Luton Town Football Club is delighted to announce two new additions to the Hatters’ football recruitment set-up to help keep the team moving forward.
As part of a wider restructure to set the Club up to maximise its progression going forward and the Club’s long-term operational plans for establishing the Hatters in the Championship (more of which will be announced this week), a new scouting and recruitment department will be established with immediate effect.
To support manager Nathan Jones and under the watch of assistant-manager Mick Harford, who will still retain senior responsibility for the Club’s talent identification, we are delighted to welcome Head of Scouting Operations, Phil Chapple, and Head of Recruitment Analysis, Jay Socik, to Kenilworth Road.
Chapple, the 54-year-old former Cambridge United, Charlton Athletic and Peterborough United defender, has held coaching roles and been chief scout at London Road, The Valley – where he worked with Nathan and Paul Hart – and Fulham before becoming Brighton & Hove Albion’s European scout.
In September 2019 he was reunited with Nathan, briefly, as head of first-team recruitment at Stoke City, before leaving the Potteries in February 2020 to join Norwich City, from where he joins Luton Town.
Socik, 30, is a football data analyst and partner in MRKT Insights, a company which has provided specialist scouting services for several clubs, including Swansea City and Plymouth Argyle, as well as Tampa Bay Rowdies in the USA.
The Sheffield United supporter built a sizeable following on Twitter with his views on the Yorkshire club’s rise to the Premier League, using the handle @Blades_analytic, and has been helping the Hatters on a freelance basis over the past year.
He will now bring his recruitment data analysis expertise to the Town’s benefit in an official, full-time role.
Nathan said: “Recruitment has been at the forefront of why we’ve been successful in recent years. I’ve always felt we’ve recruited well, with good characters and good players, players that we felt could play up a level.
“That’s shown with the number of players who have come up through the leagues with us and are still performing for the club now.
“Obviously, with the levels we are at, people have far bigger budgets and more resources than us, so we’ve been playing catch-up since coming into the Championship in terms of the personnel that we’ve needed.
“That has been hit even harder with Mick moving from his role and being a vital part of my coaching staff and my immediate staff. It’s left a big void.
“With Covid and the financial stress the club has been under, it’s been difficult to fill, but we felt that it came to a point where if we didn’t want to fall behind, decisions had to be made.
“Gary has always wanted to put this in place, and it’s been heavily pushed by him. I’ve backed that up in terms of personnel because Gary’s known Jay, and we’ve been using him and working closely with him for a year or so, so we are delighted to welcome him fully on board.
“Phil is someone I worked with at Charlton in 2012. I worked with him at Brighton as well and then we tried to get him here earlier, but we were League Two at the time and he was in the Premier League, so it was very difficult to tempt him.
“I took him with me to Stoke, where things didn’t quite work out, but we are absolutely delighted to get him on board here.
“His eye for talent is excellent. He’s right at the cutting edge of things with his decision making and what he sees is very good, so we are delighted to have him.
“Myself and Mick will always be hands-on in our recruitment. That’s something that we hold in high regard, because we are a little bit old school in terms of having our eye on the ground, because at the end of the day, they have to be our signings and we have to be confident that we can integrate them into the squad, the team and then improve them.
“We thank the board because we believe that the club has moved forward with these two appointments. We’ve increased our capability to recruit better, and that is something that is very important to moving the club forward.”