Written by Training Ground Guru — June 15, 2022
JON HUNTER-BARRETT has been promoted to Academy Manager at Wolves, with Laura Nicholls as Head of Academy Operations.
The duo were initially promoted at the start of 2021, but Technical Director Scott Sellars had still officially been Academy Manager.
Now Hunter-Barrett and Nicholls have officially taken the helm, with the former handling all Academy football responsibilities and the latter overseeing all administration roles. This dual remit covers both the men’s and women’s Academies.
“But, essentially, I’ll be responsible for the football, on and off the pitch. We’re working with other departments to aid holistic development for the players. I’m talking around his physical performance and development, his psychological growth, the challenge, and keeping fit and healthy.”
Nicholls’ journey with Wolves began in 2003, when she become a coach within the Women’s Academy after graduating from University. Eight years later she became a sports manager at Wolves Foundation, before moving across to the Academy in 2020. At the start of 2021 she was promoted to Head of Academy Operations.
She ensures top level-operations to support the on-field activity, that the players are developing off the pitch with the right academic support and challenges and also oversees player care.
Nicholls said: “This is an acknowledgement of the work which has gone on, with Jon and I, and the wider teams, and shows our structure more publicly.
“We’re doing things slightly differently, there aren’t many clubs with this structure. The club has a USP and we’re going to do things differently, and other clubs in turn will look at what we’re doing and be intrigued by it.
“It means we’ll have a clear structure to the management team, having expertise in both areas. The way Academies have grown, it’s effectively a small business, so we need expertise in different areas, and we’ve got the opportunity to grow.
“Jon can focus on football, and I can focus on operations. Hopefully we’ll have a streamlined but structured department, putting experts in the right places.”
Wolves have a Category One Academy and ranked 25th in TGG’s Academy Productivity Rankings for 2020/21.