Former Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards is to make his much-anticipated comeback to sport by launching an advisory service alongside the club’s ex-director of research, Ian Graham.
Since leaving Anfield last summer there has been regular speculation about where Edwards (pictured left, alongside Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon) would appear next, with Chelsea among many sides in Britain and abroad to approach the Englishman.
But following a year-long break from the game, he is now preparing to return as a non-executive director of Graham’s new company, Ludonautics.
The firm will offer its skills and experience to ownership groups and teams as they look to engineer progress and success on and off the pitch.
Edwards’ role will not prevent him taking permanent employment elsewhere, however those with knowledge of the situation believe it is the focus of his attention for at least the immediate future, and are adamant that he does not intend to undertake another sporting director post in his career.
Michael Edwards — the visionary behind Liverpool’s remarkable rise
Edwards and Graham played a central part in the most decorated period of Liverpool’s modern history, helping bring a first Premier League title and a sixth European Cup to the red half of Merseyside.
While Edwards has developed a strong public reputation across the industry as a consequence of his work, Graham is not so high-profile yet is also regarded among the leading operators in his field.
Graham lent his expertise to the Premier League and Tottenham Hotspur before joining Liverpool in 2012. The Welshman built and implemented the competition’s first data science department, using statistics to assist decision-making on player recruitment, performance analysis and more. Prior to arriving at Liverpool in 2011, Edwards was also Tottenham, and previously Portsmouth.
The pair have turned down numerous opportunities to go in-house and replicate the Liverpool model for domestic and continental rivals.
Their desire was to run a business that can provide assistance to multiple clients in various divisions, potentially transitioning to different sports.
Existing and prospective club owners have already shown interest in contracting Ludonautics, which has lined up high-level staff for a project that is likely to properly get off the ground in 2024.
Graham will concentrate mainly on the data and Edwards’ input is seen as crucial when trying to educate and convince managers and hierarchies on how to incorporate it into everything they do.
(Photo: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images))
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David Ornstein joined The Athletic in October 2019 after 12 years as a sports journalist and correspondent at the BBC. In the role of Football Correspondent, he is responsible for producing exclusive and original stories and interviews, offering unique insight and analysis. He works across video, audio and the written word. Follow David on Twitter @David_Ornstein