Atlanta United announced a big staff signing last week when Richard Money was named the club's Academy Director. It could be argued that other than First-Team Manager, this position is the most important hire a club will make. So, what can we make of this hire?
Unless you're a diehard follower of the lower leagues in England or a really old fan of the Football League First Division several decades ago before it became the Premier League, you likely know little to nothing at all about Richard Money. We're here to help fill you in the best we know how. We scoured the internet like Nev Schulman and have found everything there is to know about Atlanta United's newly appointed Academy Director.
Money began his 18-year playing career in 1973 with Scunthorpe United where he spent five years before moving to Fulham. After his stop in London, he made his way to the world-famous Liverpool FC. While he only appeared 12 times on Merseyside, he did feature in the club's third European Cup triumph (played in the semifinal vs. Bayern Munich) during the 1980-81 season. After leaving Liverpool, he made stops at Luton Town and Portsmouth before returning to his first pro club, Scunthorpe United, where he played six more years to finish his career.
In total, he appeared in 465 matches and has 8 goals to his name. He captured the aforementioned European Cup with Liverpool in 1980-81.
After retiring in 1990, Money took the Manager's job at Scunthorpe in 1993 where he lasted just two years. When he left his first job as a First-Team Manager in 1994 he spent the next 10 years at various different clubs in various different roles. Most notably he was a coach on the Nottingham Forrest team in the mid-90's that earned promotion to the Premier League and had a successful run to the quarterfinals in the UEFA Cup.
Finally in 2003, Money returned to managing with AIK in Sweden for two years then with Västerås SK for another two. He followed up his four-year stint in Sweden with a trip down to Australia to manage the Newcastle Jets from 2005-08. After his six year adventure abroad, he returned to his home country for stints as the Manager of Walsall and Luton Town. In 2012, he took the Cambridge United job, where in his second season his side started the campaign with a 16-match unbeaten run. That season culminated with Money leading Cambridge back to the Football League after a nine-year absence. That year he earned the 2014 Conference Manager of the year award. He left the club in 2015.
Hustle, Loyalty, Respect
As his whole résumé suggests, Money is, without a doubt, a journeyman in the world of soccer. He's been all over the globe and isn't afraid of a new challenge, which is exactly what the Atlanta United Academy Director job is. But don't think just because he's had many jobs that he's not ready to stick it out for a long period of time or will jump ship if another opportunity arises. While at Cambridge United, Money was approached by a club from India to come manage and he politely turned them down signaling his intent of starting what he finished.
During his time as a Manager, he stuck up for his players and had their backs no matter what the situation was. While at Luton Town, supporters were unhappy with results and performances of the players, but Money wasn't about to lay blame on any of his players.
"I will always be fiercely protective of my players, no matter who I'm the manager of." Money proclaimed to the BBC.
Just because he was loyal to his players don't think he was a soft manager by any means. While at Cambridge United, he and his team faced off against Manchester United in the FA Cup. Money warned his players that they'd be fined if any of them dared to swap shirts with the opposition's stars and it's usually customary in soccer. Cambridge went on to fight to a scoreless draw to force a replay at Old Trafford.
At 60 years of age, Richard Money has experienced an amazing career as both a player and a manager. So, how did an English journeyman of the lower leagues find his way to the Dirty South? While no one has gone on record as to the relationship between Club President Darren Eales and Money, it doesn't take much investigative journalism to put two and two together. While it's certainly possible that Eales and Money knew of each other from different avenues, their paths likely crossed due to Cambridge United.
Money was a successful Manager with the club and it turns out that Cambridge is where Darren Eales grew up in England. It's not much of a reach to assume that Eales was a big follower of Cambridge United and knew of Money's exploits as their Manager.
So, here we are. Richard Money is about an experienced of a Youth Director as you'd ever expect to find in MLS. He has a shining résumé as a Manager and Youth Coach. We'll see if the hire works out in the end, but it's not hard to see why Atlanta United would've hired someone as qualified as this to run such an important position within their club.