building block’
  • Manager says he still has final say on players

Andy Awford believes Pompey have put another vital building block in place at the club following the appointment of Andy Melville as head of recruitment.

The former Wales international clocked up more than 700 games in an impressive playing career as a centre-back at Swansea, Oxford, Sunderland, Fulham and West Ham before his retirement in 2005.

It’s another important block in place on building the structure of the club and getting it closer to how we want it

Andy Awford

The 46-year-old earned 65 caps for his country and recently joined Awford’s backroom team to further improve the structure.

But while some Premier League clubs have taken recruitment decisions away from the manager, Awford insists he will always have the final say on players.

The boss said: ‘Andy reports to me. He has been brought in because it’s an area of the club that was weak and it needed strengthening.

‘It’s another important block in place on building the structure of the club and getting it closer to how we want it.

‘Andy has come in to head up that department and some part-time scouts will work underneath him to go and watch games and players.

‘He will also watch players for us – the ones we have our eye on.

‘Some managers might work with players that are brought in. But I will still have the final say on any players, whether they are loans or permanent.’

Melville was part of Oxford’s coaching set-up from 2009 to May 2014 and worked with Blues assistant boss Gary Waddock.

But Awford revealed there was a rigorous recruitment process to bring him into the club.

‘We advertised the position, lots of people applied, we interviewed six candidates and plumped for Andy,’ said Awford.

‘We did a thorough process to get him in and he was the best candidate.

‘Before I was manager, I wanted to strengthen the recruitment. It’s a key area in a football club.

‘Andy coming in will take a bit off me and all of the agents now deal with him.’

While Melville will predominantly be scouting for first-team players, he will also be keeping an eye on young talent.

‘We definitely have targets and, between now and the end of the season, Andy will go and watch them,’ added the manager.

‘Maybe 95 per cent of his time will be watching professional players.

‘But part of his remit is to dip his toes into the Academy games as well as that is an area we want to improve as well.

‘I’m not so sure you will see Andy watching Meon Milton v Cosham Boys on a Sunday morning but we will ask him to be aware of who Arsenal, Chelsea, Southampton or whoever are releasing.

‘We are still quite light in having scouts watching local football and that is an area we need to strengthen as well. But we are delighted to have him on board.’