At the end of the 2021-22 season, Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards will step down from his role at the club and the current assistant sporting director, Julian Ward, will take over. It’s news that has been something of an open secret for some time now, but which was confirmed today by Edwards himself.
“All good things must come to an end and, in my case, I recently completed my final summer window as Liverpool sporting director,” Edwards wrote in an open letter to fans confirming his departure. “Even writing those words seems a bit surreal, but at the end of this season I will pack up my laptop and leave my office for the last time.
“Before I do so, though, I wanted to take this opportunity to explain the reasons why I’m moving on because I’m a great believer that supporters deserve clarity at times like this. The last thing I want is unfounded speculation, particularly as I know the Liverpool Football Club that I am leaving behind couldn’t be in better hands.”
Ward, his successor, has been at the club for eight seasons now and was promoted to assistant sporting director a year ago after previously being in charge of arranging and monitoring outgoing loans for the club’s younger players. His promotion was made with an eye to him taking over if Edwards departed.
“Julian has been building up the skill set for this role for many years and there are countless elements of his development that could be highlighted, none more so than the outstanding work he did in creating our loan department six years ago,” Edwards noted. “Last year, he took on the role of assistant sporting director.
“Over the past 12 months he has been introduced to other facets of the role that are vital to its success. Julian’s elevation is wholly in keeping with what I believe to be a key factor of the Liverpool Way, with promotion from within ensuring expertise, experience, and institutional knowledge are cherished in the way that they should be.”
Edwards also went out of his way to remind everyone that while he’s become known as the club’s stats man, he’s simply the most well known of the club’s recruitment team, one built out over the years since Fenway Sports Group bought the club. That department, those people, and the established methodology will remain.
As for what comes next, while Edwards isn’t saying, journalists with ties to the club insist the intention is for the sporting director to take some time away from the game after a decade at Liverpool—and that none of Newcastle, RB Leipzig, or Real Madrid are possible destinations for him next summer despite the chatter.
“With the new training ground complete, many of the core players committed to the club through long-term contracts and some of the hard work translated into trophies, it’s time for me to move on,” Edwards—who also revealed his dog’s name is ‘Bobby’ after a certain striker—added, along with note of thanks to the owners for their trust.
“While I’ll be around throughout the remainder of the season, I wanted to use this opportunity to place on record my sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone I have worked with and express my gratitude to FSG for giving me the opportunity.”