Per Stoke City, The Potters have officially named Ricky Martin as the team’s new Technical Director. Martin previously served as West Ham’s Academy Manager, in addition to serving as Technical Director for clubs such as Norwich City.
Alex Neil and Ricky Martin – Old Friends from Norwich
Alex Neil and Ricky Martin both shared time together at Norwich City between 2015 and 2017. During that period Neil was Norwich’s manager and Martin served as the club’s Technical Director. Both were huge catalysts in Norwich’s promotion back in 2015.
Both Neil and Martin would also part ways with Norwich in 2017 after the team stayed in the Premier League for one season in 2016 and failed to gain promotion in 2017.
Why is Ricky Martin a Big Addition for Neil?
Stoke City adding Martin to the club’s front office is huge on a number of levels. The biggest is Martin’s familiarity with Alex Neil’s vision for a given club.
A significant part of having success as a Technical Director and vice versa as a manager is their working relationship with each other, and more importantly, being on the same page with each other when it comes to personnel moves. And given both of their history together, it’s safe to say that Martin knows what Neil needs to succeed as a manager on the personnel front.
Ricky Martin has a great idea of what Neil wants to prioritize in a transfer window from his time at Norwich. The same can be said with Neil knowing what areas of a team Martin likes to address with a club. But from Neil’s point of view, he’ll need a right-hand man to help him acquire the pieces of the puzzle he needs to help the team to promotion.
Martin and the Premier League Factor
Although Martin wasn’t previously serving as a Technical Director at West Ham United, he was still in the building every week at a Premier League club – a factor that could also be a big plus for Stoke City in a potential move.
Martin week-to-week was having discussions at the highest level of the sport at West Ham. And he was gaining that English Premier League pedigree every day on the job – a pedigree that one needs to help promote a club and then sustain that promotion.
After gaining experience in the EPL, Ricky Martin will no doubt be even more seasoned than he was back in his Norwich City days. His experience and Neil’s journey could gel the two together even more.
Plus, along with his gained expertise, Martin has also been in a position to judge and evaluate talent at the Premier League level at West Ham’s academy. This type of talent could be on Alex Neil and his radar to help build a promotion squad.
The Extra Icing on the Cake
The extra icing on the cake for Stoke City is they once again have a Technical Director. At the end of the day, it’s just a title and there are many ways a team can go about having someone in charge of helping to build a club.
But having an actual Technical Director can be a big positive still. Stoke City hasn’t had an acting Technical Director since reorganizing their front office in 2019. Since then, Stoke City have yet to reach the Premier League again.
Having a Technical Director can be that extra paddle in the boat, or one could even say that additional captain to help steer the boat. Which is something Stoke City have been missing in recent years.
All Signs Point to Martin Being a Positive Move
Overall, there are really not many negatives you can take away from this move to bring Ricky Martin into the club. Can you say that Martin and Neil together failed in their time at Norwich once the club did get to the Premier League? Absolutely you can. Neil and Martin would probably even admit that.
However, you can only cross that bridge when you get there. Stoke City are still in a position where they have a lot of work to do to even get back to the Premier League.
So as of right now, there are no negatives with this move. In fact, Stoke City are in an even better position with the state of the club now that they’ve pulled off this signing of Ricky Martin.