Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Joe Manns: 1st Team Recruitment Coordinator at Reading FC

Joe Manns

Joe Manns is the First Team Recruitment Coordinator for Reading Football Club. With a passion for coaching, Joe combines his full-time role with a position in the Girls’ Academy; coaching an U12’s and U14’s team on a part-time basis. His love for working in football has also led him to coach in both America and South Africa, with the latter, an opportunity he experienced at just 19 years old.

Background and Career Progression

Joe Manns studied Sports Business Management at Sheffield Hallam University. Unsure of his career path until his final year of studies, Joe developed an interest in marketing. He applied for a marketing role in the sports industry and ended up being hired as the Marketing Officer for the Reading women’s team. This unexpected opportunity turned out to be the start of an amazing journey for Joe.

After dedicating two years to improving attendances and growing the women’s department, Joe realized his passion lay in performance-related roles within football. He expressed his desire to transition to a role in the technical side of football operations to the HR department at Reading FC. This led to an informal interview with the club’s Technical Director, Brian Tevreden, and eventually securing a position as a Recruitment Administrator.

Within a year, Joe’s role expanded, and he was given more responsibilities. Nigel Howe, the previous CEO, recognized Joe’s potential and allowed him to focus solely on the first team. Joe’s role continued to evolve, allowing him to be involved in scouting and recruiting players and negotiating with agents directly.

Transitioning to Recruitment and Scouting

Joe’s desire to be involved in performance-related roles within football led him to transition from marketing to the Recruitment Administrator role. Working closely with the coaching staff and witnessing their approach to training sessions and player recruitment, Joe knew this was the direction he wanted to pursue. With the support of HR and the club’s technical staff, Joe made the transition to the Recruitment Administrator role and eventually became the First Team Recruitment Coordinator.

Navigating the Challenges of the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the football industry, including Joe’s role as the First Team Recruitment Coordinator. As a club that values face-to-face communication, Reading FC had to adapt to a more process-driven approach when the pandemic hit. Networking over Zoom and scheduling meetings became the new norm. Despite these challenges, Joe’s role remained dynamic and exciting, with no two days being the same.

Key Factors for a Career in Recruitment and Scouting

According to Joe, having a strong technical knowledge of football is essential for anyone aspiring to pursue a career in recruitment and scouting. Analytical thinking and the ability to analyze players in-depth differentiate professionals in this field. Exposing oneself to individuals with expertise in this area can help develop a different perspective on the game.

Continuous learning and open-mindedness are crucial for success in recruitment and scouting. Building a network of reliable contacts within the football industry is equally important. Lastly, being committed to learning, trustworthy, and personable will help aspiring professionals in this field.

The Importance of Data and Analytics

The use of data and analytics in recruitment and scouting has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Joe emphasizes the importance of data interpretation in talent identification. While traditional scouting methods still hold value, data-driven decision-making has become essential when signing players to multi-million pound contracts. Clubs that rely on data and analytics are more likely to stay ahead in the modern era.

The Impact of Playing Without Fans

Reading FC has been having a great season, currently sitting within the play-off places in the Championship. However, the absence of fans in stadiums due to the pandemic has been a bittersweet experience. Joe acknowledges the disappointment of not having fans to bring energy to the matches. Additionally, the lack of gate revenue has had a significant economic impact on the club. Everyone at Reading FC is hoping for a semi-normal or normal 2021/22 season.

Madejski Stadium

Balancing Full-Time and Part-Time Roles

In addition to his full-time role as the First Team Recruitment Coordinator, Joe also serves as the Regional Talent Club Manager in the Girls’ Academy. He has held this part-time position since 2016. Joe’s passion for player development and coaching motivated him to take on this additional responsibility. Despite having a full day at the training ground, coaching kids who are enthusiastic about the sport reenergizes him.

Coaching Experience in America

Joe took a sabbatical from Reading FC to coach in America for four months. This opportunity allowed him to combine his love for traveling and coaching full-time. He describes the experience as amazing and credits the CEO and the club for supporting his absence. Coaching in America provided Joe with valuable insights and contributed to his personal and professional growth.

The Impact of Academic Background

Joe’s degree in Sports Business Management played a significant role in kickstarting his career in football. Without extensive playing experience or connections in the industry, Joe believes that his academic background provided him with crucial opportunities. However, he believes that passion, hard work, and continuous learning are equally important in the industry. Joe emphasizes that being a decent and honest person can open doors to numerous opportunities.

Future Aspirations and Career Outlook

Joe’s future in football is clear – he wants to continue working in the industry. While job titles such as Technical Director or Sporting Director are appealing, his passion lies in people and player development. Joe is particularly interested in player pathways and loan management roles, as loans and strategic player development have become critical in modern football.

Throughout his career, Joe has shown dedication, adaptability, and a willingness to learn. With these qualities, he is sure to continue making significant contributions to the football industry.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Joe Manns’ role at Reading FC?
A: Joe Manns is the First Team Recruitment Coordinator at Reading Football Club.

Q: How did Joe transition from marketing to the recruitment and scouting role?
A: Joe expressed his desire to move into a performance-related role within the technical side of football. He approached the HR department at Reading FC, and an opportunity as a Recruitment Administrator became available.

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Joe’s role at Reading FC?
A: The pandemic has forced the club to adapt to a more process-driven approach, relying on technology for communication and meetings. Despite the challenges, Joe’s role remains dynamic and fulfilling.

Q: What are the key factors for a career in recruitment and scouting?
A: Having a strong technical knowledge of football, continuous learning, open-mindedness, building a network of contacts, and being personable and trustworthy are key factors for success in this field.

Q: How important is the use of data and analytics in Joe’s role as the First Team Recruitment Coordinator?
A: Data and analytics play a crucial role in talent identification and decision-making when signing players. While traditional scouting methods still hold value, data-driven approaches are essential in modern football.

Q: How has the absence of fans affected Reading FC?
A: Playing without fans has been bittersweet for the team and the club. The energy and support from fans are greatly missed, both emotionally and economically.

Q: What are Joe’s future aspirations in the football industry?
A: Joe is passionate about people and player development. He is interested in roles such as Technical Director or Sporting Director, as well as player pathways and loan management. Coaching may also play a bigger part in his future career.