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Club News

James Coppinger appointed head of football operations

22 April 2022

Club News

James Coppinger appointed head of football operations

22 April 2022

Doncaster Rovers are pleased to announce the appointment of James Coppinger as the club’s new head of football operations.

The 41-year-old proved to be the standout candidate from a detailed recruitment process due to his unrivalled knowledge of the club. His detailed plans and ideas for the future direction of the football club, along with his determination to ensure success, excited the board.

In the role, Coppinger will oversee the whole of the club’s football operation, including implementing a clear identity on the team as well as culture by which players and staff operate.

In addition to determining working practices, he will ensure cohesion between the various footballing departments including coaching, medical and sports science, analysis and recruitment.

“I’m really excited,” Coppinger said of his appointment. “It’s a big challenge but one that I am really looking forward to.

“It’s something that I’ve been working towards since I turned 35 or 36. I feel this sort of role best suits my skills.

“With 24 years as a professional footballer across all levels, I feel like this role is massive within a football club. I’ve been more aware of what the role takes and what it looks like behind the scenes, working with people at the club in that capacity like managers, coaches, agents, head of recruitment - all the relevant people.

“People see James Coppinger the footballer but I’ve been working in business for the last five years and I’ve been doing things to help propel me into this position.

“Professional football is more than just what you see on a Saturday. It’s about all the things you put in place to help you perform. I’ve been able to identify why certain cultures at this club over the years were successful or weren’t successful.

“It’s not just about getting the best players in. There’s so much more to it than that. It’s every department and making sure everyone is aligned and the values are there.

“That’s a big thing for me and I’m excited to play a part in making sure it happens.”

Coppinger - Rovers’ all-time record appearance maker as a player - is already enrolled on the Football Association’s technical director course. He has also been involved in fact-finding missions for the club as the idea of introducing a head of football operations was explored.

The decision to create the role came after a comprehensive review of Rovers’ football operation, after which it was decided a change in structure was required in order to ensure the team is as well prepared as possible for each season and individual game.

It is believed that by allowing the first team manager to focus solely on coaching his squad, it will give the club the best chance of delivering winning football.

Rovers chairman David Blunt said: “We are delighted to appoint James in this newly-created position.

“From our recruitment process it was clear that there are few individuals in the game that know and understand this football club in as much depth, or hold as much passion for it as James does.

“That passion extended to the role itself, and it was clear he has envisioned himself in such a position for the last several years.

“He demonstrated clear ideas by which he will mould our football operation to ensure success in the long-term as well as imprinting a lasting identity.

“It is a priority to create cohesion and ensure the culture within our football operation is right, and we are confident James can deliver that."

“After a disappointing year there is plenty of work ahead but we feel that, by creating this role and filling it with the man we have selected, strong foundations will be laid.

“We look forward to a bright future with James leading the way.”

Watch James Coppinger's full first interview as Rovers' head of football operations on the latest edition of the pre-match show which will be available on YouTube from 7.30pm on Friday, April 22.

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