Former Ton star to revamp youth set-up
Published: 19 Jan 2012 12:009 comments
Morton chairman Douglas Rae has enlisted former player Warren Hawke to oversee the club's development - starting with the creation of an elite youth system, the
The Englishman, who scored 53 goals in 247 appearances over two separate spells at Cappielow, will work behind the scenes on a consultancy basis to assist the club in various key areas.
Preparatory work has already begun on his first objective, which is to introduce a youth set-up 'Inverclyde can be proud of' by the start of next season.
And Rae is thrilled to have been able to bring Hawke on board after initially attempting to secure his services upon his retirement as a player.
He said: "I signed Warren twice in his playing days, but after signing him the first time, I ceased to be a director when Hugh Scott took over the club.
"During Scott's reign, Warren left the club. So upon taking over, I contacted Queen of the South who sold him back to us.
"He turned out to be one of our best signings. He did a great job, scoring numerous important goals while proving an inspirational figure in our dressing room and a real favourite with the fans.
"I have kept a keen eye on Warren's progress since leaving the game, and his record for delivering results across a wide range of sports projects is very impressive.
"I see him as an outstanding choice to help us achieve our goals, as through his work over the past 10 years he has opened up lines of communication with officials and individuals who are in a position to assist us.
"I actually approached him eight years ago to join the youth system as youth director. However, he was unable to give his full commitment at that stage."
But Hawke, 41, feels he is now at a point in his career that he can be of assistance and was delighted to accept the chairman's proposal to work closely with the club.
And although he has been brought in to utilise his business background and knowledge of the game to make a difference in a wide variety of areas, he has immediately turned his attention to the youth set-up.
Hawke said: "I'm in a position that I'm now able to work with Douglas and the board in further developing areas of the club in a role as consultant for club development.
"Throughout your playing days, you develop a bond with certain clubs that never disappears, so I'm delighted that Douglas has offered me the opportunity to work with him to take Morton forward.
"I've been contracted to assist the club in various areas. However, I fully believe the youth academy structure is the initial priority, as I feel it should play an integral part in developing players for the first-team.
"One part of my role is to ensure we are accessing all of the relevant funding streams available, and this will make a contribution to the funds - but the club is still investing a considerable amount.
"I will not receive any hidden payments, such as a percentage of the fee from the sale of any players. What I deliver for the club will be paid for as the work is carried out, on a contract basis.
"Transparency is one of the key criteria for both myself and the chairman.
"The new structures - which will see the club initially run teams in a minimum of four out of the six age groups from under-13 to under-19 in the SFA Youth Initiative or the SFL league - and personnel will be ready for the start of next season.
"We've seen too many talented boys heading out of the area to play for other clubs. My aim is to bring the top local players to Morton, develop them and ultimately give them the chance of playing at the highest possible level.
"The chairman and I are determined to give Inverclyde an elite youth academy that people in this area can be proud of."