Phil Robinson, “Scout Leader” for Estac

Englishman Phil Robinson, an employee of City’s football team, is responsible for submitting player lists to Estac based on reports sent in by recruiters. Sports management (Vitali and Marwood) must ensure the interests and feasibility of the transfer.


To fully understand its mission, it should already be noted that the City group has a global recruitment structure, and all clubs in the CFG galaxy benefit from it. Each of them has a person, an employee of the City group, who is responsible for working on recruitment documents based on information and reports sent by recruiters present in many parts of the world.

For Estac, that person is Phil Robinson. Over the past year, it has been up to him to draw up a list of players as limited as possible to facilitate the final selection, depending on the team’s needs (positions, profiles, etc.). At Estac, this latest selection is in the hands of Francois Vitali (sporting director), Brian Marwood (director of football at CFG and superior to Francois Vitali) as well as Gary Worthington, head of ’emerging talent’ investments. With one goal: to match the target players to the needs of the team.

“We don’t hear, but it’s heavy”

Again, it may be that recruiters “follow” Trojan leaders. This is the reason why the recruitment of the likes of Filip Krastev, Luka Ilić, Ante Palaversa and even Metinho in two years has not been a complete success. “The recruitment has sealed City, there is waste because these are bets even if the players have been watched for a while”we are told inside.

Fortunately, Estac retains some capacity to recruit players identified by its own scouts (especially in France) who have been integrated into CFG’s global structure until now. This is how players like Mama Balde, Thierno Baldé, Wilson Odobert or Giulian Biancone came to Troyes.

This gives the impression from the outside that there is a “French” network and a “cityzen” network. “Vitali Paw is a French, French-speaking networksays an agent with interests in Troyes. Robinson is a City network; he has little knowledge of the French network, so Vitali is important. »

“Estac recruitment is a blend of two networks, not competing but complementary,” provides an agent. While others feel that these networks are sometimes “in competition”. And explain: “I call each one depending on the profiles the club is looking for (Robinson) or the other (Vitali), because everyone works with their own network. In the beginning I mainly exchanged with François Vitali. Then I ran into Phil Robinson, who told me to send the players too. »

“Everyone is in a cycle at some pointwe respond internally. Nothing is done after others. There is no opposition between different networks. Recruiting is a collaborative effort where everyone brings their experience, perspective and connections. »

Integrated Estac explorers

In fact, when an agent knocks on the door of Vitali, Robinson or another member of CFG, the proposed player is usually sent to this recruitment structure, which consists of scouts from all over the world, including Estac scouts in France. Phil Robinson supervises and coordinates this observation for the Trojan club, then offers his results for a possible transfer, especially through a video montage.

The 56-year-old Englishman has been at the Aube occasionally, especially during the transfer window. We caught up with him during a pre-season friendly at Paris FC in Le Havre before the championship resumed in December, and he was still in the stands for Estac-Marseille with Gary Worthington last Wednesday.

“It’s weight; we don’t hear it, but it’s heavy points to an internal resource. He is regularly in Troy, traveling. » Also, occasionally, staff are asked to submit feedback on profiles targeted by CFG scouts.

Although the share of players directly from the City network in the Trojan workforce is increasingly important, in recent years additional channels have allowed to bring in more experienced players (Rony Lopes, Adil Rami, Xavier Chavalerin, Renaud Ripart…). it remains important not to create a team of only “new talents”. In particular, like Krastev, Metinho, Palaversa or Ahmed Fatah, they are not yet at Ligue 1 level.

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