Sunderland appoint Lee Congerton as their sporting director

• European-style management structure maintained
• Congerton was technical director with Hamburg

Despite one failed experiment with the system, Sunderland have kept faith with a European-style management hierarchy, appointing Lee Congerton as their new sporting director on Wednesday.

Effectively the successor to the club's previous director of football, Roberto De Fanti, a former agent who was sacked in January, the 40-year-old Welshman arrives from Hamburg and life as a technical director in the Bundesliga. His brief is to oversee player recruitment as well as Sunderland's domestic and international scouting operations.

He will work closely with Gus Poyet, the head coach. While Poyet had his differences with De Fanti and Valentino Angeloni – Sunderland's outgoing chief scout, who was sacked on Wednesday – he is understood to be happy at the prospect of havingCongerton, a former chief scout at his former club Chelsea, alongside him.

"I would like to welcome Lee," said Poyet. "Recruitment is one of the most important areas in football nowadays so I'm looking forward to working alongside Lee for the best of the club."

Congerton seemed equally happy. "I'm delighted to join Sunderland and would like to thank the board and owner for this great opportunity," he said. "Working alongside Gus and his team was one of the influential factors in me joining the club and something that I am very much looking forward to."

After his playing career was cut short by injury, Congerton became academy director at Wrexham before joining Liverpool in 2002. Six years at Chelsea followed ahead of a three-year stint with Hamburg.

"Lee is very highly regarded within football circles and we have been very impressed by him," said Margaret Byrne, Sunderland's chief executive. "We feel he is the perfect fit for the club in terms of developing our player-recruitment strategy and helping to take the club forward." © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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