Dan Ashworth began his career with Norwich City. He later played
for St Leonards and coached in the USA with the West Florida Fury
before returning to East Anglia to sign for Wisbech
Wisbech's dire financial situation in the autumn of 2000 led to
drastic wage cuts. Dan took this opportunity to leave the Fenman
along with 5 other players (Paul Hill, Ian Pledger, Andy Gleave,
Ricky Hailstone and Matt Carmichael)
Dan was promoted from Education and Welfare Officer to Academy
Director at Peterborough following
the Posh youngsters' poor start to the 2000/01 season. He replaced
Adrian Boothroyd who was demoted to
managing the 8-16 year olds. Dan worked closely with Kit
Carson. In addition, Dan continued his playing
career by signing for Eastern Counties League side Diss Town
Following Kit Carson's departure from London Road, Dan also left
and joined rivals Cambridge United who ironically appointed Carson
as Head of Youth Development in November 2001.
In February 2004, Dan left Cambridge to assist Adrian
Boothroyd in setting up West Bromwich Albion's Academy. He
was later appointed as Technical Director in December 2007. Ashworth
has four departments for which he is responsible: the first team;
recruitment; the academy; medical and sports science.The logic
is that if the manager goes, the new one is recruited into the
existing framework he does not bring in a whole new team.
That ensures continuity and fosters a club culture. Ashworth is
regarded as one of the best in the business at scouting players
and compiling information on them, including background checks.
He works well witht he manager and acts as a buffer between the
manager and the chairman.
Ashworth was influential in brining many continental stars to
the Hawthorns. People like Pablo Ibanez, the Spanish defender
on a free contract, Gonzalo Jara for a pittance and Youssouf Mulumbu,
a £75,000 DR Congo international that Paris St Germain didn't
give a real chance. The list is also populated by players who
were previously as anonymous as Ashworth himself, while even £4m
on the likes of Peter Odemwingie and Somen Tchoyi hardly counts
as lavish spending even at a club where the budget is notoriously
His reputation has grown and helsea are believed to have noted
Ashworth's work and included his name on their list of potential
candidates to replace the departed Frank Arnesen as technical
director at Stamford Bridge.
He was appointed Director of Elite Development for the English
Football Association in September 2012 and took up the new role
in March 2013. He is considered by many in the game to be at least partly responsible for England's significant upturn in results, particularly at age-group level and in women's football.
On 26th September 2018 it was announced that he had left his role with England to become Technical Director at Brighton.
He stood down from his role with Brighton in February 2022 and was placed on gardening leave until November 2022, under the terms of his contract. In May 2022 newspapers reported that Newcastle were considering paying some of the £5million that Brighton were demanding to release him. Ashworth's arrival at St James' Park would be the first major off-field appointment of the new Saudi-backed ownership, led in the UK by Amanda Staveley and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi. An agreement was finally reached on 30th May 2022 to formally release Ashworth from his contractual duties as Brighton & Hove Albion’s technical director and complete a move to the Magpies. Ashworth will be responsible for the club's overarching sporting strategy, football development and recruitment at all age levels, and will work closely with head coach Eddie Howe, academy manager Steve Harper and head of recruitment Steve Nickson.
In February 2024 Ashworth was put on gardening leave following an official approach by Manchester United. After Sir Jim Ratcliffe bought a 27% stake in Manchester United, he said on 21st February 2024 "I think Dan Ashworth is a 10/10 sporting director - one of the best around. He would be very good for Manchester United. It is understandable that somebody like Dan would see the Manchester United job as a very interesting challenge at this stage of his career. Ultimately, you can't really criticise Dan for looking at maybe the most coveted job in football as a sporting director - particularly with the challenge at Manchester United. What doesn't make sense is for Dan Ashworth to be sat doing nothing for 18 months."