Steve Head was today announced as the Royals new Head of Scouting & Recruitment - and has spoken in depth to Reading FC Player about his appointment.
From his days training with Robin Friday as a youth player at Reading, to working with current England boss Roy Hodgson at Fulham - he certainly has a big history in the game - so read on to find out more about our new man.
Welcome to the club Steve – what can you tell us about the role and what it’ll bring to the Royals?
It’s a role that has been created this season. Nick came to me in the summer and we had some chats over a cup of coffee about scouting in general. I was at Fulham at the time and he mentioned that the club were looking to expand the European work and improve their reporting procedures. He basically told me that I was the person they were looking for and I was delighted to come.
People will ask about your CV – and you have plenty of experience in this department don’t you?
I’ve been very fortunate. My roots lie in Reading. I was a young player here many years ago and I worked with some good people, one of which was Stuart Henderson – who left to join Southampton and took me with him. He gave me my start in coaching in 1992. I worked with their Academy and ended up as youth team coach and left after ten years there to join Fulham. I worked in Fulham’s Academy for the first few years and then went over to senior recruitment and became head of opposition scouting, over the last few years when the club enjoyed a lot of success – particularly in a major European campaign and several top ten finishes. It was a role that grew and I was happy to take it on. I’ve worked with some good managers, some great people, great players and had some real big moments.
I believe the current England manager is someone you’ve spent time working with?
I worked with Roy – who was obviously responsible for keeping Fulham in the Premier League on that fateful season when Reading actually got relegated and Fulham stayed up. I was actually at the Derby game that day on behalf of Fulham – texting back to my colleagues on the bench about how Reading were getting on! It was a day of mixed emotions. I learned a lot from Roy and other guys I worked with. He has such a standing in the game internationally.
What do you remember about your time as a young player at Reading?
“I joined Reading as an associate schoolboy in the 70s, played youth team football and then reserve team football. I played a handful of first-team games, mostly in the minor cup competitions. I was the captain of the reserve side in the Football Combination and played close to 400 games times. Bobby Williams who was the youth team coach is still at the club now, working in scouting. I had some really happy times back then at the old Elm Park playing on the pitch up the top, it was good times.
Does it help coming into a club where the manager has such a background in scouting?
It does help. Brian knows the day-to-day running of a recruitment department better than anyone else. He’s got an absolute wealth of experience and contacts, knows the Reading way of doing things so it’s useful for me to tap into that knowledge. I’ve known him for many years, played against him – we did our coaching qualifications together. Our careers have been parallel – he was youth coach here while I was youth coach at Southampton. We used to be on the touchline together and we go back a long way.
You’ll have a lot of focus on European scouting – perhaps trying to emulate the success stories of people like Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jimmy Kebe?
Reading’s record in the transfer market is absolutely fantastic. A lot of credit must go to Steve Shorey and the boys who do a fantastic job. It’s a growing club with the new owner – the club are looking to expand its markets and we’re looking to build on it and look to develop into some of the European markets. It’s always about improve on what we’re doing.”