CITY’S head of football operations David Sharpe sat down for an exclusive interview with the T&A.

In part two, Sharpe explains what his role at the club entails, the early recruitment, the club’s academy model and Bobby Pointon.

DAVID Sharpe’s arrival at Valley Parade caused some confusion about what he would actually do.

Was he lined up as a replacement to take over from Ryan Sparks or Stephen Gent? Would he be the boss of manager Graham Alexander?

Here is how he sees his job description.

“I’d imagine any title whether it be head of football operations, director of football, sporting director, technical director, they might do different things at each club.

“My role mainly is to pull everything together on the football side of the business.

“Ryan has the final sign off. I would never go and sign a player if he was not aware.

“He knows where I am from a negotiating point of view.

“Stephen ultimately, as the head of recruitment, presents players to me and to the manager.

“Say, for instance, we need another centre back this summer. He would have a list of five, six, seven, eight realistic names.

“There are names that I would know from my time at Mansfield. I do a lot of work on data and have various reports that I look at and would ask Stephen to go and watch this or that player.

“The manager and (assistant) Chris (Lucketti) as well are obviously involved. They don’t go and scout players but we would present ones to them and talk about the pros and cons.

“I’m overseeing everything from contract negotiations to player signings.

“Previously it would have been the head of recruitment and the manager speaking to agents and Ryan finalising it. In effect, I’m taking a lot of the burden away from Ryan and Stephen.”

City have already acted early in the market to secure Stockport duo Antoni Sarcevic and Neill Byrne. Both had attracted other interest but the deals were sorted in quick time.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Antoni Sarcevic, right, was signed up in a couple of daysAntoni Sarcevic, right, was signed up in a couple of days (Image: PA)

Sharpe explained: “We met Antoni last Monday at a hotel, myself, the manager, Stephen and Chris and it went very well.

“It was mainly talking from a footballing point of view, where we saw him progressing in the club and about the club itself.

“I called the agent immediately afterwards. We’d already had an initial chat before that.

“It took probably two days to get a deal done. I already knew where the ballpark figures were so we weren’t starting from scratch.

“Luckily enough, Neill was somebody we tried to sign at Mansfield.

“When I came here, he was one of the names on the list that Stephen had presented.

“With the amount of interest he had in him – one club in League One and four or five in League Two – he was somebody we wanted to act upon really quickly.

“I’m not just doing my own thing and signing players that the manager or Stephen doesn’t want.

“Everybody’s involved and we all have to be 100 per cent on a player. I don’t want one person against it.

“I’m the one that Ryan has the faith in to ask, ‘David, do you think he’s the right one to go and sign’ and I’ll say yes or no.”

Recruitment takes up the bulk of Sharpe’s time but other sides of the football department, such as medical and fitness and the academy also fall under his remit.

“They report into the manager and not me directly but I oversee it. I always ask for certain reports to be done each month just to keep track.

“Managers come and go at any football club.

“We hope Graham’s here for many a year but he might move on to a higher league if he does really well.

“You see the average life of a manager at this level is probably less than a year. So you want to have oversight on everything.

“I think when Phil Parkinson left, he took everybody with him – first team coach, goalie coach, head physio, the masseur, every department and you have to start again.

“Graham’s brought in Chris and nobody else. But at the same time, you want it to feel that the manager’s got his own staff even if they are already club staff.”

Sharpe had a meeting scheduled with City academy boss Mark Litherland after the T&A.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Phil Parkinson took most of his football department with himPhil Parkinson took most of his football department with him (Image: Thomas Gadd)

Bobby Pointon enjoyed an eye-catching first year in senior football but Sharpe appreciates the club’s desperation to get out of the fourth tier can make it a tough environment for youngsters coming through.

“We have a model here where the best are probably sold at the age of 13 or 14. That gives us some of the budget we’ve got to put into the first team.

“Ultimately, if Man City or Man United are in for a 14-year-old, 90 per cent of the time they end up going. It’s hard to keep them with the amount of money you get offered these days.

“You get the odd one that doesn’t get sold and ends up having a great season and breaking through like Bobby.

“Hopefully that will be the case with two or three of the young pros that we’re giving deals to this summer.

“The model at Wigan was slightly different. It was all about getting them into the first team.

“You can be like that when you’re in the Championship or League One and there’s less expectation to get out of the level.

“But I think it’s different for Bradford in League Two when there’s an expectation to get out of this division.

“If we get to League One at some point, hopefully this season or if not the following one, you can be a bit more patient to bed in younger players.

“Look at the top three who went up and the average age of their squads. I certainly know with Mansfield it was just a case of, ‘let’s get out the league’, rather than bringing in kids to develop.”

Pointon has handled the hype of being a local lad and huge City fan to emerge as an exciting talent. But Sharpe sees him as an exception to the norm with the club’s young pros.

“Bobby’s been a good example of someone that has broken into the team.

“But if you had too many of them, you’d have to be patient and I don’t think that would be the right thing to do to see us in the top three.

“If it was a smaller club with the expectation to just stay in the division then it’s different.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bobby Pointon has taken League Two in his stride so farBobby Pointon has taken League Two in his stride so far (Image: Thomas Gadd)

“But here, where there’s 18,000 fans expecting you to be in the top three and win the league, that would be the wrong thing to do.

“That’s unless they can handle it and they’re very good, Bobby being the case proving that.

“But he will go through spells where he dips. That’s naturally going to happen.

“He’s riding on the wave of momentum at the moment and the fans are singing his name.

“It’s how he can handle periods when he might have five or six games and he’s poor. He’s not going to play well every game.

“That’s where you need experience around him with the likes of Neill Byrne and Antoni Sarcevic. He’ll learn a lot from them as well as the current players.”

TOMORROW: In part three of his T&A interview, Sharpe on the need to move players out before bringing more in.