David Jones on recruitment, chats with Roy Keane and his message for Sunderland supporters
David Jones says there is ‘huge value’ in building a ‘modern’ recruitment system at Sunderland.
The Sky Sports presenter and lifelong Sunderland supporter joined the board as a non-executive director last year.
His brief is to offer advice to the board on footballing matters and recruitment is an area he is keen to focus on, with department head Tony Coton expanding his scouting network recently.
“My role as a non-executive is to offer advice and support where it's needed but Stewart has asked particularly that I keep a close eye on the football side of the club, allowing others to focus on the business,” Jones wrote in the Red & White matchday programme.
“I did the same thing for three years at Oxford United, working alongside the manager Michael Appleton and advising the board on football matters as we moved up from the lower reaches of League Two to the top half of League One.
“I believe there is huge value in building a modern recruitment system, as we did at Oxford, employing specialist analysts to use the infinite data that's now readily available, to work alongside the scouting team that Tony Coton is building.
“It's such a competitive market and everyone is trying to outsmart each other to identify the best young talent with sell on value; investing in recruitment is the most sensible to develop a football club that doesn't want to rely on single-owner investment as our club did for so long to it's cost.
“You have to get the balance right of course, selling too many players will limit your on field progress and ambitions.”
Jones is combining the role with his significant commitments at Sky Sports, where he works closely with former manager Roy Keane.
Jones also wrote that he believes Phil Parkinson to be doing a ‘great job’, with the club embarking on an exciting period.
“We've had more than our fair share of ups and downs in the four decades that I've been following the lads but I look back with great fondness on the swashbuckling years of Peter Reid and later the resurrection under Roy Keane who gave us Sunderland fans our pride back,” he said.
“Roy's now a colleague of mine and I can tell you he still keeps a very close eye on everything that happens at the Stadium of Light!
“All the guys are fully supportive and you can't help but absorb some of that incredible football knowledge and experience when you're surrounded by characters like Keane, Souness, Neville and Carragher every week.
“I've enjoyed working with Phil Parkinson and his staff who are doing a great job, and built the foundations of this run before Christmas when some very difficult decisions were made.
“They are a really good bunch, a lovely blend of personalities, and deserve your support.
“I really believe this can the beginning of an exciting time. There is so much potential here, and with patience, your continuing support and some sound decision making at the top of the club, I'm confident it will be realised.”