Date: Wed 15 May 2024

By Andy Poole


Former Premier League star named Director of Football

AFC Totton have certainly not let the grass grow under their feet.

Just a couple of weeks after suffering play-off final heartbreak, the Pitching In Southern League Premier South club, who achieved their highest-ever finish in 2023/24, have strengthened their backroom staff with the appointment of James Beattie as Director of Football.

The former England striker, who enjoyed a stellar career in the top-flight as a player with the likes of Southampton, Everton, Blackburn Rovers and Rangers, will work closely with manager, Jimmy Ball, as the ambitious club plot the next phase of their progression.

“I’ve watched the team play many times and the performances on the pitch are indicative of a club that’s moving in the right direction,” said Beattie upon his appointment. “But when you put that together with everything else they’re doing off the pitch, in terms of the alternative provision education, the Academy, the increasingly influential role the club is playing in the local community, and the plans to install a 3G pitch, build a hotel and a gym, etc., there is a big project here, and now is an ideal time for me to become part of it.

“I’ve known the club’s CEO and owner Steve Brookwell since my time at Southampton and he’s become a firm family friend over the years.

“Meanwhile Jimmy Ball has done a fantastic job in a relatively short time. He’s football mad and a fierce competitor, like myself, and a significant part of my role day-to-day will be to act as an ally and a sounding board for different ideas.

“We’re both experienced in the game but having worked at different clubs and alongside other managers and coaches, we can draw on a vast range of different ideas, as well as a long list of contacts in terms of identifying and recruiting new players.

“The Chairman, Stephen Snow, and the Board are certainly ambitious but they are also sensible about the steps they are taking at each stage to progress the club to where they want it to be.

“They’re not taking huge leaps into the unknown; they’re doing things in a progressive and sustainable way. Although the job titles I have held at various clubs since I hung up my boots wouldn’t necessarily suggest it, I do have experience of working with football club boards and operating within set budgets to improve specific areas.”

Jimmy Ball added: “Bringing James into the club is another huge step in the right direction. Over the course of my two years here, we’ve tried to improve certain aspects of the club one-by-one, and to bring in somebody of James’s vast knowledge and experience in the game will undoubtedly help to continue raising standards, allowing us to achieve that greater attention to detail that will result in us becoming even more professional in our overall approach.

“James and I get on well and I’m very confident that he and I can work positively together, in an open-minded, collaborative way. As far as I’m concerned, strength plus strength equals even more strength; you can’t have too many knowledgeable people around you, and it’s now the right time and the right environment to welcome James on board.”

Pictured we see James Beattie alongside manager, Jimmy Ball (left), and Chairman, Stephen Snow (right).

IMAGE: Jon Ashworth

AFC Totton Web Site

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