In September, former Swansea executive director became Director of Football Operations at Tottenham Hotspur in a move that was considered at the time to be a major reshuffling at the top of Spurs’ executive organization. Three months later, Spurs are now looking for a new DFO. Tottenham announced today that Birch is leaving the club to become the new chief executive of the English Football League, assuming his new position on January 1.
Trevor Birch, the Club’s Director of Football Operations, is leaving to take up the position of Chief Executive of the English Football League.— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 10, 2020
Birch was a finalist in the search process to lead the EFL back in 2019. The job was ultimately won by David Baldwin, the executive whom Birch is now replacing. In a statement on the EFL’s website, Birch said that taking a leadership role with the EFL was, quite simply, an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Spurs, however the opportunity to play a role in the EFL at such a crucial time is one I couldn’t turn down. There is a big job to be done dealing with the effect of the pandemic, together with participating in discussions on the future structure of football and I hope I can make a meaningful contribution to that process.”
Birch is highly regarded within football circles for his solid, stable leadership. In an Athletic article posted shortly after his appointment at Spurs, Birch was praised for not only guiding his former club Swansea to a stable financial footing after a period of turbulence, but also his “human touch,” able to connect to employees and players in all aspects of the clubs he was worked with. The hope was that Birch would assume overall operations of the football side at Spurs, freeing up chairman Daniel Levy to take a step back and focus on the things that he’s best at.
Certainly moving from a leadership role at a Premier League club to overall leadership of the entire EFL is a significant step up, and you can’t really fault Birch for taking the job. From everything I’m reading, however, it seems as though this is a loss for Tottenham. Spurs’ release states that Matthew Collecott, Finance and Operations Manager, will assume Birch’s role as well through the end of the season, with a search for a new DFO to take place during that time as well.