Liverpool were shocked by Julian Ward’s decision to leave the club in the summer, but he’s not the only departure. Director of research Ian Graham will also depart.
A minor tremor was sent through Liverpool with the news that Julian Ward is set to leave the club at the end of the season.
The announcement came out of the blue, with Ward only promoted to the position of sporting director six months ago. He played a pivotal role in signing Luis Díaz and he also signed Darwin Núñez last summer.
Ward replaced Michael Edwards as Liverpool’s sporting director, but now it seems that the club will have to find a new sporting director come the summer.
But Ward isn’t the only departure. Ian Graham, director of research at Liverpool, is also set to depart after 11 years at the club, according to The Athletic. But who is he?
Graham graduated from the University of Cambridge with a PhD in 2005 and was in the middle of two-year post-doc before he ‘came to the realisation’ that a career in polymer physics wasn’t for him. By his own admission, his girlfriend forwarded a job advert that was looking an individual to ‘do football stats for a living’. He applied and got the job.
After a period of time, Graham joined Tottenham, where he met Michael Edwards for the first time. The pair had a mutual recognition of where data could go in football, and when Edwards, in addition to former Liverpool sporting director Damien Comolli, then moved to Liverpool, Graham found himself joining them at Anfield in 2012.
Graham then headed a six-person strong team as director of research, with his role including tasks such as pre and post-match work, sports science, the Academy and chiefly, recruitment.
Even with Comolli and Edwards gone, Graham remained as is a vital part of the operation, involving data and analytics and keeping Liverpool ahead of their richer counterparts in the Premier League and across Europe. But it seems his time with the club is also drawing to a close, and this season will be his last.