Joe Savage has been appointed sporting director of Scottish Championship side Heart of Midlothian FC.
Savage will join Hearts on January 4, 2021 after leaving Preston North End as head of player recruitment.
Before retiring as a player in 2013, the 36-year-old spent seven years playing senior football in Scotland. During his last year of his playing career, Savage became director of recruitment and analysis at Hamilton Academical FC, working closely with Alex Neil and his coaching staff.
Manager Robbie Neilson commented: “It’s such an important role. I’ve worked with them, I’ve worked without them and I always found that you need them, especially at a club this size.”
After three years at Hamilton, Savage moved to Norwich City in 2015 as chief scout, helping the Canaries earn Premier League promotion. During his two years in Norfolk, Savage built a network of sporting directors, managers and agents to aid in identifying quality talent in the UK and abroad.
In June 2017, Savage joined up again with Alex Neil as head of player recruitment and scouting at Preston North End FC.
His role involved the short and long-term planning of first team recruitment, managing the scouting department and the network of scouts, whilst establishing a talent identification department.
In a club statement posted on the club website, Joe said: “Hearts is such a massive club with fantastic facilities and truly unbelievable backing from fans and sponsors. We have everything we need to quickly get back to where we belong.
“I am delighted to be coming back to Scotland. I look forward to putting the experience I have gained over my time down South and the network of contacts I have built to the best possible use at Hearts. I can’t wait to get started.”
“We have been looking for the right candidate for our sporting director role for some time and I could not be happier with the appointment. Joe brings not only experience, but also an energy and determination to succeed that makes him an ideal fit as we further develop our football operation over the coming months and years.” Adds Chairman Ann Budge.
In the same statement online, Hearts have also announced that Jim Jefferies has accepted a six-month extension of his current contract. In July, Jim became an advisor to the board, and he will continue to work with Robbie and Ann.
Author: James Parker