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Gary Rowett and Mark Warburton did not fit the bill for Norwich City’s top brass

PUBLISHED: 19:15 19 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:43 20 March 2017

Gary Rowett, then with Birmingham, shares a touchline with Alex Neil. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd.

Gary Rowett, then with Birmingham, shares a touchline with Alex Neil. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd.

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Ed Balls is convinced Norwich City’s board is right not to make a panic appointment to replace Alex Neil.

Mark Warburton has taken over as Nottingham Forest manager. Picture: PAMark Warburton has taken over as Nottingham Forest manager. Picture: PA

Both Mark Warburton and Gary Rowett have since been snapped up by Championship rivals Nottingham Forest and Derby respectively, but the Canaries’ hierarchy reiterated on Saturday they want a sporting director in place before appointing a head coach.

Alan Irvine is now poised to continue in temporary charge after completing his initial two-match brief with a 2-0 Championship win over Barnsley.

“To have gone in quickly for an old-style manager would have been an upside down way of doing this and wouldn’t work,” said the City chairman. “We said after we terminated Alex’s contract we would announce a new structure and we have done so. No doubt some fans would have been frustrated why we were not in immediately for a new manager. That is not the approach we have decided to take. We really want to get the football side and recruitment side strengthened, and the head coach is part of that.

“We concluded from January onwards, having spoken to a lot of people inside the game, the old style of having a manager in charge of everything is no longer going to work for us.”

Balls rejected any suggestion the new organisational structure could lead to confusion, with the traditional chief executive post now split between Steve Stone as managing director and the incoming sporting director. Ricky Martin and Richard Money will report in to the new sporting director, who will work closely with the head coach.

“Steve will run the non-football side, a sporting director will plan and embed our values and a head coach will come in and try to win games every week and be part of that strategy, but not in charge of the whole thing because that is an impossible job,” said Balls. “The managing director will report to the board on all business matters. We need them to efficient and bring in revenue. Then on the football side the sporting director will report in on all football matters. In truth, before you had one person doing that role, with Alex Neil reporting directly to David McNally and then Jez Moxey. Now we have split that out and there is further division within the football side. That has not been clear enough in the past and we aim to address that with this new structure.

“Traditionally, we have had a chief executive for years who has run everything. Increasingly that is a hard thing to do when you have a large business side to a football club of our size and also where the recruitment side is so complex and global, where you have to plan your academy and recruitment in a strategic, long term way. I don’t think we have done that enough over recent times.”

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