St Albans City appoint an ex-Tottenham, Crystal Palace, Southend player in a new role as the club’s director of football.
Dean Austin used to be an English former professional footballer who played as a defender.
He was more recently part of the coaching staff at newly promoted Premier League club Watford, as was assistant to Quique Sánchez Flores before his departure in 2019.
Austin was responsible for Crystal Palace’s recovery; despite not being paid wages with the club in administration in 1999, he convinced the squad to carry on unpaid and try to save what was left of the season. Going from ninth to 20th he still managed to keep Palace out of the drop.
Austin has also managed Farnborough and Northampton Town, whilst also being part of the coaching staff at Southend, Bolton and Notts County.
🤝 Introducing Dean Austin, Director of Football.
— St Albans City FC (@stalbanscityfc) August 25, 2021
Dean Austin has been appointed as St Albans City’s new Director of Football, helping to provide a clear path for players in the community through to the first team.
Austin, 51, played at the highest level for several years, including spells at Tottenham and Crystal Palace, and is hoping to use the experience he gained to provide success in his new role.
The job has been years in the making, with the foundations being set in place back in 2016.
Dean says: “Lawrence [Levy] and I have been talking for the past four or five years really, over some of the things that I’ve done at a local grassroots club and spoken about how St Albans City can build an academy structure and open our doors to the community.
“We want to recruit players who wish to have the opportunity to learn from the knowledge I bring which will ultimately see them playing in our first team.
“What the club’s owners want for the community is too exciting a project not to be involved in.”
Chairman and co-owner Lawrence Levy has made his feelings clear about the potential of Austin’s arrival and believes the 51-year-old’s ideas match up perfectly with the club’s.
Levy says: Dean shares the same long-term vision and ambitions for this football club as John [McGowan] and I do. That’s so important when bringing someone in to head the club’s footballing philosophy and development.
“He has in-depth experience right the way from youth development to coaching and managing at the highest level in the English game and we believe that having someone of Dean’s calibre and drive in our organisation will help take the club reach its long-term ambitions”.
The new format for the academy set-up allows manager Ian Allinson to continue his aims in the community, bringing players from the local area to the fore in the National League South.
Allinson says: “I think it’s going to be exciting. The process that we’ve had in the last five or six years hasn’t really progressed in terms of the players we’ve tried to develop. Already you see we’re looking to develop players and push them through to the first team.”
“St Albans is a big city so it’s only right we bring these players through and give them the opportunity to play in the first team, and then hopefully we can help them push onto into the Football League.”
The appointment looks to build on the success of the first season of the academy last year, with Huw Dawson and Alex Lankshear both playing a large part in pre-season, with the former starting both of The Saints’ two opening league fixtures.
For Austin, the appointment is a way to give back to the club that gave him his first start in football, back in 1989.
He adds: “I wouldn’t be doing this role at any other non-league club.
“I’ve been fortunate in my career to play at the level I did, but I’m here because it’s St Albans, the city I’ve lived in pretty much the majority of my life.
“It’s also the club that gave me my big opportunity when I was rejected from professional football at 18.”
The first step of Austin’s time is to double the size of the academy, with the introduction of age groups from u13-u15 arriving as new additions to the set-up.
The Saints host Welling United on Saturday, 3.00pm kick-off, as they look to collect their first points of the season.
AUSTIN’S PLAYING CAREER:
1987–1989 – Watford
St Albans City
1989–1990 – St Albans City – 75 games (9 goals)
1990–1992 – Southend United – 96 games (2 goals)
1992–1998 – Tottenham Hotspur – 124 games (0 goals)
1998–2002 – Crystal Palace – 142 games (6 goals)
2002–2003 – Woking – 17 games (2 goals)
Total – 454 games (19 goals)
Twitter users reacted as St Albans appoint the ex-Tottenham, Crystal Palace, Southend player in a new role…
@brucewilson283: Brilliant stuff @stalbanscityfc @dean316austin Great appointment 👏👏👏👏👏
@dunsjd: This is a smart move & shows the ambition to develop & grow the club at all levels! Great work @lawrence_levy & the board & good luck @dean316austin! #SACFC
@jrichardson_j: Brilliant news @dean316austin 🎉👏
@ForeverAYellow: Huge good luck to him, hope he can do well with St Albans, would like to see them climb a few leagues