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Stevie Grieve: Head of Performance and Recruitment at Forest Green Rovers

Stevie Grieve has built a football career based on embracing innovation and facing challenges. That’s why his new role as Forest Green Rovers’ Head of Performance and Recruitment looks the perfect fit.

The 35-year old Football Careers client is settling in at the English League One club after leaving his post with Scottish Premiership side St Johnstone in the summer to seek a new chapter. Scotsman Stevie, who also had a two-year stint as Head of Analysis and Opposition Scouting at Dundee United, is now deep into the process of preparation for a vital January transfer window for Forest Green who currently lie at the foot of their division.

Rovers, owned by green energy tycoon Dale Vince, is a club that looks at its journey differently. As well as researching new signings, Grieve will have a significant influence on the set-up and design of the new Eco Park training ground. Stevie’s remit will also see him oversee analysis and sports science at The Bolt New Lawn and he said:

“I am very excited by the opportunity to join FGR. I look forward to building an elite performance environment at the club – which will help us win as many games as possible both now and in the future.”

Chairman Vince has monitored a detailed process to find the right person for what is a key strategic role. And the FGR supremo stressed:

“We’ve taken our time in finding the right person, so that we could turn the adversity of losing a team member in his predecessor Richard Hughes into an advantage. Stevie will give us that, he’ll bring a significant improvement to our recruitment, use of data and performance focus.

“We’re excited to welcome Stevie to the team and look forward to working with him on this next phase of our journey.”


A club with a difference


Forest Green have won praise for their ground-breaking stance on operating as a sustainable football club. From recycling rainwater — and even water from the away fans’ toilets — to nourish their organic match-day pitch to becoming known as the world’s first vegan club: they are an outfit with a difference.

And you sense that this might now be a case of right place, right time for Stevie who confessed:

“I felt a connection to the people in the club and the way they want to operate. It is somewhere I feel I can be a success and help with both the short-term goal of trying to stay in League One but also the longer term objectives of putting the processes in place to maximise the performance of everyone within the football departments.”

The pathway to an international career


From TV pundit in India to coach in Canada, Premiership top team analyst in Scotland and Game Model builder for coaching colleagues all over the world. Stevie’s decision to immerse himself in the Beautiful Game has led to a journey he could never have imagined at the outset.

Like many Football Careers clients, one of the key aspects of UEFA A Licence holder Stevie’s development as a coach and football professional has been travel. The Scotsman, who grew up dreaming of being St Johnstone manager one day, took the leap of faith to move to India where he was head of the Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools and Technical Director of Garhwal FC.

He fashioned another strand of his career as a TV pundit there and hosted his own show The Mind Game which looked more deeply into the analysis of the game than traditional programmes. Stevie wouldn’t swap that time of his life for anything and he said:

“India was one of the most formative aspects of my coaching journey. My wife was there for the first six months and then she came home to Scotland to plan our wedding. I had 18 months where I could have sat and moaned about being lonely or I could fill my time doing other things.

“I chose to really study in-depth on evidence-based coaching, I learned to use data properly. For instance, crossing the ball leads to a three per cent conversion rate. So put in 100 crosses and you might score three. Put in 35 crosses and you might score one.

“It is an inefficient way to score goals. So once you learn that you think about the structure and playing style of a team.”

Beginning a new chapter


Stevie took up the challenge of coaching youth football in Canada and left a lasting mark with his players at Burlington Bayhawks with the dedication he showed. Teaching what is a developing sport in the suburbs of Toronto may seem a lifetime away for the next adventure that is now in front of him aiding Rovers’ Head Coach Ian Burchnall as 2023 beckons.

It’s all part of Grieve’s evolution and he reasoned:

“Learning about recruitment and all the processes involved has been fascinating. If you look at a modern manager he may have six games a month: so does he really have time to properly look at signing targets?

“The answer has to be no because he is focused on winning. If you are an opposition or first-team analyst you see so many players and sometimes if you are looking at a recruitment angle, it may be advising who not to sign.

“Your club might be really keen on a player but you know from watching him and analytics that he is not a clever player. Sometimes your job is simply to say they are not a good fit and that can be just as valuable as recommending players because clubs can’t afford to waste money.”

Stevie’s thoughts on Football Careers


“I did my UEFA A Licence with Piero Carrino [Football Careers’ Managing Director] and I got my CV done when I was planning my career moves. When I was in India, I was offered a few assistant and head coach roles in Asia and there’s no question having my Football Careers CV helped in that respect.

“The way I look at it, Football Careers get you into the discussion for winning a role and then it is up to you to get the job.

“Your CV will help you stand out from the crowd. Make it look like you are a pro: it’s about presentation and Football Careers put you into the conversations that matter.”

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