Julian Ward has agreed with Ajax about a role as director of football affairs, the DailyMirror Saturday night. He comes over from Liverpool and is expected to start his new job at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on July 1. Ward succeeds Marc Overmars, who left last year.
Ward has been associated with Ajax for a long time. New talks with general manager Edwin van der Sar resulted in a ‘breakthrough in the field of financial conditions’, it sounds. According to the English newspaper, Van der Sar was instructed by the supervisory board to reopen negotiations with Ward after a first attempt to bring in the 42-year-old director failed.
Ward has been with Liverpool for over ten years and has risen quite a bit in the hierarchy in that time. In 2012 he started as a scout, a position he had held at Manchester City for two years before that. Before arriving in Manchester, Ward spent two years as a match analyst with the England Under-20 side. He then joined the staff of then Portuguese national coach Carlos Queiroz as chief analyst.
Three years after his arrival at Liverpool, he rose to manager of loaned players, before taking up the role of assistant sporting director in 2020 as right-hand man to Michael Edwards. When the latter then announced his departure in November 2021, Ward was internally moved to Edwards’ position as sporting director.
Read also: Who is Julian Ward, Overmars’ candidate successor at Ajax?
Climbing the boulder in Liverpool is a remarkable feat for the man who never even came close to the top as a player. Through Morecambe’s academy, now playing in the third tier in England, he embarked on an unimaginative career that led him past clubs such as Hyde FC, Kidsgrove Athletic and Larne FC, after which he hung up his shoes in 2008 playing for Lisburn FC.
In a portrait that the English newspaper The Independent wrote about Ward’s latest promotion to Liverpool, he has been described as ‘known and loved in transfer circles for his experiences across Europe and South America’. Ward’s rapid departure would therefore have brought “a shock and disappointment” to Liverpool, wrote The Guardian last November.
Ward is said to have played a crucial role in the incoming transfers of Luis Díaz and Darwin Núñez and also internally campaigned for the contract extension of veteran James Milner. Ward has no intention of joining another club in the near future. Yet Ajax seems to have seduced him into a switch.
Tags: Ajax successor Overmars financial agreement Julian Ward