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Premier League

Newcastle land No.1 director of football target as Dan Ashworth quits Brighton

Dan Ashworth held talks with Newcastle United in December over moving to St James’ Park and now has decided to quit Brighton to take up a position with a Premier League rival – believed to be the Toon

Dan Ashworth has handed in his notice at Brighton and is set for Newcastle

Brighton have confirmed that technical director Dan Ashworth is leaving the club – with the ex-FA chief to become director of football at Newcastle United.

Ashworth held talks with Newcastle in December over a move to Tyneside, after being granted permission by the Seagulls, despite their desire to keep him on the south coast.

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Now the 50-year-old has elected to take on the challenge of overhauling the Magpies and trying to turn them into a Premier League superpower.

Brighton announced: “Dan Ashworth has resigned from his position as technical director to take a similar role at another Premier League club.

“In line with his contractual terms, Ashworth will now begin an extended period of gardening leave, after which he will be able to take up a new position elsewhere.

“He will continue to report to deputy chairman and chief executive Paul Barber for any duties required during his notice period, but as is standard procedure with such occurrences, he will not be expected to attend the club’s premises, or matches, after his handover is completed later this week. “

It’s understood Ashworth will head to St James’ Park when his gardening leave is finished


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Previously the FA’s technical director, highly-regarded Ashworth joined Brighton in 2019 and during his three years has played a pivotal role, alongside Graham Potter, in helping to develop the club’s transformation from a side perennially battling against relegation into one challenging for a place in the top half.

He has played a key role in developing the club’s approach to scouting and recruitment, utilising the analytics and data at his disposal to identify young players with vast potential.

Brighton chairman Tony Bloom said: “We are extremely disappointed that Dan will no longer be our technical director. He leaves a significant legacy in place and for that we are greatly appreciative.

“Dan’s done an outstanding job and helped build on the progress the club had already made across all of our technical areas.

“I wish Dan and his family well for the future.”

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Chief executive Paul Barber said: “We are sorry to learn of Dan’s decision. He’s been an important part of the club’s senior management team since joining us from The FA, and has made a significant contribution to our club’s progress in the Premier League and Women’s Super League.

“On a personal level, I will be sad to see Dan leave as we’d developed a close day to day working relationship. Dan’s been an excellent colleague and has become a good friend as well. I wish Dan and his family well for the future.

“However, as is the case with all top quality people in any industry, we are always conscious of the risk of losing key staff to a rival. With that in mind, we always put in place contingencies and succession plans that are designed to minimise the impact on our club.

“As such, our assistant technical director, David Weir, will now step up and assume the role of acting technical director. He is someone with an excellent knowledge of the role and of our club’s culture from working side-by-side with Dan.

“As previously, we will conduct a search process for the role of technical director, as it is only right to do so. We anticipate a lot of high calibre applicants but we also fully expect and hope David will be a candidate in this process.”

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David Weir becomes Brighton’s acting technical director with immediate effect.

During his six-year stint at the FA he was credited with developing the “England DNA” and oversaw considerable tournament success for the men’s junior teams before his departure in 2018.

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