NEWCASTLE: Dan Ashworth has revealed Newcastle United’s huge potential as one of the main factors in his decision to swap the south coast for Tyneside.
On Monday, the Magpies confirmed the appointment of former England DNA architect Ashworth as the club’s first ever sporting director, with Premier League approval granted over the weekend.
Ashworth will start work at St James’ Park “immediately” after waiting more than three months to get started at Newcastle. In February, Brighton & Hove Albion refused to release the football executive from his position despite Ashworth tendering his resignation. Newcastle and their Premier League rivals last week came to a financial agreement to free Ashworth from his contractual ties, with the new Magpies hire working the full eight months notice required as part of his deal.
The fee paid in order to rip up Ashworth's Seagulls deal is thought to be in the region of $3.7 million.
“Newcastle United is an incredible football club and I’m delighted to be joining at this very exciting time,” said Ashworth.
“Each time I’ve been to St. James’ Park in the past, I have been reminded of the club’s long history and the unrivaled passion of its fan base. It is a huge football club with great potential, and I am incredibly positive about what we can collectively achieve.
“I’m excited to start work immediately and look forward to being part of a team that is helping the club to grow and achieve long-term success.”
Confirming the news, a club statement revealed Ashworth will begin his role “immediately” as the club look to improve on their 11th-placed Premier League finish last season.
Ashworth’s role is an all-encompassing one, with his remit covering the preparation of a club sporting strategy, football development and recruitment at all age levels as well as building a close working relationship with head coach Eddie Howe, academy manager Steve Harper and head of recruitment Steve Nickson.
The 51-year-old has performed similar roles at West Bromwich Albion and the Football Association. During his six years with the FA, Ashworth played an integral role in devising and introducing the “England DNA” concept, designed to inject a winning culture at international level.
Appointing Ashworth is the first major football appointment away from the first-team boss and is expected to be one of many changes off the pitch at Newcastle.
Reacting to the news, in a joint statement, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media said: “On behalf of the board, staff and players, we would like to welcome Dan Ashworth to the Newcastle United family.
“Dan was the ideal person for this hugely important position. He has a strong track record in elite level football and we are delighted to have him join Newcastle United ahead of the new season.”
A club statement read: “Dan Ashworth has commenced his role as Newcastle United’s sporting director after the club received formal Premier League approval for his move from Brighton & Hove Albion.
“The club announced on Monday 30 May that an agreement had been reached to release Ashworth from his contractual duties as Brighton & Hove Albion’s technical director and complete a move to the Magpies. He has now cleared the relevant Premier League approval process.”