Ayr United are set up for long term success, insists new Head of Recruitment Keith Glendinning


He’s the man helping to build Ayr United’s new look on the park.

But Keith Glendinning insists it is the club’s attitude off it that’s key to their new found progress.

The Head of Recruitment is fresh off a hectic January window following his appointment at Somerset Park.

In itself, the role is a refreshing change of approach from United as part of their bold restructure under managing director, Graeme Mathie.

And Glendinning, the first appointment of the Mathie era, insists United’s determination to do things right bodes well for the future.

I have told the Ayrshire Post: “Within any football club, you need buy-in from the relevant people to ensure you can move in the right direction.

“It’s been clear from day one here that everyone is pulling the same way and on the same page, and that is vital.

“The club is in a really exciting place just now in terms of what’s happening off the park and where it wants to go.

“My role is just one small cog in that wheel and I’m here to offer as much support as I can.”

Glendinning was a known face to Mathie after the pair worked together at the SFA and he made the move to Somerset from fellow Championship side Hamilton.

The 30-year-old admits he is a self-confessed slave to the game with most of his week spent on the road watching live action while adding to his own detailed player database.

Charlton's Ben Dempsey was among those identified by Ayr's new recruitment staff
Charlton’s Ben Dempsey was among those identified by Ayr’s new recruitment staff

He revealed: “There can be a bit of a misconception when it comes to the title ‘Head of Recruitment’.

“A lot of people get hung up on it and think you’re being brought in to sign players above the manager’s head, but nothing could be further from the truth.

“It goes back to what I was saying about buy-in…from day one Lee [Bullen] has been hugely engaged with the process when it comes to my job.

“I’m here to offer detailed reports on players and targets – give the management team the clearest picture I can on their strengths and weaknesses.

“From there it is over to them and further due diligence is done in terms of video footage or players being watched in the flesh.

“It’s a very detailed process and nothing is left to chance.”

United Head Coach Lee Bullen is working closely with Glendinning to identify future signings
United Head Coach Lee Bullen is working closely with Glendinning to identify future signings

Glendinning added: “My role is purely that of a support.

“Yes, periods like the last month are far more busy because we’ve brought in the five new players and that has required a lot of work on my end in terms of preparing information for the club.

“But a lot of the time, Lee and the guys will have some prior knowledge on players as well and it’s a matter of me simply putting some flesh on the bones.”

Glendinning boasts his own massive database of players which is constantly updated, meaning United can tap into a huge range of talent at any given time.

And he joked: “It requires putting in a lot of miles and understanding from the missus!

“I watch well over 100 games live each year, not to mention all the video analysis done on players.

“People will look at some of our recent signings and make assumptions that they were maybe signed off the back of video footage.

“But take the likes of Gondoh, Ben Dempsey and Sam Ashford…I had seen them live in the flesh before it ever came to their names being put on the table.”

Sam Ashford is one of the players that Glendinning helped to identify
Sam Ashford is one of the players that Glendinning helped to identify

And Glendinning insists it’s that dedication to detail that can help Ayr unearth more talent in the long term.

He said: “You’re never going to sign a team full of players from the English lower leagues.

“But equally you shouldn’t only be looking at players in the Scottish leagues.

“It’s about variety because there’s a huge talent pool out there.

“And one area we’re looking at is the club getting a Sponsorship License for the summer so that we can sign non-UK players, something that we cannot do at present.

“At the end of the day, the wider the pool you have to fish in, the better chance you have.”

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And part of Glendinning’s remit is also to extol the virtues of his new club to potential signings.

He said: “I prepared a document to send to potential signings that shows the caliber of player that has been at Ayr United in recent years and where they have ended up.

“It’s pretty striking when you look at boys like Shankland, Rose, Doohan, Kelly, Harvie, McKenna, Forrest, McCowan and Devlin – they’ve all flourished at Somerset.

“So we need to make the most of that when saying to players…come and be a part of this.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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