John Williams expected to be named Chief Executive at Southampton

Katharina Liebherr is tipped to kick-start her Southampton revolution with the appointment of former Blackburn chairman and Southampton fan John Williams.

Former Blackburn Rovers chairman John Williams is expected to be named as the new Chief Executive at Southampton Football Club this week, report The BBC.

Williams, 64, has been under consideration for the position and is thought to be the clear front-runner, with the role vacant since Nicola Cortese's resignation last Wednesday.

Liebherr is thought to be keen to have Cortese's successor in place by the end of this week.

The Swiss heiress to Markus Liebherr's estate has sparse knowledge of football, and is keen for someone with long-term Premier League experience to take the reigns at St. Mary's Stadium.

John Williams would appear to be the perfect candidate to stabilise the club.

Williams was the chairman of Blackburn Rovers Football Club between 1998 and 2011, quitting his role following the takeover by the Venky's, which he was understood to be uncomfortable with.

Since departing Ewood Park, Williams has worked for Manchester City within their Footballing Operations Department, alongside the likes of Brian Marwood and Patrick Vieira.

Williams then progressed to become chairman of the PGMOL in 2013, succeeding Peter Heard as the head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited.

The opportunity of being the new Chief Executive at Southampton is thought to be of huge interest, to Williams, a local and boyhood supporter of the football club.

Williams was born and raised in the Hampshire town of Totton, located less than 30 minutes away from Southampton's training base at Staplewood.

He would bring a 'safe pair of hands' to the club, who are experiencing a period of uncertainty in the aftermath of Cortese's departure.

Williams is widely respected throughout the footballing world, winning acclaim from players, managers and the media alike for his approachable manner and concern for all members of the club, which was demonstrated during his time with Blackburn Rovers.

He is a hugely popular character with supporters of Blackburn Rovers, who cite his resignation from the club as being a crucial loss in the club's tumble into the Football League.

He is thought to be open-minded and mindful of supporter opinion, whilst having the business nous and strong will to pursue ambitions whilst ensuring that the club is considerate of any financial constraints.

He has always appeared keen to focus on ensuring club's engage with their community and supporter base, whilst nurturing young talent and providing a stable infrastructure for managers to work within.

Blackburn achieved a number of top-half finishes despite limited resources during Williams' spell at the helm of Ewood Park.

Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr flew into the Hampshire city on Sunday afternoon, as she prepares for a week of talks with senior figures at the club, including the club's manager, Mauricio Pochettino.

She is scheduled to meet and talk with representatives of all of Southampton's 200+ staff on Monday, as she outlines her vision for the club's future. She is yet to meet the first team squad, who will not be training tomorrow.

Democratising the club's management structure is thought to be of importance to Mrs. Liebherr, who became unhappy with the dictatorial manner in which former chairman Nicola Cortese approached the role.

She plans to implement Williams as chairman of a new-look board of directors to lead the Saints.

No formal announcement regarding the composition of the board of directors has yet been made.

image: © joncandy

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