Blackburn Rovers have appointed experienced football man Ray Clarke as the club’s new head scout.
Ray will oversee Rovers’ restructured scouting department and will play a hands-on role in player recruitment.
During a distinguished playing career, Ray started out at Tottenham Hotspur, before enjoying successful spells in Holland with Sparta Rotterdam and Ajax, and in Belgium with Club Brugge, before returning to England with Brighton and Newcastle United, where he retired in the early ‘80s.
After moving into coaching, initially as Reserve team manager at Southampton under former Rovers boss Graeme Souness, Ray worked as an international scout for Coventry, Southampton and Newcastle, before becoming head of international recruitment at Celtic under Gordon Strachan.
Ray, who turns 60 later this month, arrives at Rovers with the sole objective of helping the club to secure an immediate Premier League return.
“It is an exciting time to be involved with the club,” he said. “I think we have to be positive. We have got a remit to get the club back into the Premier League.
“The manager’s been backed by the owners in terms of the money that’s been spent, which I think is a very positive move. It’s a big club and it needs to be back in the Premier League and we’ll do our best to try and make sure we’ve got the personnel to get there.”
Ray believes the arrival of 12 summer signings sends out a positive message to the supporters and although the ‘window’ has only just slammed shut, work is already underway with regards to identifying future transfer targets.
“It has been a busy time, but I think we had to make a statement, to the fans especially, that we’re serious about coming straight back up and I think the owners and the manager have done that,” he added.
“It is my job to have a look at where we are as a football club in terms of recruitment, to try to target certain areas where we may have a gap in terms of what’s coming through from the Reserves and the Academy and to prepare for next season, with a view to us getting back into the Premier League.
“We need to be well organised and efficient, because the Championship is a very difficult league to get out of. It’s a different type of football and we’ve all got to be positive and move forward for the benefit of the football club.”