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1718 burnley turf moor 04 1000x500Burnley Football Club confirmed yesterday that Mike Rigg will be the club’s new technical director and will start his new role in just over a week’s time at the beginning of December.

If press speculation is to be believed, he’s beaten off competition from Mark Warburton, Mark Cartwright and Nicky Hammond although I’m led to believe that Ross Wilson, who has held similar positions at both Watford and Huddersfield and now works as the director of scouting and recruitment at Southampton, was also under consideration.

We’ve tried this approach twice before, with the appointment of Lee Darnbrough just months before Sean Dyche arrived as manager and then Frank McParland in the summer of 2015. Darnbrough is probably best remembered for email-gate when we got desperate in the January 2015 transfer window while McParland had hardly got his feet under the table before he upped sticks and joined the aforementioned Warburton at Rangers.

Darnbrough is now at Hull; he replaced Stan Ternent while McParland moved on to Nottingham Forest before losing his job there along with Warburton who had followed him to the City Ground.

There had been no hint of Burnley looking to move back into this sort of set up until early October when Sky Sports revealed we’d appointed sports recruitment specialists Nolan Partners to head up the search for a technical director.

That search came to an end yesterday with the appointment of Rigg who has worked at a number of clubs in over 30 years in football having started in the community schemes at Wrexham and Chester.

His first senior role was that of technical director with the Football Association of Wales. He was there between 1995-2001 and, significantly, the last two years coincided with Mark Hughes becoming national manager.

Rigg became head of academy at Sheffield Wednesday in 2001 and his next club was with our rivals Blackburn. He joined them as chief scout in 2006, resuming his association with Hughes who was then manager, and he then moved to Manchester City as head of player acquisition when Hughes moved to the Etihad.

He was there for four years as City started to benefit from their new ownership and Rigg played his part in the signings of players such as Yaya Touré, David Silva and Sergio Agüero.

His next role was as technical director at QPR where, for a fourth time, he worked alongside Hughes, after which he joined The FA as head of talent investigation.

A stint at Fulham followed from March 2015 until two days before Christmas in the following year. He came in for some criticism, particularly over the delay in appointing a new manager in 2015 although they finally recruited Slavisa Jokanovic who remained in charge until very recently.

Since leaving Craven Cottage he’s been with SRi/Sports Recruitment International as a global football advisor but now moves to Burnley to take on the role of technical director, reporting directly to chairman Mike Garlick.

It is clearly a step the club wanted to take, particularly in terms of player recruitment. Dyche himself was clearly frustrated with the last transfer window and Rigg will now head up the recruitment right across the club, including the academy. He will also oversee a new, large investment programme in growing the talent identification and analysis teams at the club.

Garlick said: “Mike stood out as someone who we feel can help move the club forward in terms of identifying and hiring the best possible footballing talent, both on a national and international basis. It’s an area of the club that we need to invest in and improve further, and we feel sure that Mike’s wealth of experience will be a valuable asset to us.”

Dyche added: “I have mentioned over the past couple of years how important it is to grow all areas of the club, and recruitment structuring and how we want to go forward, is an important part of that.

“I think at the end of a good process for the club, involving myself and the chairman, amongst others, we have found someone who can help the club to grow. By bringing in Mike, I think it’s a great opportunity for him to stamp his side on the way that we work.

“Within the role it’s not just recruitment, but that’s a big part of it, and with Mike’s background, both here and abroad, in searching for the right players for Burnley Football Club, I think that experience will be needed and used wisely, and that’s what we’ll look to Mike to add to what we already do.”

Will it be third time lucky with this type of role? I don’t think Darnbrough was ever going to work while McParland pushed through a lot of deals before heading off to Scotland.

This time, we’ve brought in someone with huge experience, someone who has worked at club smaller than ours and, of course, one very much bigger. He’s also worked for two Football Associations so one thing guaranteed is that he has wide ranging experience and I’m sure contacts both at home and abroad that will help us in the years to come, certainly in terms of recruitment.

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