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What’s going on at Anfield?! Liverpool left reeling after another shock resignation

Julian Ward has followed Mike Gordon out the exit door at Anfield, meaning the Reds face an uncertain future.

So, what is going on in Liverpool then?

In recent years, we have grown accustomed to the idea that the Reds are one of the best-run and stable clubs in football, a place for smart decisions and shared thinking, with the right people in the right places and the track. Glorious success record.

But things change at Anfield, and fast. The news that Julian Ward, the sporting director, will be stepping down at the end of the season only adds to the sense of uncertainty surrounding the 19-time English champions.

Ward only took over the role – at least officially – in June, after serving as Michael Edwards’ assistant for nearly two years, so his decision to walk out, after only a few months into a three-year contract, left Liverpool stunned. They are disappointed, and fans are left wondering what the future holds for their club.

Just seven months ago, after all, Jurgen Klopp was declaring, with a new four-year contract in his back pocket, that Liverpool were “a club that is constantly moving in the right direction”, with “a clear idea of ​​what we want and a clear idea of ​​how we’re going to try”. achieve it.”

Suddenly, that clarity seemed to be lost. Liverpool have struggled on and off the field. There are gaps to fill and questions to be answered.

Ward’s departure comes hot on the heels of news that Mike Gordon, Liverpool’s second largest shareholder and the man responsible for the day-to-day running of the club, was stepping down from his duties in order to lead Fenway Sports Group’s search for his team. A new investment – that could eventually lead to the complete takeover of English football’s most successful club.

Gordon has been a key figure in the Reds’ rise to prominence in recent years, with the American serving as the main conduit between Boston and Merseyside.

GT

It was he who persuaded Klopp to sign the new contract in April, it was he who championed the creation of the sporting director role at Anfield in 2016, and it was he who persuaded Ward, a somewhat reluctant figure, to step into the breach. When it became clear that Edwards was leaving at the end of last season.

Its redeployment, then, was keenly felt, and Goal He understands that he is one of the main reasons behind Ward’s sudden departure.

He scored in a world where decisions were quick and easy, where communication was open and where the owners, directors and sporting directors were all perfectly aligned in their belief in and commitment to the club’s business model. FSG’s are not perfect owners, by any means, but at least they’ve been consistent and stable.

Now the club is up for sale, leaving everyone associated with it in a state of flux.

From Ward’s point of view, the key thing to stress is that this was his decision, not one that was made lightly.

He understands that the timing will inevitably lead to speculation, but there have been no fallout, no quarrels over transfers or budgets and no eye-catching job offers from elsewhere.

He leaves on his own terms, with no sad feelings or regrets, and will continue to offer everything between now and the end of the campaign.

club, Goal He was told, he was among those trying to persuade Ward to stay and it will now be interesting to see how Liverpool move forward, specifically whether the manager takes greater responsibility in terms of the club’s recruitment and retention strategy.

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2022-23 GFXGetty / Target

Previously he worked closely with both Edwards and Ward, and this team approach has enabled Liverpool to build a reputation as one of the smartest operators in the business.

They bought well, sold well, reformed their loan policy—Ward played a major part in this—and reached the top of the mountain by doing so.

Now, though, big decisions have to be made, in terms of sales, purchases and contract renewals, and many of the people who have to make them either aren’t around or won’t be around much longer.

Even Ian Graham, the club’s esteemed director of research, is on his way out. He, like Ward, will leave at the end of the current election campaign, having tendered his resignation earlier this month.

It remains to be seen if any or all of the six-man data analytics team will follow suit, and what kind of impact his exit will have on the club’s approach.

It also remains to be seen how, or indeed if, FSG will look to fill the void created by Ward’s departure, or indeed if they will be there to make that decision.

Word from the club on Thursday was that no decision had been made in this regard, that it was business as usual, that Ward would be on site until May and that Klopp’s commitment was until 2026, as well as the presence of key figures such as Hogan and Fallows. and Hunter, will ensure there are no shortcomings.

But the truth is that this is a critical period, in more ways than one, and Liverpool are heading into it with the club in a muddled state, off the field, as it has been for many years.

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