Liverpool’s sporting director Julian Ward will STEP DOWN from his role at the end of the season due to personal reasons… just six months after taking over from Michael Edwards
- Liverpool’s sporting director Julian Ward will step down at the end of the season
- Ward only assumed his role earlier this year, but is leaving for personal reasons
- It adds further uncertainty after owners FSG put the club up for sale last month
- Ward has been at Liverpool since 2011, holding a number of positions at the club
Julian Ward, Liverpool’s sporting director, has informed the club he will step down from his position at the end of the season.
It is a sudden and unexpected development, as the 41-year-old only took over from Michael Edwards at the end of the last campaign. It is understood the decision has been made for personal reasons and the club have reluctantly accepted his period of notice.
Liverpool maintain that is not a development that will impact on the plans they have for the next two transfer windows.
Julian Ward has told Liverpool he will step down from his position at the end of the season
The Reds sporting director only took over from Michael Edwards (left) at the end of last season
But this news is significant as it comes in the middle of a period of great uncertainty for Liverpool – in the last month, owners Fenway Sports Group have put the club up for sale and Mike Gordon, the president who oversees day-to-day business, is stepping back from his crucial role.
Ward, who has held a number of positions within Liverpool’s technical staff since he joined them in 2011 having previously worked at the Portugal FA, succeeded the influential Michael Edwards, having worked alongside him for the previous 12 months.
It had been a whirlwind start to his time in the role as Ward was instrumental in securing Liverpool’s potentially record-breaking signing of Darwin Nunez from Benfica and completing the contract extension for Mohamed Salah.
There have been a number of other new deals in recent months, too, with Diogo Jota, Joe Gomez and Curtis Jones all committing their futures to the club, while the signing of Fabio Carvalho from Fulham is one Liverpool believe will reap rich dividends.
Ward enjoys a close relationship with Jurgen Klopp – the pair play paddle tennis together – and Liverpool maintain that the manager’s decision to extend his own contract to June 2026 is the element that provides stability going forward.
Ward (right) enjoys a close relationship with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (centre)
Ward was instrumental in securing Liverpool’s record-breaking signing of Darwin Nunez
FSG are confident that Billy Hogan, the club’s chief executive, can step up and assume the role that Gordon, a major ally of Klopp, has held but there will not be an appointment from within to take over from Ward – they will look for an external candidate.
There is no indication at this stage as to who that will be but, at a juncture when Chelsea are also looking for a new sporting director, it is not a time when Liverpool will be able to be too passive in their search.
In further news at Anfield, the club’s director of research, Ian Graham, has also resigned from his role, according to The Athletic.
Dr Graham announced his resignation to the club in June, but he is working his notice period until May 2023 – providing Liverpool with the strongest chance of replacing him.
He has been with the Reds since April 2012, and his key responsibilities have included growing Liverpool’s data department, with a major focus on recruitment and player analysis.