After four months of ‘garden leave’, Dan Ashworth is finally ready to help Newcastle United fulfill their potential.
On Friday, The Mail said talks between Newcastle United and Brighton had resumed, with both sides believing a quick solution/compromise was possible. Dan Ashworth is under contract on a nine-month “garden leave” following his retirement from Brighton in February 2022 unless the two clubs could agree on a compensation arrangement.
Yesterday Craig Hope (of The Mail) said the intention now is to reach an agreement in time for Dan Ashworth to take up his position at Newcastle United ahead of the official opening of the summer transfer. This transfer window opens on Friday 10 June.
Now The Times have reported that these reopened talks have resulted in a quick agreement that the two clubs have agreed on an amount below the £5million originally demanded by Brighton.
The Times said Dan Ashworth is now expected to arrive at St James Park in the coming week as the club’s confirmed director of football.
In early February, Brighton released an official statement (see below) confirming Dan Ashworth was leaving the club.
The worst kept secret in football was that he would now become director of football at Newcastle United under the new ownership of St James Park.
In their statement, Brighton stated: “In accordance with the terms of his contract, Ashworth will now embark on an extended period of gardening, after which he will be able to take up a new position elsewhere.”
It was expected that the two clubs would then quickly come to an agreement to significantly shorten this period of garden leave.
However, when we arrived in early April and there was still no sign of Dan Ashworth at St James Park, The Times and The Mail reported that their information was that Dan Ashworth could wait until November (2022) unless a compensation figure is agreed could become. before taking up his role as director of football at Newcastle United as part of his contract at Brighton there was a nine-month garden leave if he left the club.
Follow-up reports from the two newspapers quickly followed, saying Brighton were awaiting a very large sum in compensation (to end Garden Leave early) which Newcastle United owners felt was unacceptable, with a sum of £5million the club being demanding.
Whilst it would only be part of the job at Newcastle United that he would oversee, transfer activity is an extremely important part of his role barring an agreement, as Dan Ashworth will only arrive months after the summer 2022 transfer window closes. Instead, he arrived at St James Park in good time for the build-up of the January 2023 transfer window, more than a year after the club was bought by the new NUFC owners.
After so many years with Mike Ashley so often hiring people who aren’t up to the job, both on the football and business side of things at Newcastle United, we as fans have to accept that things are now on a on an ambitious and professional basis Finding the right (strongly sought after) people on the spot will not always be easy. Unlike another JFK and/or Lee Charnley. The new owners have yet to appoint their new CEO, although it has been widely reported that they are doing well in the recruitment process and have interviewed a number of candidates. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an appointment on the CEO front line in the near future as well.
Brighton is committed to taking very good care of its employees. An important part of that is that Brighton doesn’t stand in their way when there’s a job at another club that someone wants to move to.
They understand they will not be pleased to lose Dan Ashworth but Brighton are certainly now sending the wrong message to anyone they wish to appoint in the future if they are seen as being so unreasonable and preventing their former employee from working for a full nine months.
Brighton Official Announcement – 7th February 2022:
“Dan Ashworth has stepped down from his position as technical director to take up a similar role at another Premier League club.
Former Everton and Rangers player and Scotland international David Weir will become the club’s assistant technical director with immediate effect, having recently been promoted to assistant technical director.
According to his contract, Ashworth will now take an extended garden leave, after which he can start a new job elsewhere.
He will continue to report to vice-chairman and chief executive Paul Barber for any duties required during his notice period, but as is usual in such incidents he will not be expected to visit club premises or matches after his handover is later is week.
Paul commented, “We’re sorry to hear about Dan’s decision. Since joining from The FA he has been an important part of the club’s management team and has been instrumental in our club’s progression in the Premier League and Women’s Super League.
“On a personal level, I will be sad to see Dan go as we have developed a close working relationship on a daily basis. Dan was an excellent colleague and has also become a good friend. I wish Dan and his family all the best for the future.
“However, like all top talent in any industry, we are always aware of the risk of losing key talent to a competitor. With this in mind, we always put in place contingency and succession plans designed to minimize the impact on our club.
“As such, our Assistant Technical Director, David Weir, will now step up and assume the role of Assistant Technical Director. He is someone with excellent knowledge of the role and culture of our club as he works alongside Dan.
“We will continue to conduct a search process for the position of Technical Director as before, as this is only right. We expect many high quality applicants, but we also expect and hope that David will be a candidate in this process.”
Chairman Tony Bloom added: “We are very disappointed that Dan will no longer be our Technical Director. He leaves a significant legacy and we are very grateful for that.
“Dan has done an excellent job helping to build on the progress the club had already made in all our technical areas. I wish Dan and his family all the best for the future.”