Coventry City recruitment chief inspired by Stuart Webber’s Norwich City model

PUBLISHED: 10:24 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:37 23 September 2020

Coventry City's head of recruitment Chris Badlan is a disciple of Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber. Picture: Jacob King/PA Images

Coventry City's head of recruitment Chris Badlan is a disciple of Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber. Picture: Jacob King/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Coventry City are a club hoping to adopt a progressive recruitment model to help them climb up the leagues - spearheaded by former Norwich City recruitment chief Chris Badlan and inspired by Canaries sporting director Stuart Webber.

Badlan worked as head of European recruitment for the Canaries in 2017 after being invited by Stuart Webber to help create the recruitment model that has drawn praise following City’s Championship title win in 2019.

City’s recruitment involved shopping in markets that were less travelled in the hope of discovering talent for a small fee. This summer, the Sky Blues have signed players from the Netherlands, the second divison in France and the Bundesliga Two.

Alongside looking in foreign markets, Badlan has also encouraged the club to utilise the loan and free market to search for talent in the hope of allowing Coventry to thrive without a massive financial outlay.

For Badlan, the route into football hasn’t been conventional - from working on a building site, he now has the job of building a football team.

Stuart Webber is the man making the difficult decisions this summer.
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdStuart Webber is the man making the difficult decisions this summer. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

“I was a builder and I decided it wasn’t what I wanted to do and I wanted to go back to university,” he told Sky Sports.

“I was a mature student and as part of my degree there was a performance analysis, data analytics module within it. I’d never really heard of it, but it was really interesting, so I started looking at that.”

Badlan took an internship at Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he would meet one of his biggest influences in Webber and would go on to forge a close relationship with the Canaries sporting director.

“I was working with Stu and we had a fantastic relationship and then he went to Norwich and I got offered to go with him as the head of European recruitment and help set up the department for them. It was a fantastic experience.”

Former Norwich City striker Mark Robins is at the helm of Coventry City's rebuild. Picture: PA ImagesFormer Norwich City striker Mark Robins is at the helm of Coventry City's rebuild. Picture: PA Images

Badlan left Carrow Road a year later to head up the Sky Blues recruitment department - a decision he describes as ‘the best I’ve ever made’.

Under former Norwich City striker Mark Robins, Coventry won promotion from League One last season despite not having a home ground - Badlan praises Coventry’s boss for their success.

“The credit has to go to the football club and Mark Robins,” says Badlan.

“That’s the number one thing. I’ve come into the football club, but Mark was the one that laid the blueprint and he’s got a vision of where he sees the football club going.

“What really helps is that I think as a football club we’ve all got the same ideology on how we want football to be played so it almost marries up together.”

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