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Leicester City Football Club: A shining example of an effective recruitment policy

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16 May 2016
In my last blog, I discussed how to recruit in a candidate short market. The Premier League is a fairly candidate short recruitment market. There are manty large clubs with lucrative TV sponsorship deals, and not that many world beater players to bolster the ranks. Leicester Football Club is a shining example of an effective recruitment policy in action.  How did the underdog, Leicester Football Club, blow the competition away and take the Premier League at a canter?


There is a long-term strategy in place at the club. Most teams would have removed Nigel Pearce for positioning the club as being rock bottom in the Premier League, and seven points off safety last season. However Leicester persisted with Pearce, and they pulled off one of the greatest escapes in Premier League history.

Even when Pearce imploded in a racism scandal during the summer, Claudio Ranieri came in and asked the players how Pearce had set them up, and made tweaks. He helped evolve the tactics that had seen them climb to safety. There was consistency in his approach which helped the transition to a new management style emphasising evolution rather than revolution. It will be interesting to see how that compares to when the once mighty clubs recruit new people at the helm this summer.


The starkest of contrasts exists between the new champions of England, and the newly demoted Aston Villa. The culture has been fantastic at Leicester; characters in the dressing room like Nottingham born Wes Morgan and Sheffield lad Jamie Vardy, have driven forward the project. Bit part player Andy King provided the link to Leicester’s past, having graduated from their academy.

Aston Villa’s team of Francophones did not understand the Premier League, and the characters in the dressing room like Fabian Delph and Christin Benteke were sold without adequate replacements who understood the physicality and pace of the English game.

Talent acquisition

Steve Walsh, Leicester’s Assistant Manager and Head of Recruitment is an incredible talent spotter. Snapping up Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante for £400,000 and £5.6 million respectively now seems like an unbelievable bit of business considering those two same players are now worth tens of millions each.

Walsh had pretty much stalked Kante’s games, and constantly badgered Ranieri to buy him. When you spot talent in a highly competitive market, you have to act with your instinct, and Walsh certainly did that.

Talent retention

Finally, talent retention has been key previously. Players like Kasper Schmeichel have been sniffed at by larger clubs, but Leicester are a fantastic club, with great owners and a loyal fan base. Why would he ever have left?

The real challenge now will be beating off the European super clubs who will inevitably come calling. But somehow, I think most will see the togetherness within the club and their pay packets weighing a fair bit more, and will rampage in Europe and keep the fairy tale alive for one more season.

If you’re looking for assistance in your recruitment needs, please contact me on 01332 542580 or email Contact me 
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