Nigel Pearson has hailed Bristol City's decision to appoint club legend Brian Tinnion as technical director. Tinnion, who has had more than 30-years involvement with the Robins, was appointed to the role this week.
The 54-year-old - originally from County Durham - spent the majority of his playing career at Ashton Gate, making over 450 appearances for the club. He scored a memorable strike to knock Liverpool out of the FA Cup in the mid-1990s and became an influential player under Danny Wilson.
He later became the manager albeit for one season, in which City missed out on a play-off spot. Tinnion was subsequently sacked after a slow start to the next campaign and has remained ever since.
Most recently, the former Newcastle United midfielder was working in an academy manager role. He was influential in appointing coaches to the academy, as well as identifying young players to sign for the club. It is an appointment that current boss Pearson welcomes. At the club's recent Fans Forum, Pearson spoke highly of 'Tinns' and yesterday described the appointment as 'smart'.
"We’re delighted for him obviously," admitted Pearson in his pre-match press conference ahead of the visit of Watford. "What it does is gives him the ability to really reinforce the messages we’ve been sending out anyway is that it’s important for us to get the best out of our football club.
"It needs real collaboration and we’ve got that. It’s a reward for Brian, it’s a smart appointment by the club. What it does is it gives Brian the ability to operate in an official capacity in what he is already doing and that is working very closely with the first-team operation but also overseeing the academy and the recruitment."
Tinnion's most recent masterstroke in his role as academy manager was to bring in highly talented teenager Alex Scott to the club. The 'Guerney Grealish' was identified as a signing in December 2019 and has gone on to become an influential figure in the first-team side, despite only being just 19-years-of-age. His performances have seen him reportedly attract interest from Leeds United, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
There has been an influx of academy players in the first-team as of late with Joe Low the latest. The 20-year-old who captains the Under-21's made his debut against Middlesbrough last week and his first start against Lincoln City on Tuesday. Midfielder Dylan Kadji made his debut this season and has made several cameo appearances. Those debuts are in addition to Cameron Pring, Zak Vyner, Max O'Leary, Tommy Conway, Sam Bell and Antoine Semenyo, who came through the academy, and are certified first-team players.
City have had to turn to their academy in recent years as they navigate through Financial Fair Play. The club had previously spent big on transfers and at times with little reward on the pitch. In the eyes of former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson, he believes Tinnion is a long-term appointment and will put an end to the 'scatter-gun' approach adopted in previous years.
"He will be important for us recruitment-wise in the first-team environment as well," he said. "It’s something that he’s stepped into recently anyway. The recruitment for the club needs to be aligned. It’s been scatter-gun for too long. We’ve worked hard to try and get value for money because we’ve wasted far too much I’m afraid.
"He’s going to be here a damn sight longer than players or coaches or managers. The association with the club goes back 30 years or so; he's very much aligned with what the club wants to achieve and that is good."
A technical director can be viewed as someone who relieves the pressure on the manager when it comes to finding transfer targets. Pearson will still play a part in identifying his own targets but will have the support network of players that have been suggested to him.
Tinnion’s appointment is part of a contingency plan amid the pending departure of CEO Richard Gould. Gould will relinquish his role following the conclusion of the January transfer window to take up the same role at the England and Wales Cricket Board.
City are currently limited as to what they can do in the transfer market. Any January transfer business will require a player to depart, most likely one that would recoup the club a sizeable transfer fee, which would result in losing a player of real quality. It could benefit the team given the 'lack of depth' which Pearson bemoaned on Tuesday.
"We identify what we need and then there is always a process of screening potential options," explained the 59-year-old. "The big thing is whether we can do it or not.
"I don’t really want to replace a player that we think needs replacing with another one that we don’t think is good enough because that’s another waste of money. At the minute that’s why we’re going to have to tough it out until we can do the type of business that we know will improve us. In the meantime, we continue to work and get the best out of the players we have."