Wolves have made a key senior appointment to a newly created role within the Club’s professional football department. Kevin Thelwell, currently Academy Manager, has been promoted to the role of ‘Head of Football Development and Recruitment’.
Reporting to Chief Executive, Jez Moxey, and the Wolves Board, Kevin will take responsibility for football operations, including helping Manager Ståle Solbakken with first team player recruitment, Academy development and, also working with the Manager, implementing a consistent football philosophy with alignment across all age groups from the first team downwards.
In this role, Kevin will help the Club to further develop a top class football performance environment, strengthen its strategies, culture and day-to-day organisation. He will also coordinate and lead on player recruitment processes, give added stability against potential staff changes in the future, lead on coach education across the Club and encourage the pathway for key players to develop at all levels.
Whilst he will immediately start work on the new role he will also be ensuring a smooth transition of his current Academy duties.
Thelwell, who arrived at Molineux in April, 2008, was the youngest Academy manager in the country when he took over at Derby County at the age of just 32. In his first season with Derby he was seconded to work with the first team and played an important role in the Club’s promotion to the Premier League. He is both a holder and tutor of the UEFA Pro Licence, possesses a degree in Sports Science and has completed a Business Management Diploma through the highly acclaimed Warwick Business School. He also served as interim first team manager for Derby County in 2006/07.
He led the Club’s successful application to become a Category 1 Academy, with a three year licence (the highest award possible), and has helped the rise of many players from Academy level through to first team football in his time at Preston North End, Derby County and at Wolves.
Jez Moxey, Wolves’ Chief Executive said: “Kevin’s appointment will help the Club’s football activities in many ways.
“Several English clubs are now seeking to make similar appointments and some already have this kind of position filled. For some time the Board has felt this was a necessary step to take but we wanted Ståle and the new coaches to acclimatise before we made the move. Having interviewed some excellent candidates for the post we felt Kevin had the necessary qualifications and track record to do a very good job. We are pleased he has accepted the challenge for what is a big responsibility.”
Kevin Thelwell said: “I am delighted with this opportunity and am really looking forward to working more closely with Ståle, Johan and Patrick as well as continuing the good working relationship I have with Steve Weaver, Micky Halsall and the Development/Academy squads.
“Fundamental to our future success will be the development of a strong recruitment network for the entire Club. From a first team perspective we are very clear about what the Club needs in terms of the types of players who can make an immediate impact but we need to recruit well at all levels. The Manager will have final say on first team players we wish to sign but it will be my job to present a range of fully researched options.
“Furthermore, an important part of the plan is to promote players through our own Academy and hopefully this will give our scholars a real lift to know they will have another person fighting their corner.
“I have been here almost five years now and have a very good relationship with Ståle and all football staff throughout the Club. I am very clear, therefore, about what the Club is all about and what is needed to make us stronger in the future.”
Ståle Solbakken added: “It’s very important to have stability and continuity in the way we scout and develop our younger players across all age groups.
“The aim is to implement a consistent football philosophy and togetherness, both on and off the pitch, and Kevin will help us achieve this and many other things too.
“Kevin and I have developed a very good working relationship and I look forward to working with him even more closely.”